Consolidation and Learning in IS: Managing the Research Knowledge Base

  • Fatemeh “Mariam
  • Published 2003


i Information systems as a discipline has gone through a number of growth phases. Having its origin in computer science and management science, it looked into management to develop its theoretical focus and managerial orientations, leading to management information systems (MIS) as a multidisciplinary field. MIS has looked into computer science and new technologies as the subject of its studies and has searched for theories in a number of disciplines, including management, social psychology and others for conceptualizing relationships among technology, people and organizations. IS research has now reached a maturity level that can afford to face interesting questions about its nature without undermining the existing diversity of perspectives within the field. Rigor and Relevance. In 1999, MISQ published a number of commentaries by the leading researchers in the field on rigor and relevance in IS research. Taking their cues from a BusinessWeek (1990) piece critical of management research, Benbasat and Zmud (1999) comment on the importance of relevance in initiating research questions and in reporting the results. They argue that " [r]elevancy does not research needs to be carried out in a less rigorous fashion. In fact, mangers value and respect rigor (as it often proves to be a key discriminator between academic and consultancy contributions " [p. 5]. Benbasat and Zmud (1999) identify four dimensions of relevance: interesting, applicable, current, and accessible. The " interesting " dimension relates to the choice of research question and its importance to IS practitioners. The " applicable " dimension relates to the utility of results for practitioners, whereas the " current " dimension is the relevancy of the results to the current business issues. The " accessible " dimension has the focus on writing results that are understandable by practitioners. Based on the dimensions of relevance, they make nine recommendations, including the development of cumulative, theory-based, context-rich bodies of research. In the same MISQ issue, Applegate (1999) poses the dilemma of the case-based field-study approach that may have a higher relevance to practitioners. Lee (1999) argues against the positivist approach as being the only choice of methodology and discusses the interpretivist approach as an avenue that could provide increased depth and relevance to IS research. Davenport and Markus (1999) take issue with the comment about lack of rigor in consultancy and argue that consultants have more direct access to businesses and hence their work has relevance and in some cases rigor. They …

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@inproceedings{Mariam2003ConsolidationAL, title={Consolidation and Learning in IS: Managing the Research Knowledge Base}, author={Fatemeh “Mariam}, year={2003} }