Empathy and teamwork: reflections on the legacy of Claudio Ciborra through the phenomenology of Edith Stein
Costello, Gabriel J.
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Claudio Ciborra argued that the position of information and communications technology (ICT) in organisations requires a shift from the present focus on the scientific paradigm to an alternative centre of gravity: human existence in everyday life. The paper proposes to make a contribution by examining the role of empathy in relationships among people working in industrial teams. Relevance is addressed by means of empirical evidence that emerged during interviews carried out in the longitudinal case-study of a supply chain transformation initiative in American Power Conversion (APC) Ireland. Rigour is applied by building on the legacy of Ciborra viewed through the lens of the phenomenology of Edith Stein which was developed during her doctoral studies as a student of Edmund Husserl. Furthermore it is proposed that Stein's philosophy of empathy can provide a theoretical framework for the understanding of organizations, teamwork and information systems. The concept can also provide impetus for future work in the area of human computer interaction (HCI) that is increasingly being employed in automated business transactions. In addition, it is suggested that Husserl's proposition that an objective external world can only be experienced inter-subjectively has the potential to contribute some new insights to the present impasse within the positivist-interpretivist debate.
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