Computer systems developments, particularly those utilising a 'hard systems' approach, are conventionally both positivist and technicist, following in the traditions of western scientific thought (BjiSdker and Greenbaum, 1993). Analysts take an uncritical view of the world to be automated, concentrating their efforts on the technical capabilities and constraints of the machines. Tools and techniques for building systems become the central preoccupation, and these are often taken as the starting point for the design process. In such a technical-rational approach, information and data flows are elevated, whereas relationships between people are largely ignored. The process itself is often handled in

a strictly linear fashion, as one 'phase' of development proceeds neatly from another.