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The Information Systems Research Program (ISRP) promotes and conducts research on information systems (IS) and the advancement of human practices. It takes a view that extends beyond the traditional IS functional practice in support of business, to examine how IS support organizations and the work and everyday practices of people throughout the world.

The ISRP has a particular interest in IS and technological change through innovation. It seeks to shed light on how new technology emerges, develops and often sweeps across industries and countries to transform practices.

The ISRP also addresses the social issues and policy ramifications of IS and technological change. It joins with others in examining the future of work, as well as problems with informational integrity and privacy. It considers how IS can make the world a better place.

The ISRP has several ongoing research projects. It further calls attention to recent related research that contributes to its broader mission.

Ongoing Projects

Organizing Vision Studies

This project seeks to further the understanding of organizing visions for innovating with IT (Swanson and Ramiller, 1997). Individual studies examine the careers of particular visions — some successful, some not — as illustrated in the case of professional services automation (Wang and Swanson, 2007) or in the case of web 2.0, as reflected in the history of its Wikipedia entry, interpreted as a discourse vehicle (Gorgeon and Swanson, 2008). Kim and Miranda (2018) have recently reviewed 45 organizing vision studies conducted since the inception of the concept more than 20 years ago. Swanson (2012) draws some lessons from the studies for practitioners (see here).


• Swanson, E. B., and Ramiller, N. C., "The Organizing Vision in Information Systems Innovation," Organization Science 8 (5), 1997, 458-474.

• Wang, P., and Swanson, E. B., "Launching Professional Service Automation: Institutional Entrepreneurship for Information Technology Innovations," Information and Organization 17, 2007, 59-88.

• Gorgeon, A., and Swanson, E. B., "Web 2.0 According to Wikipedia: Capturing an Organizing Vision," Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 62 (10), 2011, 1916-1932.

• Swanson, E. B., “The Managers Guide to IT Innovation Waves,” Sloan Management Review, 53(2), 2012, 75.

• Kim, I., and Miranda, S., "20 Years Old but Still a Teenager? A Review of Organizing Vision Theory and Suggested Directions," PACIS 2018 Proceedings. 23, 2018.

Assimilation Studies

When firms innovate with new IT, they must ultimately assimilate the IT in their work practices so that they gain new capabilities and value from it. This project seeks to understand the associated organizational learning process (Swanson, 2004). Individual studies examine specific cases, as illustrated in one firm's attempt to assimilate a new customer relationship management (CRM) system among workers across multiple sites (Yamauchi and Swanson, 2010).


• Swanson, E. B., " How Is an IT Innovation Assimilated?," in Fitzgerald, B. and Wynn, E. (Eds.), IT Innovation for Adaptability and Competitiveness, Kluwer, 2004, 267-287.

• Yamauchi, Y., and Swanson, E. B., " Local Assimilation of an Enterprise System: Situated Learning by Means of Familiarity Pockets," Information and Organization 20, 2010, 187-206.

Foundations Studies

This project examines the foundations of IS in theory and practice. One study suggests that interaction is a foundational concept for theorizing a firm's need for IS (Swanson, 2007, 2012). Another study examines IS as a form of technology more broadly and suggests that innovative change occurs through modes of design, execution, diffusion and shift in practices (Swanson, 2019).


• Swanson, E. B., "Why Do Firms Have Information Systems?," Americas Conference on Information Systems, Keystone, Colorado, August, 2007.

• Swanson, E. B., "Who Learns What from the New Human-Computer Interaction: Toward a New Perspective," Americas Conference on Information Systems, Seattle, August, 2012.

• Swanson, E. B., “Technology as Routine Capability,” MIS Quarterly, 43 (3), 2019, in print.

Recent Related Work

• Swanson, E. B., "How Does New Technology Change the Nature of Work?", Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on the Changing Nature of Work, Dublin, 2016.

• Culnan, M. J., “Policy to Avoid a Privacy Disaster,” Journal of the AIS, forthcoming.

• Wang, P., “Theorizing Digital Innovation Ecosystems: A Multilevel Ecological Framework,” European Conference on Information Systems, Stockholm, 2019.