Affiliated Organization

Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop


Understanding the benefits individuals derive from information systems (IS) is a long-standing theoretical and practical issue. To address it, a recommended approach is to investigate how individuals use these systems to better achieve their goals. Such an approach can be implemented via focusing on the distinctive object of study of our field, i.e., the information technology (IT) artifact.Hence, this paper is motivated by the lack of existing guidance on how to theorize about IS use when the research intent is to better specify the role of IT artifact design criteria. We provide assistance to scholars in identifying and relating key constructs based on which design-focused system use theories can be developed. To do so, we build on key assumptions and ideas from the Philosophy of Technology about the nature, the use, and the design of technical artifacts. These suggest that a better understanding of the design-related factors involved in the study of IT use and effects can be gained by studying (i) whether designers create IT artifacts that have the potential to support users' goal-oriented actions, and (ii) whether users can exploit these IT artifacts in a way that enables them to reach their goals. Following on these ideas, the paper specifies the key building blocks that could be used by scholars when developing theories explaining the effects derived from using a given class of information systems. It also identifies the key gaps preventing the achievement of users' goals that arise from both (i) the design of IT artifacts for goal-oriented tasks and (ii) the enactment of these artifacts by individuals. Finally, it proposes a series of steps to help researchers theorize about the influence of design-related aspects involved in IT use and IT value.