Systems Science in the Information Society


  • Ann Lind University College of Borås, Sweden


Virtual network, solution sharing networks, collaboration, co-design, information behaviour, information sharing


The changes that we have experienced during the end of the 20th century are so extensive that it is reasonable to assume that we have taken part in a historical transition. This transition is characterized by the conversion of our materialistic culture into a new technical paradigm dominated by information technology. The industrial revolution was dependent on energy sources. Steam power, electricity, fossil fuel and nuclear power had their great importance since the production and distribution of energy are key factors for the success of the industrial society. In the information society the success factors are instead the technique for processing and distribution of information. What is most important in the new paradigm is thus not the central position of knowledge and information but rather the possibility to use these for such instruments that create knowledge, or process or distribute information. Even if network constellations between different organizations have existed for centuries, the great importance of knowledge and information has contributed to a new situation in the modern society. The digital world and the new information technology makes it possible to create geographically separated groups, virtual networks or virtual communities, where resources and activities are combined to create a result that can not be reached without collaboration, between the members of the network. Collaboration includes development and co-design and collaboration in such networks makes it possible for many organizations, companies and authorities to cope with fast technological changes. For them it is important that the collaboration works well to enhance efficiency to the different tasks. It is also very important that the members in the network can access and use information efficiently. There are many different factors influencing development and information interchange in virtual networks. Focusing on one aspect may therefore cause dissonance or inefficiency in other areas of the network. A system theory holistic approach is therefore essential to be able to study information related activities in a virtual network. Such a network is a social system that may be viewed as a human activity system according to Checkland’s definition. In this paper, aspects of human activity systems are used to illuminate some characteristics of information behaviour that may be important for the activities in virtual networks. The question is also raised what really is development in the network. Sharing information is then not enough since that information already is available in the network. True development is achieved when members collaborate to find previously unknown new activities that could not have been created without co-design.

Author Biography

Ann Lind, University College of Borås, Sweden

University College of Borås BHS PhD Student



How to Cite

Lind, A. (2006). Systems Science in the Information Society. Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2006, Sonoma, CA, USA. Retrieved from



Information Systems Design