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Abstract

Even though the Web has changed the world to a remarkable extent, researchers have suggested relatively few truly descriptive theories and prescriptive models that treat it as the primary focus of attention thus far. The Web as a scientific discipline is still being shaped. Computing science suggests a basis for shaping it, but we need explanatory theories and a systems approach that combines both how to design desirable Web properties and understand the Web as a phenomenon. The information systems (IS) discipline, with its strong theory-driven approaches, has a special capability to help advance the Web as a sound discipline. IS scholars have a golden opportunity to actively participate in molding Web science through transferring lessons learned in IS into it, introducing theories adopted and developed in IS for it, and integrating the two disciplines. In this paper, I examine how researchers can and should use prominent theories to explain Web properties and phenomena. I differentiate between original IS theories and theories adopted from reference disciplines and propose individual user behaviors, social behaviors, and organizational behaviors as a practical taxonomy for categorizing IS theories.

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