Steven L. Alter

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The work system method is a broadly applicable set of ideas that use the concept of “work system” as the focal point for understanding, analyzing, and improving systems in organizations, whether or not IT is involved. The premises underlying this method may be controversial in the IS community because they imply that the traditional jargon and concerns of(More)
This paper proposes a general, yet useful theory of information systems. It is a response to repeated lamentations and debates about whether it is possible to find a set of core concepts for the IS field. Business and IT professionals can apply this theory for understanding and analyzing information systems. Academic researchers can apply it for gaining a(More)
In an important ISR research commentary, Orlikowski and Iacono [2001] argue that the IS field does not deeply engage in its core subject matter, “the IT artifact.” Although agreeing with their analysis and their conclusions concerning the unfortunate lack of engagement with the IT artifact, this article questions their premise that the IT artifact should be(More)
DSS was once a revolutionary idea, but in the intervening decades the original issues that led to the DSS movement have receded to ancient history. Declaring victory on the initial DSS agenda raises questions about whether DSS today is anything other than an umbrella term for disparate types of systems whose main commonality involves overlapping interests(More)
S. Alter Service systems produce all services of significance and scope, yet the concept of a service system is not well articulated in the service literature. This paper presents three interrelated frameworks as a first attempt to define the fundamentals of service systems. These frameworks identify basic building blocks and organize important attributes(More)
The “IT artifact” and debates about the core of the IS field received a lot of attention in the last several years. This paper is a response to Benbasat and Zmud’s June 2003 MISQ paper “The Identity Crisis within the IS Discipline: Defining and Communicating the Discipline’s Core Properties,” which argues that “the IT artifact and its immediate nomological(More)