Affiliated Organization

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


After my conclusion in the previous PrimaVera working paper that objectivism does not provide a firm theoretical foundation for information management, the question probed in this chapter is whether or not subjectivism can offer a convincing alternative basis. Ultimately, the answer is negative because subjectivists rarely specifically pay attention to what is the bottom line for private and, increasingly, public organizations: the realization of economic value. Hence, there is no other way than to combine objectivism and subjectivism into a comprehensive, integrative approach to information management. However, as illustrated in this paper, the differences between both philosophical strands of thought are fundamental. In recent years, advocates of subjectivism and practice-based social theory as one of its main applications have taken a giant leap forward in transcending the split between the object and the subject by suggesting that we should focus our attention on social practices and object-centered sociality. Following their suggestion, I demonstrate what subjectivist, practice-based information management could be, which includes a new definition for our discipline. However, due to the neglect of economics in subjectivism, the divide between objectivism and subjectivism still exists. At the end of the paper, therefore, I present the concept of 'figure' and 'ground' from Gestalt psychology as a metaphorical aid for all of us to rise above this unproductive divide.