[AISWorld] A small revolution in the IS field

Ilia Bider ilia at ibissoft.se
Thu Jan 3 11:30:56 EST 2013


On your question:

"What kind of IS research is valuable anyway?"

The following citation from Kurt Levin gives a good hint:

"There is nothing more practical than a good theory"

It is not only a statement about what is good for practice, but also a 
definition of what a good theory is,  i.e. a theory that can be useful 
in practice.

The next logical step is "in  order to be useful in practice" the theory 
should be understood by those who do work in practice, which in turn 
requires radical change in the style of scientific publications in IS. 
It was nice to discover that even this problem got some attention during 
ICIS 2012.



On 2012-12-30 20:32, Nik R Hassan wrote:
> *A small revolution in the IS field*
> As we approach the end of yet another year in the history of the IS 
> field, I'd like to say how glad I was to have attended ICIS this year. 
> It may just be me, but I think I just witnessed a small revolution 
> taking place (at least in North America) in the field. I heard IS 
> scholars making unconventional remarks I have not heard before. I 
> enclose some quotes, and what went through my mind in parenthesis [I 
> am just reporting - please don't shoot the messenger :-) ].
> [Varun*] "We can do very good research, but that doesn't mean we are 
> producing good knowledge ... can we create 'better' knowledge?... 
> exciting, innovative and addressing important questions of our time"
> (wha... [my jaw dropping] did Varun just say what I thought he said?? 
> He's admitting we're not producing good knowledge?)
> [Varun] "are we scripting the way we do research....requiring us to 
> select a theory and apply it to our phenomena, create a mid-level 
> model and then refine it ... add mediators and moderators to it ... 
> Does this script work for good knowledge?"
> (Wow ... I kinda think everyone knew that was the game, the standard 
> publishing script, and I was taught exactly that in school, but to 
> hear a scholar say it in public and analyze it ... cool!)
> [Bernard**] "I've been looking back at all the work that I've done... 
> I don't think I've done enough ... We really should be doing research 
> to resolve significant global problems...
> (if Bernard feels he hasn't contributed much, how much have the rest 
> of us done?)
> [Bernard] ... at NUS, we've put together an inter-disciplinary team 
> and received a big grant using social media to reduce pests ... and 
> increase food production ... Let's not be too fixated about whether 
> MISQ or ISR would publish such research ... let's target our work at 
> Nature or Science .... to earn the respect of others outside our community
> (that's easy for him to say, he's already published tons in MISQ and 
> ISR. But isn't there something wrong with the picture? Isn't research 
> that's frequently published in the top journals of the field that's 
> supposed to make their way to journals like Science and Nature? What 
> does that say about our "normal" research?)
> [Manju**]  "After we have had the satisfaction of publishing in MISQ 
> or ISR, and at least after making tenure and Full, it is time to start 
> thinking about researching big ideas that make a difference "
> (Publishing 2-3 papers in MISQ and ISR, and getting full professor is 
> going to take at least 10-20 years out of the most productive years of 
> anyone's life, if they're fortunate enough to get there. Shouldn't 
> those most productive years already be spent in researching big ideas? 
> Shouldn't big ideas be some part of getting a full professorship in IS?)
> [Steven Alter in a follow up email]
> Our ICIS panel "DSR ... remind me again about whether it is a new 
> research paradigm or a rationale of last resort ..." chaired by Allen 
> Lee, with Steven Alter, Helmut Krcmar, and Mike Chiasson ... remarks 
> similar to Varun ... that DSR is increasingly governed by a script 
> that makes papers easier to review but ... becoming an obstacle to 
> genuine innovation ... script encourages DSR researchers to do 
> design-related work in a way in which few if any designers actually 
> design things in the real world, which is especially unfortunate for a 
> type of research that is called design SCIENCE research."
> All of these remarks are making me rethink about the notion of "value" 
> in our work (not to be confused with "usefulness" or "utility"). It's 
> close to "relevance" but since relevance has so much baggage attached 
> to it, perhaps we should be taking a closer look at what valuable 
> research really means.
> What kind of IS research is valuable anyway?
> Nik Rushdi Hassan
> Univ of Minnesota Duluth
> Chair SIG Philosophy
> *Varun Grover and Kalle Lyytinen presented at the SIG Philosophy 
> Workshop at ICIS on "IS Theory-State of the Art" - available soon on 
> the SIG Philosophy homepage
> **Bernard Tan and Manju Ahuja presented at the Senior Scholars Panel 
> at ICIS 2012 chaired by Fred Niederman
> -- 
> Nik R. Hassan, PhD
> Assoc. Professor, Finance & MIS Dept.
> Labovitz School of Business and Economics
> University of Minnesota Duluth
> 1318 Kirby Drive, LSBE 335Q
> Duluth MN 55812
> Office Phone: (218) 726-7453 <tel:%28218%29%20726-7453>
> Fax: (218) 726-7516 <tel:%28218%29%20726-7516>
> Home Page: www.d.umn.edu/~nhassan <http://www.d.umn.edu/%7Enhassan>
> LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/nik-rushdi-hassan/33/591/a9b
> Email: nhassan at d.umn.edu <mailto:nhassan at d.umn.edu>
> _______________________________________________
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> AISWorld at lists.aisnet.org

Dr. Ilia Bider
Process- och systemutvecklingskonsult at ibissoft.se
Lektor & Forskare at DSV.su.se
ilia at ibissoft.se        +46 (0)8 164998
Design science in action ... http://slidesha.re/Uq3RTC

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