The Leoni Warne Prize honours Leoni Warne’s contribution to promoting the role of women in IT in Australia.

The Prize:

The Prize is worth $1500 and recognizes the best article published during the year in the broad area of women and IT. The prize is co-sponsored by the Australian Association for Information Systems (AAIS), the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and the Australian Council of Professors and Heads of Information Systems (ACPHIS).

Eligibility – Authors:

Australian academics or practitioners, working in any discipline, are invited to nominate an article that addresses any of the broad range of issues relating to the area of women in IT. The author needs to be Australian based and in co-authored articles, one of the authors must be Australian based.

Eligibility – Papers:

Authors are invited to nominate articles they have published, or are to appear, in the year of the prize. The award will be made for papers that have been published in the current year. The article can be in any outlet; book, book chapter, conference or journal or other media. The lead author should only submit one article.

Nomination requirements:

The nominations should include the following:

  • a reprint of the article
  • a short (half page) biography of each author
  • a statements from publishers relating to the publication dates, if the article has not yet been published
  • a statement from the author(s), maximum one page, presenting how the article addresses the criteria for the prize.

Important Dates:

Submission date will be announced via the AAIS mailing list (IS-Aus). These dates usually fall in October-November and the Prize is announced at the annual Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS) that is usually held in the first week of December.

Submissions:

Nominations are to be sent to the Judging Panel co-conveners. All 4 components of the nomination, as listed above, need to be submitted electronically. The files can be either Word (.doc/docx) documents or pdf files.

Judging Panel:

Co-conveners
Henry Linger Henry.Linger@monash.edu
Helen Hasan Hasan@uow.edu.au

Selection Criteria:

The panel will assess the nominated articles on the following criteria:

  • the significance of the article to academics and practitioners
  • to make an exceptional contribution to an academic field relevant to the study of women and IT
  • the potential of the article to significantly impact and/or influence the role of women in the IT industries
  • the quality of the writing and presentation

Award:

The prize is offered annually but will only be awarded if the panel considers that one of the nominated articles meets the selection criteria.

Award Background:

Remembering Leoni Warne

Leoni Warne’s career covered the areas of librarianship, academia and research into the human and organisational aspects of learning, knowledge mobilisation and network-centricity. From 1989 to 1998 Leoni was a lecturer at the University of Canberra in Information Systems and Information Management, whilst also pursuing her doctoral studies; her thesis title was Power and Politics in Information Systems Development: a new model of conflict and a challenge for project managers (1997). She joined Defence Science and Technology Organisation, DSTO, in August 1998, working as a Senior Research Scientist and then as a Science Team Leader. Leoni’s research was founded in Information Systems, focussing on social and human issues, and extended to include the cultural aspects of information and knowledge sharing. Her work challenged the notion that an individual’s control of information bestows organisational power and led her to identify teambuilding strategies that facilitate knowledge sharing and generation. This work was of great interest within DSTO, as it was a time when Defence, belatedly, was beginning to recognise that the transition of innovative science and technology into day-to-day practice was as much a social challenge as it is a technical one.

Leoni was deeply fascinated by and convinced of the importance of the human side of information systems, especially the impact people and organisational factors can have on the success or failure of information and knowledge management-related initiatives. She was an astute and careful observer and thinker about such matters, always emphasising the need for a more sophisticated and deeper understanding of the issues. She was, moreover, able to mobilise and drive multiple research approaches to her topics of interest, ranging for example from analytical argumentation on the relative merits of cultural or political approaches to understanding organisational data, to empirical data gathering and analysis regarding information systems failures, to simulation-based investigation of team functioning in dispersed and technologically mediated communication environments. Her research expanded the body of knowledge in the difficult areas of social learning, socio-technical systems, sensible organisation and network-centric configurations. The direction Leoni took is exemplified in the statement in the conclusion one of her papers. “The network centric paradigm is a return to recognition of the reality and value of human relationships, commitment, engagement and purpose, as the driving forces behind shared endeavour in any community”.

Leoni’s dedication to the human and social issues in Information Systems never waned and she worked relentlessly to highlight their importance, particularly in an environment dominated by ICT. The outcomes of her research showed that the issues surrounding trust and cultural differences needed to be understood and addressed in order to realise the informational benefits brought about by ICTs. In short, Leoni was a wide-ranging and versatile researcher whose career significantly added to the stock of knowledge available in the areas in which she worked. Not surprisingly her significant contribution within DSTO has been recognised by a DSTO prize for outstanding research in the area of human dimensions of military operations.

Leoni was respected in the academic world and worked to forge relationships between academic institutions and the DSTO. She held an Honorary Principal Research Fellow appointment at the University of Wollongong and was Adjunct Professor of Information Systems at the University of Canberra. She also contributed to a number of boards/committees of educational institutions and professional associations, challenging the fields of Information Systems and Knowledge Management to be more innovative and people-centric.

Leoni was a product of her times. She shrugged off her Eastern European background and, as they say, joined the revolution. For Leoni this also meant feminism and a life long concern with issues around gender politics and equity. Not surprisingly, her research interest in the human, social and cultural aspects of IS coincided with her feminism and this led her to an long term engagement and activism around the issue of Women and IT.

Those who worked closely with Leoni have described her as having a big heart, a wicked humour, strength of character, and courage in facing the challenges of life. She was empathic, and never seemed to mind being asked a favour. Leoni was also known as inspirational, as someone who would get things done, and as someone who had a unique ability to seize opportunities. .

Leoni Warne died suddenly on Monday, 14th June 2010. She is sadly missed.