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Is Information Systems a science? An inquiry into the nature of the information systems discipline
  • Deepak Khazanchi, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Agder University College
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The Information Systems (IS) discipline is apparently undergoing an identity crisis. Academicians question the need for IS departments in colleges stating the absence of a core for the field and its integration within other business functions as a basis for its elimination. At the same time, many practitioners, as reflected in the US government's recent IT labor shortage report, continue to ignore IS as a distinct field of study. This article briefly outlines these and other challenges and argues that notwithstanding underlying philosophical differences, it can be concluded that IS is an emerging scientific discipline. This conclusion is reached through an assessment of the debate surrounding the issue of whether IS should be a discipline and an analysis of the IS discipline using some key characteristics of "science." The arguments put forth in this paper have four key implications for the IS community: a continuing emphasis on adopting scientific principles and practices for conducting inquiry into IS phenomena; an enhancement of the self-concept of IS academics and professionals through a common identity; enhances the ability of supporters of the IS field to defend against criticisms, integration with other disciplines, and resource rivalry; and creates the potential of being well-situated to building a cumulative tradition in the field.


The definitive version of this article can be found here: 10.1145/381823.381834.

Citation Information
Deepak Khazanchi and Bjørn Erik Munkvold. "Is Information Systems a science? An inquiry into the nature of the information systems discipline" ACM SIGMIS Database Vol. 31 Iss. 3 (2000) p. 26 - 44
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