Practice-based IS Research Minitrack

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This minitrack seeks to encourage practice-based research on new and emerging IS issues in organizations. Practice-based research aspires to bridge the gap between academic theory and practice; it aspires both to introduce researchers to state of the art practices and issues from industry as well as introduce managers to research that makes sense of and brings coherence to the issues they face.

The methods used in practice-based research are often exploratory, field-based studies involving interviews, observations, and/or descriptive surveys. The intense pressure to achieve methodological distinction and theoretical contribution often results in very current practice-based topics being eschewed by researchers, because the topics themselves are not mature enough in practice to achieve desirable samples or sample sizes, nor are they conducive to theorizing since so little is known. These are precisely the reasons that exploratory, practice-based research can play a tremendous role in helping establish and lay the foundations of a research domain while providing insights into an emerging topic.

This minitrack solicits high-quality, practice-based research. Accepted articles will be considered for fast-tracking into MIS Quarterly Executive, a journal whose mission is to provide an outlet for high quality practice-based IS research.

Minitrack Co-Chairs:

Dorothy Leidner (Primary Contact)
Baylor University

Bill Kettinger
University of Memphis

Ester Gonzalez
California State University, Fullerton

Michael Milovich
Rowan University


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
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    Transforming the Workplace: Unified Communications & Collaboration Usage Patterns in a Large Automotive Manufacturer
    ( 2017-01-04) Bolton, Anthony ; Murray, Meg ; Fluker, Joy
    The business communications landscape continues to change dramatically as a plethora of communications channels and devices become available and mature. Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C), the integration of multiple communication channels and collaboration technologies, represents innovation in the communications technology space. The promise of UC&C is that it will increase productivity, spur innovation, and improve collaboration by providing an infrastructure that supports the rising knowledge economy, the digitally connected enterprise, and the virtual work environment. This study examines the usage patterns of employees following the implementation of a UC&C platform within a large automotive manufacturer, namely General Motors. The results indicate that UC&C has had a positive impact on both business and employees and offers the potential to leverage the benefits of rich collaboration, interactive experience, and human intelligence to transform the workplace.
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    The Transformative Role of Bimodal IT in an Era of Digital Business
    ( 2017-01-04) Haffke, Ingmar ; Kalgovas, Bradley ; Benlian, Alexander
    Digital transformation is challenging the traditional expectations of the IT function, as organizations demand a more agile IT function, capable of exploring innovative uses of IT in a digital business context. Using qualitative executive interview data, this paper explores the bimodal approach organizations can use to create an IT function that effectively supports and drives the organization’s digital agenda. The study finds that for many organizations, a bimodal IT design, of which we found three distinct archetypes to exist, serves as a transitional stage in the pursuit of embedding a higher level of agility and a stronger exploration focus in the IT function, which ultimately operates unimodal. This study’s investigation into bimodal IT has significant implications for how the IT function transforms in the digital business era and is of relevance to practitioners as digital transformation affects organizational structure, culture, and methods of working.
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    So You Want To Go Digital? How To Avoid The Next Legacy Platform Debacle
    ( 2017-01-04) Mocker, Martin ; Boochever, John
    IT platforms as the foundation of digitized processes and products are vital in a digital economy. However, many companies’ platforms are liabilities, not strategic assets because of their complexity. \ \ Consequently, companies initiate IT complexity reduction programs. But these technology-centric programs at best provide temporary relief. Soon after, companies’ platforms become just as complex as before. \ \ Based on four case studies, we identify three non-technical drivers of platform complexity: (1) Lacking awareness of consequences business decisions have on platform complexity, (2) Lacking motivation to avoid platform complexity, (3) Lacking authority to protect platforms from complexity. We propose measures to address these drivers that can help achieve more sustainable impact on platform complexity: (1) Removing information asymmetries between those creating complexity and those dealing with complexity, (2) Redefining incentives to include long-term effects on platform complexity, (3) Redressing power imbalances between those who create complexity and those who have to manage it.
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    Mitigating the Threat of Lost Knowledge within Information Technology Departments
    ( 2017-01-04) Shumaker, Jesse ; Ward, Kerry ; Petter, Stacie ; Riley, Jennifer
    Experienced information technology professionals leaving an organization creates a risk of losing crucial knowledge. To mitigate this risk, an organization must identify key knowledge holders and develop a plan to transfer their knowledge before these employees leave the organization. This research develops the Knowledge Loss Assessment to identify employees with critical knowledge about important knowledge/skill areas within the IT department. We implemented the Knowledge Loss Assessment within an information technology department of a utility company which resulted in an actionable list of key knowledge holders and a prioritized list of knowledge and skills to transfer to other IT employees within the organization. The results of this study yielded several management principles for researchers and practitioners interested in mitigating the threat of lost knowledge within an information technology department. \
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    InfoSec Research in Prominent IS Journals: Findings and Implications for the CIO and Board of Directors
    ( 2017-01-04) McLaughlin, Mark-David ; Gogan, Janis
    Having reviewed 91 information security (InfoSec) studies published in top IS journals for a ten-year period (2004-2014), we discuss technical, behavioral, financial, and managerial challenges for CIOs and boards of directors, and offer suggestions for future practice-relevant research on preventing, preparing for, detecting and responding to InfoSec incidents.
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    Increasing the Agility of IT Delivery: Five Types of Bimodal IT Organization
    ( 2017-01-04) Horlach, Bettina ; Drews, Paul ; Schirmer, Ingrid ; Boehmann, Tilo
    In the age of digital business transformation, enterprises seek to increase their agility and speed of IT delivery. To accomplish this, they change their existing control-driven IT organizational structures and processes and establish separate modes for business-oriented and traditional IT delivery (“bimodal IT”). Though the concept of bimodal IT has been discussed in practice, empirical research regarding the approaches employed to implement bimodal IT is scarce. This paper presents findings from a qualitative-empirical study on the bimodal IT implementation approaches of nine companies. It identifies five different types of bimodal IT in these enterprises and shows that specific mechanisms are applied to enhance the (business) IT alignment in the respective organizational settings of each type. On the basis of similarities and differences among the types, we develop propositions for future research on bimodal IT and derive implications for practice.
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    Dynamic Capabilities and Project Management in Small Software Firms
    ( 2017-01-04) Nørbjerg, Jacob ; Nielsen, Peter Axel ; Stouby Persson, John
    A small software company depends on its capability to adapt to rapid technological and other changes in its environment—its dynamic capabilities. In this paper, we argue that to evolve and maintain its dynamic capabilities a small software company must pay attention to the interaction between dynamic capabilities at different levels of the company—particularly between the project management and the company levels. We present a case study of a small software company and show how successful dynamic capabilities at the company level can affect project management in small software companies in ways which may have an adverse impact on the company’s overall dynamic capabilities. This study contributes to our understanding of the managerial challenges of small software companies by demonstrating the need to manage the interaction between adaptability and flexibility at different levels of the company.
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    Connecting Industry: Building and Sustaining a Practice-based Research Community
    ( 2017-01-04) Williams, Susan ; Schubert, Petra
    In this paper, we give a narrative account of the building and sustaining of a multi-organization practice-based research community (IndustryConnect). We begin with an examination of the motivations and theoretical foundations for the initiative, which brings together researchers and practitioners to investigate the design of the digital workplace and the use of enterprise collaboration systems. We discuss the arrangements, structures and research methods used and the challenges and rewards of practice-based research. These include: aligning stakeholder interests, serving both theoretical and practical outcomes and the role of research training and mentoring in the process of community building.
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    Blockchain as Radical Innovation: A Framework for Engaging with Distributed Ledgers as Incumbent Organization
    ( 2017-01-04) Beck, Roman ; Müller-Bloch, Christoph
    Blockchain is an emerging technology that is perceived as groundbreaking. However, blockchain presents incumbent organizations with significant challenges. How should they respond to the advent of this innovative technology, and how can they build the capabilities that are necessary to successfully engage with blockchain? In this case study, we analyze how an incumbent bank deals with the radical innovation of blockchain. We find that blockchain as an innovation is unique, because its transaction cost-lowering nature requires cooperation not only on an intra-organizational, but also on an inter-organizational level to fully leverage the technology. We develop a framework illustrating how the process of discovering, incubating, and accelerating with blockchain can look like. Our research is one of the first case studies in the area; shedding light on the organizational challenges of incumbents as they engage with blockchain. The paper provides a blueprint for business executives in their endeavor of embracing blockchain technology.
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    A Framework for Relationships in Outsourcing: Contract Management Archetypes
    ( 2017-01-04) Cullen, Sara ; Shanks, Graeme ; Davern, Michael ; Willcocks, Leslie
    Outsourcing engagements are defined by contracts, but personal relationships drive success. In this paper, we propose a set of behavior archetypes and use them within four action-research cases that altered behavior to achieve positive outcomes. The results suggest that a successful outsourcing engagement can be derived through adaptation of well-considered behavioral approaches rather than contracting techniques.