There are good times. And there are bad times. We see cycles in all human activity and the issue in how to deal with these is not to ignore the realities of the period, but it is equally not to further forces that contribute to vicious downward spirals or to “irrational exuberance” in upward cycles. What is called for is a realistic, responsible, and virtuous upward movement built by those who see that can then create a way forward.
Frequently at conferences and colloquia we hear our colleagues lament about the dismal state of the Information Systems field. Often, it is a reaction to trends (e.g., the current IS academic job market) or to a panel session where the question is framed as “Do We Have a Core?” or “How Shall We Deal with the IS Identity Crisis?” We often see articles that begin with “Nothing at the Center” or “Is IS a discipline?” or “The Slippery Slope of MIS Academia”. Hearing and seeing such reactions, one might get the impression that there is a general malaise about the discipline. However, despite the reality that there are profound problems that do merit serious attention, we do not believe that couching discourse in a negative affective tone is healthy for ours or for any field.
We wonder what views our colleagues, in their moments of private honesty, hold about the field. Are they consistent with ours? We see a still young field that has grown significantly and globally over the years, and one that has established stable institutional structures and core journals that compare favorably to the best in any field (Grover et al. 2006; Straub 2008; Straub and Ang 2008).