Are We Still Talking to Ourselves? An Analysis of the Introspective Information Technology Field by Brazilian Experts

Are We Still Talking to Ourselves? An Analysis of the Introspective Information Technology Field by Brazilian Experts

Carlo Gabriel Porto Bellini (Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Joao Pessoa, Brazil), Gicele Fernandes Martins Dantas (Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Joao Pessoa, Brazil) and Rita de Cássia de Faria Pereira (Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Joao Pessoa, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/jhcitp.2013070102
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Abstract

Academic productivity standards in the field of information technology (IT) seem to address only in part the interests of practice – what is best known as the conflict between rigor and relevance in research. Based on assumptions about the interest, the currency, the accessibility and the applicability of academic production, the authors collected the perception of 11 researchers and 11 managers highly representative of the IT field in Brazil. Brazil was the site of research given its boosting economy and solid IT industry. Results suggest the need to rethink the current system of research production and communication in order to promote a more fruitful dialogue between research and practice.
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Information Technology Research And Practice In Brazil

In the second half of the 20th century, business schools faced severe criticism about the quality of their research. In the 1970s and 1980s, assessments about the rigor in management research intensified, and the result was a series of documents with unfavorable statements about the rigor of research in business schools (Robey & Markus, 1998; Davenport & Markus, 1999). Bertero, Caldas and Wood Jr. (1999, p. 151, our translation) believe that this was also the case in the Brazilian production:

[...] our work is written as to be presented [at meetings] and published [in academic journals], and not to be read or applied in subsequent research. (…) many works are less more than training exercises with no relevance for knowledge building in the field, both in terms of theory and practice.

In the 1990s, the IT field – that can be framed as a branch of management (Graeml & Macadar, 2010) – gives itself the challenge to become a discipline on its own. Towards that goal, IT researchers assumed that there was a need to invest in methodological rigor. Rigor in fact is an important dimension of research related to the identity of a discipline (Bakshi & Krishna, 2007).

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