Explanations as Discourse

Towards Ethical Big Data Analytics Services


  • Sadaf Afrashteh University of Melbourne
  • Dr Ida Someh University of Queensland
  • Michael Davern University of Melbourne




Big data, Analytics Services, Ethics, Explanation Facilities, Discourse Ethics


Big data analytics uses algorithms for decision-making and targeting of customers. These algorithms process large-scale data sets and create efficiencies in the decision-making process for organizations but are often incomprehensible to customers and inherently opaque in nature. Recent European Union regulations require that organizations communicate meaningful information to customers on the use of algorithms and the reasons behind decisions made about them. In this paper, we explore the use of explanations in big data analytics services. We rely on discourse ethics to argue that explanations can facilitate a balanced communication between organizations and customers, leading to transparency and trust for customers as well as customer engagement and reduced reputation risks for organizations. We conclude the paper by proposing future empirical research directions.

Author Biographies

Dr Ida Someh, University of Queensland

School of Business

Michael Davern, University of Melbourne

Chair of Accounting and Business Information Systems in the Faculty of Business and Economics




How to Cite

Afrashteh, S., Someh, I., & Davern, M. (2020). Explanations as Discourse: Towards Ethical Big Data Analytics Services . Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 24. https://doi.org/10.3127/ajis.v24i0.2519



Selected Papers from the Information Systems Foundations Conference (ISF)