Let me be honest. Two days ago I was unaware of the name Enid Mumford. It was the subject line of an email in my inbox inviting me to a celebratory event of her life and work.
I am now listening to the opening remarks of her fellow professional colleagues, family, and friends. Enid Mumford is now far more than an email in my inbox. I thank those people who have just spoken – previous directors of MBS, Enid’s doctoral students, and colleagues for passing on this insight.
Enid was the first female professor at Manchester Business School, leading on socio-technical issues within IS development. But, she is much more than this, and I now understand that I am an indirect recipient of her values that she brought to bear on IS research, and also MBS. By all accounts the sixties were marked by fact based social science research and many academics feared the paradox of drawing on their values and making personal judgements. Enid believed there was no choice to make. Lead with both fact and values, and most importantly try to move beyond observation to actually influencing and crafting social systems. Believe in your self, your character, and your ideas. If you can’t find that, how can you influence others?
This may well be guised as Action Research today, and I take confidence from Enid when following this approach.
Thank you Enid for your legacy. It is as relevent today in 2008 as it was twenty years ago, more so in the world of Social Computing where personalities, characters and people are at the fore. We have Enid’s theory and justification, now lets revel in the challenges facing the world today – corporate ills, global warming, identity theft, terrorism, and poverty, and the socio-technical solutions and opportunities that will likely solve them – alternative fuels, social computing, the internet.
Thank you also to those who are playing the role of Enid in my own professional development and academic career.
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