Journal of the Association for Information Systems


In this commentary, I respond to Benbasat and Zmud¡¯s (2003) call for a new identity for the IS field. While agreeing with the need for change, I disagree with parts of their portrayal of our new identity and the means for achieving it. I first suggest that identity should be flexible and adaptable rather than inflexible and rigid. A flexible identity can be changed more easily when circumstances require. Second, I caution against promoting our own new identity too vigorously because self-promotion can produce the undesirable image of an insecure field concerned with its reputation. It would be better, in my opinion, to protect past accomplishments while responding to the pragmatic demands of immediate audiences through research that addresses their concerns. Third, we need to heed Benbasat and Zmud¡¯s advice to establish our identity without severing ties with contributing disciplines. Finally, IS should avoid the lure of a dominant paradigm. Despite its potentially galvanizing effect, a dominant paradigm threatens the rich diversity that has characterized IS research since its inception.