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Allen Higgins

Research associate at University College Dublin and doctoral candidate at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Prof. Joe Nandhakumar.


My research is focused on design collaboration in software development and maintenance projects accessed ethnographically. I treat software design as an intrinsically intersubjective mode of engagement rather than as either a cognitive or organisational process; two extremes in a spectrum of understanding. I hope to contribute new theoretically informed understanding that may in turn influence practices and approaches to design work.

My goal is to better understand how design groups and others manage the creative process for digital media and innovation more generally. I am motivated by my prior industry experience in software production working in multinational high tech IT firms (Havok, Sepro, IONA, Symantec). This led me to close analysis of design performativity and the experience of intersubjectivity in programming teams. While I have been encouraged by recent empirically driven innovations in approaches to organising software development (Agile, Scum, Extreme) I feel they deserve deeper theoretically driven analysis.

For more see.... Close and Distant Control: Managing Software Development Work

Research Publications

My UCD profile on

Selected Papers

Higgins, A (2007). Code Talk in soft work, Ethnography, 8(4):467-484.

Higgins, A (2007). Software Innovation as Maintenance, Theorising the social in software maintenance In: Organizational dynamics of technology-based innovation: diversifying the research agenda : IFIP TC 8 WG 8.6 international working conference, June 14-16, Manchester, UK, ed. by McMaster, Tom and Wastell, David and Ferneley, Elaine and DeGross, Janice, vol. 235, pp. 475-479, Springer, New York.

Froessler, F, Rukanova, B, Klein, S, Tan, Y, and Higgins, A (2007). Inter-Organisational Network Formation and Sense-Making: Initiation and Management of Public-Private Collaboration, In: 20th Bled eMergence, pp. 1-17, Bled, Slovenia.

Ginzburg, I, Higgins, A, and Lichtenstein, Y (2007). Looking for the Locus of Innovation in New Service Development, In: hicss, pp. 230c, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, IEEE Computer Society.

Academic Qualifications

  • Master of Business Studies (2001), University College Dublin, Ireland.
  • Bachelor of Engineering (1992), University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Bachelor of Science (1988), University of Queensland, Australia.


Australian Construction Services, Electrical Engineering Award - 1992

Society Affiliations and Accreditations

My teaching philosophy

My aim is to deliver a teaching experience treating learning as both a personal and social activity, and focuses attention on the learning that occurs while actively constructing artefacts (such as texts) for others to see or use. I am interested in applied learning as social construction through joint collaborations and critical reflection.

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