Alongside the emergence of new technologies and management trends, new concepts such as Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity appear. Once introduced, scholars debate these concepts’ definitions. Often, a uniform definition remains elusive in these debates but several different - sometimes conflicting - definitions result. In this short paper, we take a philosophical perspective to concept defining and ask why is it that we end up in these situations where a plurality of definitions exists? We outline two perspectives to concept defining: 1) concept-discovery; and 2) concept-making. We argue that concept defining is largely ill-conceived as an activity of concept-discovery according to which concepts are mirrors of the outside world. In contrast, we argue that viewing concept defining as an act of concept-making will sensitize IS researchers on the practices and processes which make concepts and their ethical as well as political implications.
Niemimaa, Marko and Zimmer, Markus Philipp, "Are We Discovering or Making Concepts? Performativity in Concept Defining" (2022). PACIS 2022 Proceedings. 97.
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