Conceptualizing information technology in the study of information systems: Trends and issues

Steve Sawyer, Tina T. Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss trends in the published research of the information systems (IS) community. To do this, we draw on the existing IS literature to show that the conceptualization of information and communication technologies (ICT) also shapes the conceptualizations of information, people, level of analysis, and research method. For evidence, we draw on two sources of IS literature: the research articles from the journal Information Systems Research (ISR) and the books published by the International Federation on Information Processing (IFIP) Working Group on Information Systems in Organization and Society (WG 8.2). Our analysis of the literature published in these two venues shows substantial differences in the conceptualization of all five constructs and attributes. In particular, there is great diversity across all five constructs and attributes in the ISR literature. The IFIP WG8.2 literature also displays a broad approach to conceptualizing ICT. In contrast to the work in ISR, the work in IFIP WG8.2 publications is also characterized by a small range of, and often nearly singular, approaches to information, people, level of analysis, and research method. Further, more than 55 percent of the articles provide little insight into the specifics of the ICT being discussed. Combined with the uses of social theories, intensive and theory-building approaches to research, and the focus on institutional levels of analysis, the IFIP WG8.2 literature may be difficult for other IS scholars to understand, even if it is more singular in its approaches. These findings suggest that the published IS literature may also be relatively inaccessible to scholars who work within the various subcommunities of this pluralistic scientific community. The diversity of approaches also means that the IS community, and scholars in other areas who might use IS research, would value work that theorizes the relationships among the various conceptualizations of ICT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobal and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology - IFIP TCB/WGB.2 Working Conference on Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Pages109-131
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781475753288
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventIFIP TCB/WGB.2 Working Conference on Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Dec 12 2002Dec 14 2002

Publication series

NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Volume110
ISSN (Print)1868-4238

Other

OtherIFIP TCB/WGB.2 Working Conference on Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology
CountrySpain
CityBarcelona
Period12/12/0212/14/02

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management

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    Sawyer, S., & Chen, T. T. (2003). Conceptualizing information technology in the study of information systems: Trends and issues. In Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology - IFIP TCB/WGB.2 Working Conference on Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology (pp. 109-131). (IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology; Vol. 110). Springer New York LLC.