Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Lurking just under the surface of longstanding debates about rigor versus relevance and about the core and scope of the IS field is the question of whether inadequate definitions of basic terms is an obstacle to progress. This article focuses on whether the definition of IT artifact or work system really matters. It identifies five definitions of IT artifact and IT-enabled work system, and then looks in detail at whether the definition of work system mattered in Jasperson, Carter, and Zmud's [2005] article in MIS Quarterly about post-adoptive behaviors. It argues that their definition perhaps affected their conceptualization of post-adoptive behaviors. It presents an alternative model illustrating how a different definition and greater attention to work system issues might have led to a different conceptualization that addresses different issues.





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