Ethnographies and Soft System Methodologies

Ethnographies and Soft System Methodologies

Work environments are characterised by people doing purposeful activity in  a structured yet dynamic, orderly yet disorderly  environment where there are legislative, procedural, political and social factors that are widely known to influence the design of information systems (IS) and knowledge management (KM) systems for policing work(Stainer, 2013, Hughes and Jackson, 2004). Most workplaces generate significant amounts of data, often collated/acquired from multiple human sources and information systems (IS). Managing the business is as a result, characterised by matching and  aggregating all this information and data to facilitate and make informed best practice decisions (Babuta, 2017). Business leaders will depend on timeliness and robustness of this information to develop efficient and effective strategies. There is a however a complicatedness that arises due to the use of  varied and non-proprietary information systems for managing data and information (De Hert and Gutwirth, 2006).   The ethnographic research methodology is known for 'messiness' (Lanclos, 2016) and characterised by lengthy contact through immersion in the field (workplace) and...
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Diversifying the narrative…. Communications in the face of risks, threats and decision making in policing.

Policing in the face of funding cuts, scrutiny and structural changes with limited availability and access to technologies and manpower has evolved. The demand on policing services has become higher and more diverse with police forces increasingly shouldering the responsibility for health and social demands. Although governed by robust and lengthy frameworks and seemingly supported by ‘adequate’ technologies, the job of assessing risk and making decisions in policing is highly communication and information dependent, complex, multifaceted and challenging. The scope and range of crimes and treatment of crime have changed in the wake of increased levels of police proactivity and awareness. As my doctoral fieldwork has progressed, I have found that the way information is supplied, acquired, shared and used in policing influences and impacts on risk assessment and decision making The use of communication tools and technologies feature heavily in the task of response policing and there is an impact on demands on resources when these tools prove to be...
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Ethnographic intricacies and the valley of ethical approval

In use since the early 19th century, ethnography in the IS field, particularly CSCW and HCI, studies the understanding of the social processes related to creating, introducing and representing information systems as a key means of understanding the way technologies create or alter human activities. Ethnography supports elicitation of knowledge with a level of transparency and broadness that promotes the linkage of data to practices, processes and procedures (Hassan, Mingers, & Stahl, 2018; Horlick-Jones & Rosenhead, 2007) My insights and experiences have been of conducting ethnographies in policing in the West where it enables me to examine the disruptiveness, connectedness, unpredictability and cultures that are associated with technologies including understanding the role of human nature and power shifts (internally and externally) in the process of functional technologies in policing (Greenhalgh & Swinglehurst, 2011; Radovan, 2013). In this article, I have selected some of my experiences as an early stage researcher which I hope will also be relevant to ethnographers such as...
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