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Abstract

Shared services have gained significance as an organizational arrangement, in particular for support functions, to reduce costs, increase quality, and create new capabilities. The information systems (IS) function is amenable to sharing arrangements and information systems can enable sharing in other functional areas. However, despite being a promising area for IS research, literature on shared services in the IS discipline is scarce and scattered. There is still little consensus on what shared services is. Moreover, a thorough understanding of why shared services are adopted, who are involved, and how things are shared is lacking. In this article, we set out to progress IS research on shared services by establishing a common ground for future research and proposing a research agenda to shape the field based on an analysis of the IS literature. We present a holistic and inclusive definition, discuss the primacy of economic-strategic objectives so far, and introduce conceptual frameworks for stakeholders and the notion of sharing. We also provide an overview of the theories and research methods applied. We propose a research agenda that addresses fundamental issues related to objectives, stakeholders, and the notion of sharing to lay the foundation for taking IS research on shared services forward.

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