Affiliated Organization

Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop


As academic scholars in an applied field our central mission is to develop theory that both contributes knowledge to the academic discipline and applies that knowledge to practice. However, our efforts in this regard are being impacted by communication deficits that in turn limit the effectiveness of our theories. The goal of this paper is twofold: a diagnostic one, which reviews the causes of the communication deficits but primarily a therapeutic one whereby we propose a course of treatment for content and presentation issues. While the 'ultimate criterion' for determining the effectiveness of theory is market acceptance this does not prevent us in this paper from putting forward principles, a model, and a method to assist the IS scholar in building effective theory. These tools are derived after considered reflection on the ancient craft and science of map-making. We finish by asking ourselves and our readers whether we need a design science of theory-building.