Communications of the Association for Information Systems


An Information Systems (IS) design research project is in many aspects fundamentally different from that of traditional behaviorist research. IS design research projects with the ambition to provide socio-technical solutions to real world problems require the contribution of external stakeholders to the development, testing, and implementation of the design contribution. This article analyzes socio-technical IS design research from a resource dependency perspective. Our objective is to identify and describe critical resources that need to be secured for completion of the research. We investigate three socio-technical IS design research projects. The first project is a small-scale project on design of eLearning courses, the second is a medium-scale industry-driven project on IS integration in corporate mergers and acquisitions, and the third is a large collaborative research project with the ambition to redesign European customs using IT. The most prominent resources are human (knowledge and skills) and organizational (reputation and trust). The main strategy to deal with dependencies is incorporation of resource controllers, which create reciprocal and sequential dependencies internally. Our study shows the importance of extending the existing view of IS design research, when applied to socio-technical research, with an “initiation phase” and an “impact phase,” which are especially important in large-scale design research projects.