Using case study material, this paper re-examines the contribution of social theory to the field of information systems development. Three theoretical perspectives - systems, hermeneutic and critical - are utilized to provide differing interpretations of a Model Office established to improve IS specialist/user communications. A fourth, relational approach is developed drawing upon the critical and hermeneutic views. The paper argues that this provides an innovative application of social theory to IS development by combining an appreciation of existential and structural aspects of power.