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Abstract

More than a decade has passed since the publication of the first article on building information systems design theories (ISDT) that appeared in Information Systems Research (Walls, Widmeyer, and El Sawy, 1992). Using the context of designing vigilant executive information systems, it articulated how to construct and test an ISDT that could prescriptively guide the design of a particular class of information system. The paper argued that successful construction of ISDTs would create an endogenous base for theory in the IS discipline, and could be used by scholars to prescribe design products and processes for different classes of information systems as they emerged. This paper reviews ISDT and assesses how it has been used by IS scholars since that 1992 publication. It attempts to determine how useful the Walls et. al. ISDT has been in guiding design and helping theoretical development. The paper assesses the extent and practicality of its use as a theory building framework, and draws on samples of the various IS scholars have taken advantage of it in 26 papers to-date. The paper diagnoses the reasons for the limited use of ISDT and makes recommendations for enhancing its usability and adoption in the IS research community.

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