Motivation for this research
- We have not sufficiently attempted to examine information and IS prior to the development of a computer.
- This paper argues that looking at historical emergence of information systems helps us find the conceptual foundation of IS.
Define information and IS
- Information: “an input that stimulates recognition in a sensing mechanisms”
- From a biological sense, information is what we sense such as the smell of a food source or the sight of a predator.
- Information system: “a set of entities, shared patterns, and information processing capabilities that support goal attainment.
- Enabling information exchange and processing helped our ancestors attain their goals (survival and prosperity). Such IS include our language, mathematics, morse code, etc.
- a) IS serves the goals of entities, b) IS has a shared pattern of information exchange, c) shared patterns enable cooperation, d) a capability for information processing is required, and e) IS is related to goals whether they are utilitarian, hedonic, etc.
- How IS was developed?
- Task (Skinning beast) creates technology (Proto-knife), and, in turn, creates information systems (Butchering process). In addition, technology and information systems creates tasks.
- Technology and information system combine to enhance task performance.
- IS and IT are distinct concepts. IS is created in collectives in a shared way wheras IT can be purchased or imitated. We should focus on IS.
- Information systems have a long history over 100,000 years.
- e,g,, gesturing – exchange of information; mathematics – manual processing of information; morse code – digitization of information etc.
- Core research questions of IS
- <‘The mission of MIS Quarterly’> The enhancement and communication of knowledge concerning the development of ITbased services, the management of IT resources, and the use, impact, and economics of IT with managerial, organizational, and societal implications. Professional issues affecting the IS field as a whole are also in the purview of the journal.
- This statement seems to focus on IT rather than IS. We have good chances to develop our fields because of powerful and pervasive IS today, but we do not identify clear, critical questions yet contrary to other fields such as biology or finance.
Three propositions as potential core questions for IS research.
- P1: Information systems improve an entity’s ability to attain its goals.
- Information gathered through IS helps goal attainment (enterprises embark on the development and implementation of IS because the additional information gained will enhance organizational goals’ realization.)
- P2: Information systems improve entities’ ability to cooperate on shared goals.
- IS enables coordination and our society has evolved by constantly seeking new kinds of IS. (ants, social insects, utilize its information sharing for cooperation, making them dominant in some ecosystems.)
- P3: Information systems transform entities in intended and unintended ways.
- New IS can spawn diverse destinations which its designers did not anticipate. It is appropriated by users in a way that its designers do not intent (e.g., social media facilitates the 2011 revolution in Tunisia)
- logical connection among P1 – P3
- The capability to use information increase the likelihood of survival (P1), humans become dominant by inventing cooperative IS (P2), and these systems go beyond the solution of initial problems and transforms the society (P3).