Rethinking the Concept of the IS Organization
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Do conceptualizations of the information systems (IS) organization reflect findings from research studying requirements for successfully harnessing information, systems and technology to achieve operational and strategic objectives? This paper addresses this question, reporting on an analysis of articles published in leading academic and practitioner journals. It describes how the IS organization is portrayed in these studies and examines the results of this analysis through a sensitizing lens constructed from research that has studied how organizations generate business value from IS. The lens depicts this objective as a quest to harness knowledge that is distributed enterprise-wide. The analysis suggests that conceptualizations of the IS organization used by researchers do not reflect the requirements for generating business value from information technology that have been identified in the literature. Whilst highlighting that definitions are vague or more often absent, it challenges the dominant orthodoxy of the IS organization as a separate organizational unit suggesting that it is a more pervasive construct. The implications of this conclusion for practice, research and teaching are considered.