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The future of IS: expansion or extinction?

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dc.contributor.author Fitzgerald, Brian
dc.contributor.author Adam, Frédéric
dc.date.accessioned 2012-10-30T10:31:41Z
dc.date.available 2012-10-30T10:31:41Z
dc.date.issued 1996
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/2643
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract What the future holds for the IS field is not all that clear. On the one hand, it could be argued that IS could become the primary organisational and management discipline, given the primacy of IS for such critical organisational issues as business process reengineering, competitive advantage, employee empowerment, informating the workplace, the virtual organisation and telemarketing. On the other hand, just as the opportunity for IS to become a dominant discipline presents itself, there is, rather ironically, a very real threat to the future status of the field itself. This is evidenced by the fact that many IS/IT programs are being ‘downsized’ at undergraduate and graduate level. Also, IS departments in universities are facing the threat of hostile colonisation by sister departments from other disciplines. Indeed, there is a very real risk that in the absence of an intellectual core of research questions, protocols and standards in the IS field, other disciplines may lay predatory claim to ‘traditional’ IS research issues on the grounds that these issues do not actually require an IS research focus, but can be adequately researched within these disciplines themselves. This paper considers the evolution of the IS field and identifies a number of fundamental problems in the field, which have arisen as the field has evolved. These include a failure to establish an intellectual core of widely-accepted ‘first principles’; an identity crisis in so far as IS has not carved out its own niche in either academe or industry; the lack of a cumulative tradition, as researchers choose to ignore or contrive to differentiate their research from that which has gone before; the absence of barriers to entry in the field, thereby allowing open access to researchers from a wide variety of disciplines; the breadth of the area, where a proliferation of literally thousands of potentially relevant journals further fragment the field; a ‘reference indiscipline’ problem as researchers abuse or misuse the research results and traditions from the vast range of research areas that are seen as related; and finally, a trend towards divergence rather than convergence in research being conducted in the field. Drawing on examples from other disciplines which have achieved maturity, the paper concludes by proposing an agenda for progressing the field towards a mature discipline, which could subsume other fields to become one of the primary organisational disciplines. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Proceedings of first conference of the UK Academy for information systems, Cranfield University;pp. 1 -18
dc.subject IS en_US
dc.subject expansion en_US
dc.subject extinction en_US
dc.title The future of IS: expansion or extinction? en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/conferenceObject en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US


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