Klein & Hirschheim (2008) The Structure of the IS Discipline Reconsidered

Abstract

The Structure of the IS Discipline Reconsidered: Implications and Reflections From a Community of Practice Perspective

The motivation of this paper is to advance the recent discussion about the identity of the Information Systems field with a social analysis of its community structures. It seeks to shed new light on the reasons why the field continues to debate its identity and to voice concerns about its recognition by other disciplines. For that purpose the paper adapts selected concepts from the community of practice literature for improving our understanding of the ways in which the IS research community differentiates itself into diverse constituencies, called communities of practice and knowing (CoP&K), and how these interact in the field's complex processes of knowledge creation and dissemination. Our second purpose is to derive some tentative, actionable recommendations for the field from applying the concepts presented in the first part of the paper. The recommendations expand three fundamental ideas: (i) why a continuously updated history of the field could be an important contribution to support boundary spanning and identity formation; (ii) what the nature and role of fundamental criticism is for the IS research community and why it is necessary for the field's future to pay more institutional attention to it; and (iii) how to improve understanding and communication within each paradigm constituency across a broad subset of different CoP&K through building a shared sense of collective historical accomplishments. The conclusions summarize the principal results which follow from our examination of the field's community structures and insist that the CoP&K perspective concomitantly helps to better appreciate the underlying conditions from where the current IS disciplinary challenges have arisen; it also helps to suggest new priorities and possible strategies for dealing with these challenges. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Citation Heinz K. Klein, Rudy Hirschheim (2008). The Structure of the IS Discipline Reconsidered: Implications and Reflections From a Community of Practice Perspective. Information and Organization, vol. 18 no. 4, pp. 280–302. URL

BibTex entry for this article:

BibTex entry for this article:

@article{klein2008structure,
author = {Klein, Heinz K. and Hirschheim, Rudy},
doi = {10.1016/j.infoandorg.2008.05.001},
isbn = {1471-7727},
issn = {14717727},
journal = {Information and Organization},
number = {4},
pages = {280--302},
publisher = {Elsevier Ltd},
title = {{The Structure of the IS Discipline Reconsidered: Implications and Reflections From a Community of Practice Perspective}},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infoandorg.2008.05.001},
volume = {18},
year = {2008}
}

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