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


Technology Acquisition Studies

This project examines the processes by which technology is acquired by firms, professions and industries such that new capabilities are obtained (Swanson, 2019). Technology is viewed not as new devices or “stuff,” but rather as what is acquired in the novel use of devices and their affordances. This focus on use is particularly important with digital technologies, where the devices as code and data are often “incomplete by design” (Garud et al., 2008). Studies of digital innovation by professions are targeted as particularly helpful to the understanding of technological change. See also Swanson (2021).


• Swanson, E. B., “Technology as Routine Capability,” MIS Quarterly, 43 (3), 2019, 1007-1024.

• Garud, R., Jain, S., & Tuertscher, P. “Incomplete by Design and Designing for Incompleteness,” Organization Studies, 29 (3), 2008, 351-371.

• Swanson, E. B., “Practice Shift and Digital Innovation in the Time of Covid,” International Conference on Information Systems, Austin, TX, 2021.

Organizing Vision Studies

This project examines organizing visions for innovating with IT (Swanson and Ramiller, 1997). The promulgation of organizing visions typically accompanies technology acquisition. Individual studies examine the careers of particular visions (Wang and Swanson, 2007; Gorgeon and Swanson, 2008). Kim and Miranda (2018) 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.


• 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 examines 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.

Recent Related Work

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

• Culnan, M. J., “Policy to Avoid a Privacy Disaster,” Journal of the AIS, 20 (6), 2019, 1.

• Tarafdar, M., Beath, C. M., & Ross, J. W. “Using AI to Enhance Business Operations,” MIT Sloan Management Review, 60 (4), 2019, 37-44.

• Wang, P., “Connecting the Parts with the Whole: Toward an Information Ecology Theory of Digital Innovation Ecosystems,” MIS Quarterly, 45 (1), 2021, 397-422.

• Swanson, E. B., “When Data Become Infrastructure and Our Lives Depend on It,” European Conference on Information Systems, online, 2021.