Communications of the Association for Information Systems


The center of the IS field is presented as a market of ideas, an intellectual exchange related to the design and management of information technologies in organized human enterprise. In this view, the IS field is a loosely coupled system operating through weak social ties across intellectual communities. A loosely coupled system can operate towards contradictory goals of both plasticity and stability in the search for new research opportunities and generation of valid knowledge. The market of ideas allows reconciliation of rigor and relevance, technical and social, design and explanation. It lowers the barriers of established disciplinary regimes and institutions, and facilitates scholarship in fields where conditions change quickly. It helps to balance exploration and exploitation in an effort to avoid competency traps. Limitations of the metaphor are considered.