Corporate Governance Essay

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1047-7047/01/1202/0121$05.00 1526-5536 electronic ISSN Information Systems Research,  2001 INFORMS Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2001, pp. 121–134 Research Commentary: Desperately Seeking the “IT” in IT Research—A Call to Theorizing the IT Artifact Wanda J. Orlikowski • C. Suzanne Iacono Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142 National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia 22230 wanda@mit.edu • siacono@nsf.gov The field of information systems is premised on the centrality of information technology in everyday socio-economic life. Yet, drawing on a review of the full set of articles published in Information Systems Research (ISR) over the past ten years, we argue that the field has not deeply engaged its core subject matter—the information technology (IT) artifact. Instead, we find that IS researchers tend to give central theoretical significance to the context (within which some usually unspecified technology is seen to operate), the discrete processing capabilities of the artifact (as separable from its context or use), or the dependent variable (that which is posited to be affected or changed as technology is developed, implemented, and used). The IT artifact itself tends to disappear from view, be taken for granted, or is presumed to be unproblematic once it is built and installed. After discussing the implications of our findings, we propose a research direction for the IS field that begins to take technology as seriously as its effects, context, and capabilities. In particular, we propose that IS researchers begin to theorize specifically about IT artifacts, and then incorporate these theories explicitly into their studies. We believe that such a research direction is critical if IS research is to make a significant contribution to the understanding of a world increasingly suffused with ubiquitous,

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