Organizational Communication & Information Systems OCIS

Journal of Information Technology (JIT) March 2021 Issue (36:1) Published

  • 1.  Journal of Information Technology (JIT) March 2021 Issue (36:1) Published

    Posted 03-12-2021 00:03
    Dear colleagues,<o:p></o:p>
    The Journal of Information Technology (JIT) March 2021 issue (36:1) is now available. 
    Table of contents:
    Ranjan Vaidya, Michael D Myers<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 2–15<o:p></o:p>
    Information and communications technology can be used to improve the social and economic situation in developing countries. However, a broad range of challenges has been identified, and one of these relates to the power asymmetries in developing countries. These power asymmetries are often deeply entrenched. We conducted an in-depth critical case study of an information and communication technology for development project in India. We looked at the historical and cultural context, the roles of the actors, and the use of symbolic practices. Using Bourdieu's theory of practice and, in particular, his concept of habitus, our findings reveal how symbolic practices can work against ICT projects in developing countries. These symbolic practices, rooted in a particular culture, are tied to and constitutive of power asymmetries. We offer a framework for studying habitus in information systems research on information and communication technology for development that may be useful for others who wish to explore similar questions in their case study research.<o:p></o:p>
    Robin Renwick, Rob Gleasure<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 16–38<o:p></o:p>
    Blockchain systems afford new privacy capabilities. This threatens to create conflict, as different social groups involved in blockchain development often disagree on which capabilities specific systems should enact. This article adopts a boundary object perspective to make sense of disagreements between collaborating social worlds. We perform a case study of privacy attitudes among collaborating actors in Monero, a cryptocurrency community that emphasises privacy and decentralisation alongside a set of values sometimes described as anti-establishment, crypto-anarchist, and/or cypherpunk. The case study performs a series of interviews with users, developers, cryptographic researchers, corporate architects, and government regulators. Three novel and important findings emerge. The first is that none of the social worlds express a desire to monitor routine transactions, despite the obvious business and tax-collection value of such data. The second is that regulators are happy to postpone active involvement, based on the flawed assumption they can impose privacy-related regulation later, once risks have become clear. Such regulation may not be possible as protocols and rulesets currently being coded into the system may be impossible to amend in the future (unless they can obtain either developer or network consensus). The third is that regulators assume methods for overseeing extraordinary transaction are necessary to avoid widespread, near-effortless money laundering. Yet, each of the other social worlds is operating under the assumption that this trade-off has already been accepted. These findings demonstrate subtle power transitions and changes in privacy attitudes that have implications for research on blockchain, management, and boundary objects in general.<o:p></o:p>
    Antony Bryant, Frank Land<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 39–55

    Part 1 of the 'conversation' offered important insights into a groundbreaking era for computer development – adding further detail to existing writings by Frank Land, the work of the LEO group in general, and extended accounts such as those by Ferry, Hally and Harding. This should have whetted the appetite for readers keen to know more, also prompting others to offer their own accounts. Part 2 moves on to Frank Land's subsequent activities as one of the founding figures of the Information Systems (IS) Academy, and his 'Emeritus' phase.<o:p></o:p>
    Debate: Natural Sciences and IS Research | Do IS Researchers Mystify the Natural Sciences?<o:p></o:p>
    Mikko Siponen, Tuula Klaavuniemi<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 56–68<o:p></o:p>
    Beliefs about natural science have been influential in information system (IS; Orlikowski and Baroudi, 1991). For example, a belief exists that 'the methods of natural science constitute the only legitimate methods for use in social science' (Evaristo and Karahanna, 1997: 39). These legitimate methods include the use of 'quantitative empirical methodologies-field experiment, survey, and laboratory experiments' (Evaristo and Karahanna, 1997: 39). Understandably, many qualitative IS scholars have reported serious pressure to meet such standards. For example, De Vaujany et al. (2011) asserted that 'in order to survive, the IS field had to draw on a model of research attributed to the natural sciences' (p. 405). Similarly, Lyytinen and King (2004) referred to the 'orthodox' view in IS, according to which the IS 'field's survival depended on . . . drawing on a model of research attributed to the natural sciences' (p. 222). If quantitative methodologies are the only legitimate scientific methods, then how did those IS scholars who did not use quantitative (e.g. statistical) research methods survive?<o:p></o:p>
    Michael D Myers<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 69–71<o:p></o:p>

    I agree with the first part of the authors' argument. I agree that the natural sciences use qualitative as well as quantitative data, that the data they collect are subject to interpretation, and that they rarely find deterministic laws. This part of the argument is unproblematic. In fact, I doubt if any IS scholars (at least the ones that that I know) would disagree with this. However, I disagree with the second part of their argument. They claim to be demystifying beliefs about the natural sciences in IS, but I believe they themselves have created a straw man. They claim to be correcting the erroneous views that IS scholars have held for years about the nature of the natural sciences, but they themselves have misunderstood what IS scholars actually said. Hence, they are not "demystifying beliefs about the natural sciences in IS" at all but doing some mystifying of their own.<o:p></o:p>
    Alan R Hevner<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 72–76<o:p></o:p>
    The dual nature of science in terms of its processes (verb) and its outcomes (noun) provides complementary but separable lens for viewing the quality of scientific research in IS. While Siponen and Klaavuniemi (2020) critique IS research projects on their appropriation and use of scientific methods (process view), this brief commentary argues for assessing the quality of IS research projects on their innovative research contributions (outcome view) to descriptive and prescriptive knowledge bases. This knowledge-based outcome view emphasizes a philosophy of pragmatism, which is expressed in DSR as the requirement to solve real-world problems with practical solutions (Hevner et al., 2004).<o:p></o:p>
    Human in the loop (Commentary)<o:p></o:p>
    Neil McBride<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 77–80<o:p></o:p>

    At its heart Siponen and Klaavuniemi's thesis concerning IS researchers' beliefs about natural sciences is a red herring. The study of IS is the study of humans as distinctive manipulators of information. Our effort in addressing the philosophy of IS should be directed not to the justification of the application of natural science methodologies, but rather to the understanding of the ethics of IS as instruments of power and the expression of human existence.<o:p></o:p>
    John Mingers<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 81–84<o:p></o:p>
    S&K are right to point out the problems of the traditional model of natural science and that therefore it should not be seen as a guiding light within IS. But, in fact, within the philosophy of natural science itself, there has been a move away from the traditional deductive-nomological (D-N) model of Hempel (1965), which suffers from many of the faults described above, towards an approach based on the idea of causal mechanisms (Mingers, 2014, Ch. 4).<o:p></o:p>
    Daniel Schlagwein<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 85–89<o:p></o:p>
    This space does not allow discussion of all the supposed 'mis-characterisations' of the natural sciences by IS researchers. However, I believe that considering context, history and the above distinctions help to better clarify whether they are, in fact, mis-characterisations at all (or simply value differences) and, if so, precisely of what and by whom. The Debate thesis authors need to be careful here not to add their own set of mis-characterisations through simplistic analysis. I thank the authors of the Debate thesis and those of another debate (McBride, 2018 and responses) for reigniting the fundamental question about IS research: What kind of field of inquiry is it or what kind should it be?<o:p></o:p>
    Mikko Siponen, Tuula Klaavuniemi<o:p></o:p>
    pp. 90–92<o:p></o:p>
    Siponen and Klaavuniemi (this issue) started questioning some of these IS beliefs on NS. Some commentators provide alternative interpretations, some of which might turn out to be more well founded than ours in (Siponen and Klaavuniemi, this issue). Despite that, the existence of many problematic NS assumptions in IS, which asks too much from any science and are misleading, remains a fact. While the task of questioning these beliefs remains incomplete, it should be seen as part of a larger program that critically scrutinizes every scientifically or philosophically important concept in IS. Such a program is actually positive, for example, by debunking misleading or problematic assumptions. For example, realizing that many candidates for "laws" in IS are not actually genuine laws but probabilistic claims would require and open new research avenues to examine the probabilities of such claims in different contexts. Of course, this program in itself must withstand critical scrutiny.<o:p></o:p>
    JIT Special Issue Call for Papers: <o:p></o:p>
    Regulation in the Age of Digitalization
    (deadline 2021-01-31) – Closed<o:p></o:p>
    Editors: Danny Gozman, Kalle Lyytinen, Tom Butler

    Emerging Technologies and IS Sourcing
    (deadline 2021-04-01) – Deadline extended / closing soon<o:p></o:p>
    Editors: Julia Kotlarsky, Ilan Oshri, Oliver Krancher, Rajiv Sabherwal<o:p></o:p>
    Editors; Matti Rossi, Christy Cheung, Suprateek Sarker, Jason Thatcher<o:p></o:p>
    Subscribe to JIT's newsletter to receive special issue call for papers and online-first publications alerts:<o:p></o:p>
    JIT homepage:<o:p></o:p>
    Best wishes,<o:p></o:p>

    Dr Daniel SchlagweinJournal of Information Technology (JIT) March 2021 Issue (36:1) Published
    Associate Professor | The University of Sydney
    Editor-in-Chief (Joint) | Journal of Information Technology
    Leader (Joint) | Digital Disruption Research Group

    The University of Sydney
    Business School | Abercrombie Building (H70), Room 4066 | The University of Sydney NSW 2006 | Australia
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    Dr Daniel Schlagwein
    Associate Professor | The University of Sydney
    Co-Editor-in-Chief | Journal of Information Technology