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Abstract

Academic and popular literature suggest that one plausible explanation for declining enrollments in the Information Systems (IS) discipline is the negative stereotypical image students have about IS professionals and the profession. However, there is a lack of empirical research that investigates the image of IS professionals. This study addresses this research gap. First, an instrument was developed to measure stereotypes of IS professionals. A series of empirical analysis was conducted to establish the measure’s psychometric properties. The findings revealed a five-factor, 15-item instrument that measured IS stereotypes in terms of geeks, gender, intelligence, managerial and technical dimensions. Then, the presence of stereotypes along each of these dimensions was examined. The literature has generally assumed that IS professionals are viewed as geeks, mostly male, intelligent, technically oriented, and lacking managerial skills. The study uncovered that strong stereotypes do exist along these dimensions. However, interestingly, most of the stereotypes were found to be in the opposite direction than the literature suggested. Students disagreed that IS professionals were geeks, that the IS profession was typically dominated by men, and that IS professionals were too technically oriented. They agreed that IS professionals possessed good managerial skills and were intelligent. The paper concludes with implications for theory and practice.

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