Integrating the Fragmented Pieces of IS Research Paradigms and Frameworks: A Systems Approach

Integrating the Fragmented Pieces of IS Research Paradigms and Frameworks: A Systems Approach

Manuel Mora (Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, Mexico), Ovsei Gelman (National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico), Guisseppi Forgionne (Maryland University, Baltimore County, USA), Doncho Petkov (Eastern State Connecticut University, USA) and Jeimy Cano (Los Andes University, Colombia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-128-5.ch001
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A formal conceptualization of the original concept of system and related concepts—from the original systems approach movement—can facilitate the understanding of information systems (IS). This article develops a critique integrative of the main IS research paradigms and frameworks reported in the IS literature using a systems approach. The effort seeks to reduce or dissolve some current research conflicts on the foci and the underlying paradigms of the IS discipline.
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The concept of management information systems (MIS) in particular, or information systems (IS) in general, has been studied intensively since the 1950s (Adam & Fitzgerald, 2000). These investigations have been conducted largely by behavioral-trained scientists to study the emergent phenomena caused by the deployment and utilization of computers in organizations.

This discipline, from its conception as a potential scientific field, has been driven by a dual research perspective: technical (design engineering oriented) or social (behavioral focused). This duality of man-made non-living (hardware, software, data, and procedures) and living systems (human-beings, teams, organizations, and societies), the multiple interrelationships among these elements, and the socio-cultural-economic-politic and physical-natural environment, make IS a complex field of inquiry.

The complexity of the IS field has attracted researchers from disparate disciplines—operations research, accounting, organizational behavior, management, and computer science, among others. This disciplinary disparity has generated the utilization of several isolated research paradigms and lenses (e.g., positivist, interpretative, or critical-based underlying research methodologies). The result has been the lack of a generally accepted IS research framework or broad theory (Hirchheim & Klein, 2003) and has produced: (i) a vast body of disconnected micro-theories (Barkhi & Sheetz, 2001); (ii) multiple self-identities perceived by the different stakeholders (e.g., IS researchers, IS practitioners, and IS users); and (iii) partial, disparate and incomplete IS conceptualizations (Benbazat & Zmud, 2003; Galliers, 2004; Orlikowski & Iacono, 2001).

Despite scholastic indicators1 of maturity, IS, then, has been assessed as: (1) highly fragmented (Larsen & Levine, 2005), (2) with little cumulative tradition (Weber, 1987), (3) deficient of a formal and standard set of fundamental well-defined and accepted concepts (Alter, 2001, p. 3; Banville & Landry, 1989, p. 56; Wand & Weber, 1990, p. 1282) and (4) with an informal, conflicting and ambiguous communicational system (Banville & Landry, 1989; Hirschheim & Klein, 2003). Such findings provide insights for a plausible explanation of the delayed maturation of the field and the conflictive current perspectives on information systems (Farhoomand, 1987; Wand & Weber, 1990).

This article illustrates how systems theory can be used to alleviate the difficulties. First, there is a review of basic system and related concepts relevant to information systems (Ackoff, 1960; Bertalanffy, 1950, 1968, 1972; Boulding, 1956; Checkland, 1983; Forrester, 1958; Jackson, 2000; Klir, 1969; Midgley, 1996; Mingers, 2000, 2001; Rapoport, 1968). Next, these systems approach concepts are used to formulate a critique integrative of the main paradigms and frameworks suggested for IS research. Then, a theoretical scheme is developed to integrate holistically and coherently the fragmented pieces of IS research paradigms and frameworks. To end, this article presents future research directions on potential conflictive conclusions presented.

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Associate Editors
Table of Contents
Mehdi Khosrow-Pour
Chapter 1
Manuel Mora, Ovsei Gelman, Guisseppi Forgionne, Doncho Petkov, Jeimy Cano
A formal conceptualization of the original concept of system and related concepts—from the original systems approach movement—can facilitate the... Sample PDF
Integrating the Fragmented Pieces of IS Research Paradigms and Frameworks: A Systems Approach
Chapter 2
Steven Alter
The work system method was developed iteratively with the overarching goal of helping business professionals understand IT-reliant systems in... Sample PDF
Could the Work System Method Embrace Systems Concepts More Fully?
Chapter 3
Alfonso Reyes A.
This chapter is concerned with methodological issues. In particular, it addresses the question of how is it possible to align the design of... Sample PDF
The Distribution of a Management Control System in an Organization
Chapter 4
Phillip Dobson
This chapter seeks to address the dearth of practical examples of research in the area by proposing that critical realism be adopted as the... Sample PDF
Making the Case for Critical Realism: Examining the Implementation of Automated Performance Management Systems
Chapter 5
Jo Ann Lane
As organizations strive to expand system capabilities through the development of system-of-systems (SoS) architectures, they want to know “how much... Sample PDF
System-of-Systems Cost Estimation: Analysis of Lead System Integrator Engineering Activities
Chapter 6
Kosheek Sewchurran, Doncho Petkov
The chapter provides an action research account of formulating and applying a new business process modeling framework to a manufacturing processes... Sample PDF
Mixing Soft Systems Methodology and UML in Business Process Modeling
Chapter 7
Aidan Duane, Patrick Finnegan
An email system is a critical business tool and an essential part of organisational communication. Many organisations have experienced negative... Sample PDF
Managing E-Mail Systems: An Exploration of Electronic Monitoring and Control in Practice
Chapter 8
Stephen V. Stephenson, Andrew P. Sage
This chapter provides an overview of perspectives associated with information and knowledge resource management in systems engineering and systems... Sample PDF
Information and Knowledge Perspectives in Systems Engineering and Management for Innovation and Productivity through Enterprise Resource Planning
Chapter 9
Gunilla Widén-Wulff, Reima Suomi
This chapter works out a method on how information resources in organizations can be turned into a knowledge sharing (KS) information culture, which... Sample PDF
The Knowledge Sharing Model: Stressing the Importance of Social Ties and Capital
Chapter 10
Jijie Wang
Escalation is a serious management problem, and sunk costs are believed to be a key factor in promoting escalation behavior. While many laboratory... Sample PDF
A Meta-Analysis Comparing the Sunk Cost Effect for IT and Non-IT Projects
Chapter 11
Georgios N. Angelou
E-learning markets have been expanding very rapidly. As a result, the involved senior managers are increasingly being confronted with the need to... Sample PDF
E-Learning Business Risk Management with Real Options
Chapter 12
C. Ranganathan
Research on online shopping has taken three broad and divergent approaches viz, human-computer interaction, behavioral, and consumerist approaches... Sample PDF
Examining Online Purchase Intentions in B2C E-Commerce: Testing an Integrated Model
Chapter 13
Nicholas C. Georgantzas
This chapter combines disruptive innovation strategy (DIS) theory with the system dynamics (SD) modeling method. It presents a simulation model of... Sample PDF
Information Technology Industry Dynamics: Impact of Disruptive Innovation Strategy
Chapter 14
Shana L. Dardan, Ram L. Kumar, Antonis C. Stylianou
This study develops a diffusion model of customer-related IT (CRIT) based on stock market announcements of investments in those technologies.... Sample PDF
Modeling Customer-Related IT Diffusion
Chapter 15
Bassam Hasan, Jafar M. Ali
The acceptance and use of information technologies by target users remain a key issue in information systems (IS) research and practice. Building on... Sample PDF
The Impact of Computer Self-Efficacy and System Complexity on Acceptance of Information Technologies
Chapter 16
James Jiang, Gary Klein, Eric T.G. Wang
The skills held by information system professionals clearly impact the outcome of a project. However, the perceptions of just what skills are... Sample PDF
Determining User Satisfaction from the Gaps in Skill Expectations Between IS Employees and their Managers
Chapter 17
James Jiang, Gary Klein, Phil Beck, Eric T.G. Wang
To improve the performance of software projects, a number of practices are encouraged that serve to control certain risks in the development... Sample PDF
The Impact of Missing Skills on Learning and Project Performance
Chapter 18
Leigh Jin, Daniel Robey, Marie-Claude Boudreau
Open source software has rapidly become a popular area of study within the information systems research community. Most of the research conducted so... Sample PDF
Beyond Development: A Research Agenda for Investigating Open Source Software User Communities
Chapter 19
Milam Aiken, Linwu Gu, Jianfeng Wang
In the literature of electronic meetings, few studies have investigated the effects of topic-related variables on group processes. This chapter... Sample PDF
Electronic Meeting Topic Effects
Chapter 20
A. Durfee, A. Visa, H. Vanharanta, S. Schneberger, B. Back
Text documents are the most common means for exchanging formal knowledge among people. Text is a rich medium that can contain a vast range of... Sample PDF
Mining Text with the Prototype-Matching Method
Chapter 21
Francis Kofi Andoh-Baidoo, Elizabeth White Baker, Santa R. Susarapu, George M. Kasper
Using March and Smith’s taxonomy of information systems (IS) research activities and outputs and Newman’s method of pro forma abstracting, this... Sample PDF
A Review of IS Research Activities and Outputs Using Pro Forma Abstracts
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