Journal of the Association for Information Systems


The forthcoming JAIS special issue on “Envisioning Digital Transformation” is predicated on the assumption that theoretical diversity would be a good thing for the IS field. But making sense of theoretical diversity requires either a common frame of reference or crystal clarity about concept definitions and the phenomena to which they point. In this editorial, we argue that the IS field still lacks the conceptual and empirical clarity needed to benefit from theoretical diversity about digital transformation. The digital transformation label has been applied to the evolution of technology, as well as to the evolution of organizations and society. It has been used to refer to change in entities or processes and to processes of change. It has been used to refer to particular technological artifacts and to particular kinds of data and processing power. This type of diversity risks obscuring the value of diverse theoretical formulations. Only through clear distinctions and precise labeling of older and new phenomena can the IS field fully benefit from new theories and theoretical elaborations about digital transformation.





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