Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Recently, several scholars have argued that the information system (IS) field needs to reduce its reliance on reference theories and focus on developing “indigenous” theoretical knowledge, suggesting that such a shift may help to increase the independence of the IS discipline. While original IS theory is likely to have larger impacts, the uptake of such ideas may also be more uncertain. To investigate such effects, we conduct a scientometric study on 211 research articles published in the two top IS journals, MISQ and ISR. We investigate the uptake of studies that draw on exploitative (i.e., exploiting existing theories from other disciplines) and explorative (i.e., exploration of new theoretical frameworks within the discipline) knowledge, respectively. We find that explorative knowledge receives, on average, a higher quantity of citations. Over time explorative knowledge manifests a higher variance in citations received. Further, we find that explorative knowledge is more likely to assume more sophisticated conceptions of the IT artifact compared to exploitative knowledge. Last, exploitative knowledge, due to its platform nature, interacts with reputation effects to a greater degree than explorative knowledge. We conclude by providing guidance to both individual researchers as well as to the IS discipline as a whole.





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