Modelling tribal genealogies for information systems design and development

Litchfield, Alan
Cusack, Brian
Carter, Philip
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

The study seeks to answer the question: What are the human and cultural factors in the whakapapa process? This research identifies human and cultural factors that will explicitly direct the future design of an Information Systems design and development project. Current systems and approaches come from a western/euro-centric perception of the world (Locus), but much of the data that are to be stored in the system come from unique tribal sources (Demotic). These approaches, the Locus and the Demotic, oppose each other on what to store, how it should be stored and how it may be retrieved. The approaches are the result of cultural patterns that have evolved and raise issues about the treatment of data in information systems. Issues are argued against the work of Foucault and are subsequently addressed before the data that is gathered for the study are analysed. The work of Foucault is adopted and key concepts are arrived at: Kotahitanga/Herkunft, the representation of subtle, singular, and sub-individual marks that may connect and link a person to others, forming a dense network that is difficult to unravel; Hei Ahua/Entstehung, the exact essence nature of something; and, T¯imatanga/Ursprung, the state held at the moment of arising. These establish a framework for the analysis of data. Foucault identifies two types of person, the Genealogist and the Historian. In the study these types are used to represent the approach taken by the Locus and the Demotic. They are contrasted against each other throughout the study to show how their approaches differ in vital ways. The process of comparing and contrasting the Genealogist and the Historian includes qualitative analysis and symbolic interactionism. The ethnographic analysis method, symbolic interactionism, is used to analyse primary data sources. Qualitative analysis is used to analyse secondary sources. Together, they are used to derive a cohesive set of 38 symbols that are recognisable as factors in the development of the information system. The 38 symbols are aggregated to arrive at 29 human and cultural factors in the whakapapa process. The factors can be used to guide the development of an information system for managing complex data structures.

Maori (New Zealand people) - Genealogy , System design , Whakapapa - Kupu , Business
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