Green Digits: Towards an Ecology of IT Thinking

Pierre Berthon, Philip DesAutels, Brian Donnellan and Cynthia Clark Williams

in The Oxford Handbook of Management Information Systems

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580583
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Green Digits: Towards an Ecology of IT Thinking

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  • Business and Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Research Methods



This article highlights the paradoxes of information technology (IT) and IS and the promise of these as one of the solutions to our ecological dilemma. Some of these paradoxes include the promise of efficiency gains, of cleanliness, of education, and of community. It explores Green IT by focusing on a neglected level of information systems analysis: information views, or ‘ways of thinking’ about information technology and systems. It suggests that it is this ignored conceptual level that has in part contributed to the IT paradoxes. Specifically, this article differentiates instrumental versus emergent thinking about technology, and identifies three paradigms that suggest very different uses of information technology to achieve the goal of Green IT in the service of sustainability. Thus, rather than merely exploiting nature, it proposes viewing IT in terms either of preserving, returning to, or transforming nature.

Keywords: IT Paradoxes; Green IT; technology; sustainability; information views

Article.  5978 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Knowledge Management ; Research Methods

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