Third, there is the continuing problem of technology versus behavior. I myself am a behavioral IS researcher. I have come to appreciate the gravity of the problem of “technology vs. behavior” from some colleagues who are technological IS researchers. They have told me that they feel excluded by what (they describe as) an IS research world where the focus on behavior, management, and organization has squeezed out attention to technology. As evidence, they correctly cite what they see as the difficulty or impossibility of publishing their research in MIS Quarterly. And along the same lines, when we look at the recent 1999 meeting of ICIS (the International Conference on Information Systems), the program chairs felt it was necessary to make an explicit call for technological papers to be submitted. I interpret this to have been a remedial action that, in itself, was a sign of the diminished role to which technology has been relegated in IS research.
The problem of “technology vs. behavior” is a dilemma in the following
way. If we take a technology approach to IS, then how would we be
different from engineering and computer science? But if we take a
behavioral approach to IS, then how would we be doing research that any
behavioral field could not already do?