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Abstract

Information technologies are an integral part of any organization and are constantly emerging and evolving. Theories explaining the impact of technological innovations on organizations and the individuals that populate them are developed as new technologies emerge, and future business applications are explored. Despite this richness of research, we have a fairly narrow view of how these technologies are related. Furthermore, new technologies are often assigned labels that strongly connote disconnect from existing technologies despite the fact that few true evolutionary leaps exist and, for the most part, information technologies evolve from each other and share many similarities. Consequently, our ability to apply knowledge gained from the application of one technology to interactions with another is limited. Developing general theories of information technologies require strong understanding of the different technologies that exist and how they are related. To this end, this article puts forward a concise classification of information technologies. Using a multidimensional scaling approach and survey data from IS academics, we identify three dimensions which capture the commonalities and differences among information technologies. We believe that the resultant classification will enable researchers to better integrate existing and future theories, and to move away from technology-specific theories toward more general ones.

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