Foundations of ITM/IS 1Foundations of ITM/IS Research Edgardo Donovan ITM 603 – Dr. Wenli Wang Module 1 – Case Analysis Monday, April 25, 2011
Foundations of ITM/IS 2 Foundations of ITM/IS Research Information systems research is a relatively new academic discipline which hasincreased in importance over the past 50 years as the rate of information technology adoption hasevolved dramatically. Decision support/design science, value of information, human-computersystems design, IS organization and strategy are the main IS research streams that are of greatinterest not only to information systems practitioners and scholars but are extremely relevant tothe average information worker as well. The massive growth of information systems researchhas also contributed to its identity crisis. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of IS researchscholars have emerged from varied backgrounds to include organization science, computerscience, information science, engineering, economics, and management science/operationsresearch (Benbasat 202). An information system consists of, at least, a person of a certain psychological type whofaces a problem within some organizational context for which they need evidence to arrive at asolution, where the evidence is made available through some mode of presentation. This definesthe key variables that comprise a Management Information System (Mason 475). MIS research is the systematic investigation of the development, operation, use and/orimpact of an information (sub)system in an organizational environment (Ives 910). There are fiveresearch streams that constitute modern information systems research. The decision supportdesign science research stream studies the application of computers in decision support, control,and managerial decision making. The human computer systems design research streamemphasizes the cognitive basis for effective systems design. The IS organization and strategyresearch stream focuses the level of analysis on the focus of value of the IS investment instead ofthe perception of a system or its user (Banker 281). Among these streams are numerous research
Foundations of ITM/IS 3topics that are constantly evolving to include Information Research Methodology, OrganizationalAdoption of Communication and Information Technology, Communication and OrganizationalCulture, Managing Information Technology Services, The Management of Information SystemsProfessionals, Information Systems Development, E-business, E-commerce, and E-markets,Electronic Value Systems, Value Chains, and Value Webs, IT Infrastructure, Governance of ITServices, and Organizational Networks. The future of information research is constantly evolving. Scholars expect to see newtheories of electronic agency, which will rely on emerging technological capabilities to specifyricher, algorithmically dynamic information endowments and the decision making profiles ofsoftware agents (Banker 284). As more and more legacy systems, databases, applications, andfront-end user interaction mediums are developed the level sophistication of human computerinteraction will increase. A greater number of information systems will not only be used toexecute commands, store, process, and share information but they will mimic human-decisionmaking according to sophisticated pre-programmed parameters. This will greatly expand therange of human-computer interaction studies as researchers will begin analyze how informationsystems effectively execute desired reactive/proactive tasks based on a sophisticated pre-programmed behavioral pattern. This can be as simple as programming a computer to play chessor as complex as a system that automates strategy formulation and execution vis-à-vis securitiestrading.
Foundations of ITM/IS 4 Figure 1. Evolution and State of Information Systems (Grover 278) Information systems research drew heavily from other traditional disciplines in its earlierstages and vice-versa. It is customary for new fields of research to borrow from other fieldswhile progressively evolving as a distinct mode of inquiry (Grover 274). For example,information technology research currently can benefit from incorporating institutional analysisfrom organization studies, while organization studies can benefit even more by following thelead of information technology research in taking the material properties of technologies intoaccount (Orlikowski 145). The studies of organization science, management science, andcomputer science have and will continue to share many topics of interest among each other. Nowafter 50 years of existence Information Systems as a discipline is possibly moving away from theconventional reference disciplines while building a tradition of its own (Grover 274). Given thepervasive and quasi ubiquitous presence of information systems technology in our society, nowmany traditional fields are drawing from information systems research to better research andunderstand modern day phenomena. This dynamism leaves many questions unanswered. Is thefield more fragmented? Is it creating an intellectual engine that is being drawn upon by other
Foundations of ITM/IS 5disciplines as they too recognize the IS component pervading their fields (Grover 272)?Throughout the history of academic research one can find examples of evolving disciplineswhich dramatically reshape old contextual boundaries. For example, the field of Economics is aclassical exemplar of a totipotential system, where the tendency to cite intradisciplinary work isextremely high and the tendency to cite interdisciplinary work is extremely low. Economicsserves as a dominant source of theoretical inputs to many other disciplines in the social sciences.However, information systems can also progress backward in that a system at a totipotentialstage might return to the partipotential stage (Grover 278). Figure 2. Foundational Fields Used in Culnan and Swanson’s (1986) and Cheon et al.’s (1992) Schism dynamics within the information systems community define the overallenvironment. Together, founders and members of new organizations create communities ofpractice, molded by forces that heighten the salience of organizational boundaries. Boundariesbecome more salient as the contrast between organizational activities deepen. Only whenbounded entities emerge can selection pressures change the organizational composition of
Foundations of ITM/IS 6populations (Benbasat 184). These changes do not necessarily happen in a clear and neat fashionand can bring about an identity crisis within a community of practice lacking a well definedproprietary center of gravity. The confusion due to origins stemming from an amalgam ofmultiple disciplines may influence scholars to devise new constructs to reclassify traditionalconcepts so as to devise clearer disciplinary boundaries or to distance one discipline fromanother. This strategy may not prove to be effective. There are adverse consequences to bothincreasing the degrees of separation in models being investigated or decreasing the ratio of IT-related constructs to total number of constructs in a research model (Benbasat 185). Information systems research despite its strong ties to its foundational fields oforganization science, management science, and computer science may indeed continue to occupya centralized amorphous existence in relationship to the former disciplines. Information systemsis the "glue" that binds the enterprise together, and IS has an impact on every aspect oforganizational life. This belief implies that the unique identity of information systems lies infocusing attention exclusively on the immediate nomological net surrounding the IT artifact.Rather, information systems’ strength as a scholarly community derives partly from its study ofthe first-order, second-order, and third-order effects of IT that span multiple functional areas andbusiness processes (Argawal 390). Information systems research is a relatively new academic discipline which has increasedin importance over the past 50 years as the rate of information technology adoption has evolveddramatically. Decision support/design science, value of information, human-computer systemsdesign, IS organization and strategy are the main IS research streams that are of great interest notonly to information systems practitioners and scholars but are extremely relevant to the averageinformation worker as well. The massive growth of information systems research has also
Foundations of ITM/IS 7contributed to its identity crisis. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of IS research scholarshave emerged from varied backgrounds to include organization science, computer science,information science, engineering, economics, and management science/operations research(Benbasat 202).
Foundations of ITM/IS 8 BibliographyAgarwal, R., and Lucas Jr., H. C. (2005). Comments on " The information systemsidentity crisis: focusing on high-visibility and high-impact research”. MIS Quarterly,29(3), September, pp. 381-398.Banker R. D., and Kauffman R. J. (2004). The evolution of research on informationsystems: a fiftieth-year survey of the literature in management science. ManagementScience, 50(3), March, pp.281-298.Barki, H., Rivard, S., and Talbot, J. (1993) A keyword classification scheme for isresearch literature: an update. MIS Quarterly, 17(2), June, pp. 209-226.Benbasat I., & Zmud R. W. (2003) The identity crisis within the IS discipline: definingand communicating the discipline’s core properties. MIS Quarterly, 27(2), 183-194.Cheon, M. J., C. Lee, and V. Grover (1992) "Research in MIS - points of work andreference: a replication and extension of the Culnan and Swanson study,"ACM SIGMIS Database (23) 2, pp. 21-29.Grover, V., Ayyagari, R., Gokhale, R., Lim, J., and Coffey, J. (2006) A citation analysisof the evolution and state of information systems within a constellation of referencedisciplines. Journal of the AIS, 7(5), May, pp. 270-325.Ives, B., Hamilton, S., & Davis, G. B. (1980). A framework for research in computer-based management information systems. Management Science 26(9), 910-934.
Foundations of ITM/IS 9Mason, R. O., & Mitroff, I. I. (1973). A program for research on MIS. ManagementScience 19(5), 475-487.Orlikowski, W. J., & Barley, S. R. (2001). Technology and institutions: what canresearch on information technology and research on organizations learn from each other?MIS Quarterly 25(2), 145-165.Whinston, A. B., Geng, X. (2004) Operationalizing the essential role of the informationtechnology artifact in information systems research: gray area, pitfalls, and theimportance of strategic ambiguity. MIS Quarterly, 28(2), p149-159