Theorising about digital technology is core to the IS discipline. This paper presents an interpretation of technology using hylomorphism, the theory that material objects comprise both matter and form. A contemporary understanding of hylomorphism argues that the form of an object is dynamic structure, which may be actualised in the process of interacting with other objects. This paper arose out of a critical realist study on the use of technology in the classroom by senior secondary students in New Zealand. The role of theory in critical realism is outlined, and then the findings that stimulated this paper are presented. A brief history of hylomorphism is discussed before moving to the contemporary revival of Aristotelian theories. Some implications of this theory on IS research are presented, including an outline of emergence and methodological considerations.
Bennett, Lauren A.; Toland, Janet; Howell, Bronwyn; and Tate, Mary, "Revisiting hylomorphism: What can it contribute to our understanding of information systems?" (2019). ACIS 2019 Proceedings. 18.