Business & Information Systems Engineering

Document Type

Research Paper


The paper reports on the results of a Delphi study with 143 information systems (IS) academics that was designed to explore what IS academics perceive to be the grand challenges of the IS discipline. The results provide evidence that the scholarly IS discipline is still much concerned with itself, for instance, in terms of its identity, relevance, foundational theory, or methodological pluralism – suggesting that the old debate on IS identity is not yet overcome. It thus cannot be claimed that the study identifies the grand challenges of the discipline – still it becomes noticeable that the academic community sees potentials for the IS discipline to have societal impact. A total of 21 challenges are identified, of which six challenges are categorized as “meta challenges for further developing the IS discipline” and the remaining 15 challenges are categorized as “IS research challenges” pertaining to socio-technical systems, IS infrastructures, society and ecology, as well as social well-being and affectivity. We provide a ranking of all challenges according to their relevance, potential impact, and possible time frame of realization. The results have some important implications for IS as a discipline as well as its prospective future societal role. It is hoped that through our study we can contribute to the important debate on the challenges of the academic IS discipline.