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The discourse of learning technology in Canada: Understanding communication distortions and their implications for decision making

Discourse is an important part of the institutional environment of organizations, but the potential influence of societal discourse on learning technology decision making has not been examined. This paper explores societal discourse on technology in education, with a particular emphasis on costs and benefits, and the significance of this discourse to management practice and policy making. It uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques in an effort to assess communications distortions, guided by Habermas ’ standards of validity claims for communications: truth, clarity, sincerity, and legitimacy. While the findings are preliminary, it suggests that there are significant distortions in the societal discourse. A potential consequence of these distortions is impaired decision making at the organizational and political levels.