Language action perspective

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Language action perspective


Acronym

LAP

Alternate name(s)

Language Action View, Language Action Theories

Main dependent construct(s)/factor(s)

Speech acts, Communicative action, communication

Main independent construct(s)/factor(s)

N/A

Concise description of theory

The Language-Action Perspective (LAP) was first introduced by Flores and Ludlow (Flores et al. 1980) who challenged the conventional notion that communication is merely transmission of information or symbols and argued that people are linguistic beings and use language to perform actions (Schoop 2001). LAP argues that language is not only used for exchanging information, (as in reports or statements etc.) but also to perform actions (as in promises, orders, requests, and declarations etc) (Schoop 2001; Weigand 2003).

The LAP formulates a norm-based and interpretive alternative of how language is constituted in social life to analyze its implications for the design of information systems (Umapathy et al. 2007). LAP recognizes the importance of communication in an organizational context, therefore, emphasizes how people communicate with others; how language is used to create a common shared reality and how people use communication to coordinate of their activities (Schoop 2001). The LAP approach is, thus, based on the premise that much of work in organizations are performed through language, i.e., communication is primarily action which, in turn, facilitates coordination and interaction (Ljungberg et al. 1997).

The LAP approach has developed into a new foundation for designing effective information systems with two key principles. First, linguistic communication should be the basis for understanding and designing information systems (Winograd 2006). Second, people perform actions through communication; therefore, the main role of an information system is to support organization communication (Schoop 2001). The main theoretical foundations for LAP approach are Searle’s Speech Act Theory (Searle 1969) and Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action (Habermas 1984). Detailed background on the LAP approach can be found at: (Lyytinen 2004; Schoop 2001; Weigand 2003; Weigand 2005; Weigand 2006)

References:

Flores, F., and Ludlow, J. "Doing and Speaking in the Office," in: Decision Support Systems:Issues and Challenges, G. Fick and R.H. Sprague (eds.), Pergamon Press, New York, 1980, pp. 95-118.
Habermas, J. The Theory of Communicative Action: Reason and the Rationalization of Society Beacon Press, Boston, 1984, p. 465.
Ljungberg, J., and Holm, P. "Speech acts on trial," in: Computers and design in context, MIT Press, 1997, pp. 317-347.
Lyytinen, K. "The Struggle with the Language in the IT – Why is LAP not in the Mainstream?,"International Working Conference on the Language-Action Perspective on Communication Modelling (LAP), New Brunswick, NJ, 2004.
Schoop, M. "An introduction to the language-action perspective," ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin (22:2) 2001, pp 3 - 8.
Searle, J.R. Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, 1969.
Umapathy, K., and Purao, S. "A Theoretical Investigation of the Emerging Standards for Web Services," Information Systems Frontiers (9:1) 2007, pp 119-134.
Weigand, H. "The language/action perspective," Data & Knowledge Engineering (47:3) 2003, pp 299-300.
Weigand, H. "LAP: 10 years in retrospect," International Working Conference on the Language- Action Perspective on Communication Modelling (LAP), Kiruna, Sweden, 2005.
Weigand, H. "Two Decades of the Language-Action Perspective: Introduction," Communications of the ACM (49:5) 2006, pp 44-46.
Winograd, T. "Designing a new foundation for design," Communications of the ACM (49:5) 2006, pp 71-74.

Diagram/schematic of theory

N/A

Originating author(s)

Fernando Flores, Juan Ludlow, Göran Goldkuhl, Kalle Lyytinen, Terry Winograd

Seminal articles

Flores, F., and Ludlow, J. "Doing and Speaking in the Office," in: Decision Support Systems: Issues and Challenges, G. Fick and R.H. Sprague (eds.), Pergamon Press, New York, 1980, pp. 95-118.

Goldkuhl, G., and Lyytinen, K. "A Language Action View of Information Systems," International Conference on Information Systems. 1982.

Winograd, T., and Flores, F. Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design Addison-Wesley Professional, Boston, USA, 1986, p. 224.

Originating area

Linguistics, hermeneutics, social action

Level of analysis

Group, organization

IS articles that use the theory

Agerfalk, P.J. "Investigating actability dimensions: a language/action perspective on criteria for information systems evaluation," Interacting with Computers (16:5) 2004, pp 957-988.

Auramaki, E., Lehtinen, E., and Lyytinen, K. "A Speech-Act-based Office Modeling Approach," ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS) (6:2) 1988, pp 126-152.

Beek, A.J.J.v., Mulder, H.B.F., and Reijswoud, V.E.v. "Rapid Application Development in Dynamic Organizations with Business Modelling - A Practitioners Point of View," CAiSE/IFIP8.1 International Workshop on Evaluation of Modeling Methods in Systems Analysis and Design, Barcelona, Spain, 1997.

De Michelis, G., and Grasso, M.A. "Situating conversations within the language/action perspective: the Milan conversation model," ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work, ACM Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States, 1994, pp. 89-100.

de Moor, A. "Language/Action Meets Organisational Semiotics: Situating Conversations with Norms," Information Systems Frontiers (4:3) 2002, pp 257-272.

Dietz, J.L.G. Enterprise Ontology: Theory and Methodology Springer-Verlag, New York, 2006.

Dietz, J.L.G. "The Atoms, Molecules and Fibers of Organizations," Data & Knowledge Engineering (47:3), 2003, pp 301-325.

Goldkuhl, G. "Conversational Analysis as a Theoretical Foundation for Language Action Approaches?," International Working Conference on the Language-Action Perspective on Communication Modelling (LAP), 2003, pp. 51-69.

Jayaweera, P. "A Methodology to Generate e-Commerce Systems: A Process Pattern Perspective (P 3 )," Licentiate of Philosophy, Stockholm University.

Johannesson, P. "A Language/Action Based Approach to Information Modeling," in: Information Modeling in the New Millennium, Idea Group Publishing, 2001, pp. 94-109.

Johannesson, P., and Perjons, E. "Design Principles for Process Modelling in Enterprise Application Integration," Information Systems (26:3) 2001, pp 165-184.

Lind, M., and Goldkuhl, G. "The constituents of business interaction--generic layered patterns," Data & Knowledge Engineering (47:3), 2003, pp 327-348.

Lyytinen, K.J. "Implications of Theories of Language for Information Systems," MIS Quarterly (9:1) 1985, pp 61-74.

Lyytinen, K. "The Struggle with the Language in the IT – Why is LAP not in the Mainstream?," International Working Conference on the Language-Action Perspective on Communication Modelling (LAP), New Brunswick, NJ, 2004. Moore, S.A. "A Foundation for Flexible Automated Electronic Communication," Information Systems Research (12:1), March 2001, pp 34-62.

Reijswoud, V.E.v. "The Structure of Business Communication: Theory, Model and Application," Dissertation, Delft University of Technology, Delft, p. 258 pages with illustrations and index.

Reijswoud, V.E.v., Mulder, H.B.F., and Dietz, J.L.G. "Communicative action-based business process and information systems modelling with DEMO," Information Systems Journal (9:2) 1999, pp 117-138.

Rittgen, P. "A language-mapping approach to action-oriented development of information systems," European Journal of Information Systems (15:1) 2006, pp 70-81.

Schoop, M. "Electronic Markets for Architects—The Architecture of Electronic Markets," Information Systems Frontiers (4:3) 2002, pp 285-302.

Schoop, M., Jertila, A., and List, T. "Negoisst: a negotiation support system for electronic business-to-business negotiations in e-commerce," Data & Knowledge Engineering (47:3), 2003, pp 371-401.

Umapathy, K., and Purao, S. "A Theoretical Investigation of the Emerging Standards for Web Services," Information Systems Frontiers (9:1) 2007, pp 119-134.

Verharen, E. "A Language-Action Perspective on the Design of Cooperative Information Agents," PhD thesis, Katholieke Universieit Brabant, the Netherlands.

Verharen, E., Dignum, F., and Weigand, H. "A Language/Action Perspective on Cooperative Information Agents," Proceedings of the First International Workhshop on Communication Modeling) 1996.

Weigand, H., and de Moor, A. "Workflow analysis with communication norms," Data & Knowledge Engineering (47:3), 2003, pp 349-369.

Winograd, T., and Flores, F. Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design Addison-Wesley Professional, Boston, USA, 1986, p. 224.

Winograd, T. "A Language/Action Perspective on the Design of Cooperative Work," Human-Computer Interaction (3:1) 1987, pp 3-30.

Yetim, F. "Acting with genres: discursive-ethical concepts for reflecting on and legitimating genres," European Journal of Information Systems (15:1) 2006, pp 54-69.

Links from this theory to other theories

Critical social theory, Hermeneutics, Speech Act Theory, Theory of Communicative Action, Conversation Analysis

External links

http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~aakhus/lap/Background.htm, Background on LAP, 2004 International Conference on LAP

http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~aakhus/lap/Proceedings.htm, Proceedings of 2005 International Conference on LAP

http://www.vits.org/?pageId=221, Background on LAP, 2005 International Conference on LAP

http://www.vits.org/?pageId=238, Proceedings of 2005 International Conference on LAP

http://www.uvt.nl/infolab/info/events/lap2003/, 2003 International Conference on LAP

http://www-i5.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/conf/lap2001/LAP2002Proc.pdf, Proceedings of 2002 International Conference on LAP

http://www-i5.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/conf/lap2001/programme.htm, Proceedings of 2001 International Conference on LAP

http://www-i5.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/conf/lap2000/programme.htm, Proceedings of 2000 International Conference on LAP

http://www.ihh.hj.se/eng/vits/lap99/Proc_papers.htm, Proceedings of 1999 International Conference on LAP

http://www.ihh.hj.se/eng/vits/lap98/Proc_papers.htm, Proceedings of 1998 International Conference on LAP

Original Contributor(s)

Karthikeyan Umapathy [1]

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