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Dropping Your Tools: Exploring When and How Theories Can Serve as Blinders in IS Research
Department of Informatics, Umeå University, Sweden.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Technology and Media. (VAlIT; Scholarly Influence Research (SIR))
2011 (English)In: Communications of the Association for Information Systems, ISSN 1529-3181, E-ISSN 1529-3181, Vol. 28, no 1, p. 282-294Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The debate between protagonists of different theoretical approaches continues in the IS field, with little prospect of resolution. The debate is typically characterized by tendentious arguments as advocates of each approach offer a one-sided condemnation of other approaches. Debate on the qualities of theoretical explanations of technological change is hampered by the shadow of supremacist strategies that is cast over the debate, illustrating the manner in which IS researchers are polarized into opposing camps, each viewing the other as inferior. Ironically further polarization is occurring in the ways that various groups of IS scholars are simultaneously calling for order, disciplin and clearer notions of the ―core of the discipline‖ while other scholars call for greater research diversity. In order to overcome this polarization we advocate a strategy recommended by Weick [1996]: Drop your tools—hold your concepts lightly and update them frequently. Three reasons for dropping our theoretical tools are put forward—the focus on improving practice, the focus on building cumulative tradition in the mother discipline, and the focus on building cumulative tradition in one‘s own discipline—suggesting researchers must consider the ―fit‖ between problem domain, theory and the relationship of the chosen theory to the method of inquiry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 28, no 1, p. 282-294
Keywords [en]
theory, research diversity; Actor Network Theory; Structuration Theory
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-14906Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-81055146982OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-14906DiVA, id: diva2:459482
Funder
A multiscale, cross‐disciplinary approach to the study of climate change effect on ecosystem services and biodiversityAvailable from: 2011-12-06 Created: 2011-11-25 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Scopushttp://aisel.aisnet.org/cais/vol28/iss1/19

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Truex, Duane

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