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Abstract

Benbasat and Zmud (2003) argue that there is an identity crisis within the Information Systems discipline and, as a solution to the crisis, propose a focus on ¡°the IT artifact and its immediate nomological net¡± (p. 186). Using Aldrich¡¯s (1999) articulation of organizational evolution, they note the need for greater cognitive legitimacy as a driving force for sustainability of the discipline. They recommend that researchers and journal editors set the boundaries of the field more firmly so that greater attention is given to the IT artifact rather than to structure, context, or other phenomena that lie distant from the artifact. An alternative analysis of the IS field can be made through the lens of community of practice. Here the indicators suggest more positive progress toward legitimacy of the IS field and a path toward improvement via boundary enhancement rather than constraint. Other recommendations for improving the sustainability of the discipline include greater attention to research questions of current interest, even if they are peripheral to the artifact, greater communication of theory and empirical research results, and continued attempts to build and sustain active membership.

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