Using the theory of the professions to understand the IS identity crisis

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Academic information systems (IS) is struggling with an identity crisis that is grounded in limited consensus about the discipline's core concepts, its important research questions and its boundaries. The result is a pluralistic discipline that has triggered an ongoing debate about whether the liquidity characteristic of IS is a natural consequence of rapidly changing technologies or if it is indicative of a chaotic state that is unsustainable. This paper looks at IS through a new and different lens by using the theory of the professions to gain insight into current and heretofore unidentified problems facing the discipline. Casting IS as a profession presents an integrated view of academic IS, IS practice and IS education grounded in a framework that explores connections among these three elements. The paper concludes with a discussion of the processes by which professions evolve and likely consequences for IS research, practice and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • IS education
  • IS identity
  • IS practice
  • academic IS
  • professions


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