This paper describes an exploration of whether ideas related to pragmatism, practical theory, and practice theory provide potentially useful directions for extending work system theory (WST), which is an outgrowth of an attempt to develop the work system method (WSM), a flexible systems analysis method for business professionals. After summarizing WST’s basic premises and its two central frameworks, this paper uses a positioning map to explain reasons for considering relationships between WST and a number of topics related to practical issues and practice theory. Based on that positioning map, the subsequent sections discuss relation-ships between WST and UML, Goldkuhl’s workpractice theory, and the more general notion of practice theory. A concluding section briefly addresses a set of questions related to whether WST is a practical theory of practice. This paper's comparisons of WST with the three theoret-ical perspectives for describing and understanding systems could be a step toward greater practical application of IS research related to the nature and evolution of activities, processes, routines, and practices involving the use of technology in organizational settings.
Alter, S. 2013, "Is Work System Theory a Practical Theory of Practice?" Systems, Signs & Actions, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 22–48