Artifact or equipment? Rethinking the core of is using Heidegger's ways of being

Kai Riemer, Robert B. Johnston

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

12 Citations (Scopus)


The IT artifact, conceived as a bundle of features or properties, is frequently seen as the core object of interest in IS. This artifact view of IT is deeply grounded in a Cartesian worldview that stresses a duality between the individual and the external world. We challenge this view by drawing on Martin Heidegger's analysis of equipment in Being and Time (1927/1962). Using a stylized account of an IT implementation project we illustrate how the focus of attention shifts under this post-Cartesian worldview from IT as artifact to IT as equipment. This latter view conceptualizes IT as interwoven with other equipment, user practices, and individual identities, and highlights the need to appropriate new IT as equipment into an existing world of user practices. Applying Heidegger's analysis of equipment to IT, we are able to systematically re-think what are the core and peripheral concepts and phenomena in the IS discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the thirty second International Conference on Information Systems 2011 (ICIS 2011)
Subtitle of host publicationShanghai, China, 4-7 December 2011
EditorsCynthia Beath, Michael D. Myers, K K Wei
Place of PublicationAtlanta, Georgia
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781618394729
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Information Systems 2011 - Shanghai, China
Duration: 4 Dec 20117 Dec 2011
Conference number: 32nd


ConferenceInternational Conference on Information Systems 2011
Abbreviated titleICIS 2011
Internet address


  • Appropriation
  • Cartesianism
  • Heidegger
  • IT artifact
  • IT as equipment
  • Ontology

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