Value of Information in the Network: The Change in Pragmatic and Ethical Criteria


One of the goals set up at the beginning of this study was to develop an evaluation method for information systems (IS), which allows for a better recognition of informationally meaningful systems compared to various methods currently being used. Starting with research questions about how to build a reliable and valid index for IS evaluation, and questioning the purpose of IS, this paper ends up with a structured approach to integrating the pragmatic (economic) and ethical (social, environmental etc.) assumptions about organizations and IS success, considering the network effects. To capture the utility (or, more likely, diversified utilities) of Internet websites, a novel problem-structuring approach is proposed, derived from the concepts of multiple criteria decision making (MCDM), value of information (VI), and discourse ethics. Identifying ethical issues on which individuals or groups could differ should guide the design of IS. Finally, to demonstrate why and how this approach is direction-setting, it is applied in contexts where different actors experience different utilities: the evaluation of subjective VI is supposed to move from service orientation towards practice of sharing, as demonstrated in the context of e-government; the evaluation of realistic VI expands from the well-studied economic criteria of certain agents towards social and environmental criteria, and demonstrated in the context of green IT; and modelling normative VI is expected to change the agent perspective towards a network view. For the first two, empirical data are supplied; for the normative VI, an analytical model is being developed

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