Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Against method-ism : exploring the limits of method

By Edgar A. Whitley and Lucas D. Introna


Provides a critique of method-ism - the view that methodology is necessary and sufficient for information systems’ development success; method-ism presupposes also that systems developers understand the value of methodology and will prefer to work with it rather than without it. Argues, against method-ism, that method flows from understanding, and not the reverse. Hence method cannot be a substitute for understanding. Discusses the way in which humans tend to interact with the world by means of ready-to-hand tools, using the ideas of Heidegger and Ihde. Shows that tools are used only if available (ready-to-hand) in the world of doing. If a methodology is not ready-to-hand, it will break down and be ignored in the pragmatics of getting the job done. Presents a number of arguments why methodologies by design will tend to break down (not be ready-to-hand) and hence be discarded

Topics: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Year: 1997
DOI identifier: 10.1108/09576059710174757
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    1. (1996). A proposal for context-specific method engineering”, in doi
    2. (1993). A review of the methodologies movement”, doi
    3. (1996). An investigation of the use of system development methodologies in practice”, in
    4. (1987). Architect or Bee? The Human Price of Technology,
    5. (1927). Being and Time, translated doi
    6. (1992). Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice, doi
    7. (1995). Cognition in the Wild, doi
    8. (1996). Confusion, social knowledge and the design of intelligent machines”, doi
    9. (1985). Diagnosing the System for Organizations,
    10. (1962). How to Do Things with Words: The William James Lectures Delivered at Harvard University in 1955, doi
    11. (1996). Improvisation and information technology in organizations”, paper presented at
    12. (1993). Information: A Hermeneutic Perspective.
    13. (1993). Information: a hermeneutic perspective” in Whitley,
    14. (1986). Laboratory Life: the Construction of Scientific Facts, doi
    15. (1995). Limitations of information systems theory and practice: a case for pluralism”, in
    16. (1995). Living in a Technological Culture: Human Tools and Human Values, doi
    17. (1997). Method engineering: experiences in practice”, in
    18. (1964). Notes on the Synthesis of Form, doi
    19. (1995). Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Towards a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, doi
    20. (1985). Order out of Chaos, doi
    21. (1956). Philosophical Investigations, translated by Anscombe, doi
    22. (1984). Principles of self-organization – in a socio-managerial context”, in doi
    23. (1969). Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language, doi
    24. (1981). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, doi
    25. (1990). Technology and the Lifeworld: From Garden to Earth, doi
    26. (1992). Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Vintage Books, doi
    27. (1994). The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise doi
    28. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, doi
    29. (1980). The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution,
    30. (1966). The Tacit Dimension, Peter Smith, doi
    31. (1987). The Theory of Communicative Action, doi
    32. (1991). Two approaches to developing expert systems: a consideration of formal and semi-formal domains”, doi
    33. (1986). Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design, doi

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.