Past and Future of Information System. ISS

A tribute to Niels Bjørn-Andersen

Edited by Kim Viborg Andersen Morten Thanning Vendelø

Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann


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Past and Future of Information System

About the editors
Kim Viborg Andersen: Copenhagen Business School
Kim Viborg Andersen is Professor within organizational and policy
aspects of IT at the Copenhagen Business School. Kim has conducted
Danish and international empirical studies within his research fields.
His book publications include Public Sector Process Reengineering (Kluwer,
2004), EDI and Data Networking in the Public Sector (Kluwer, 1998) and
Information Systems in the Public Service (IOS Press, 1995) and various
journal contributions including Information Society, European Journal of
Information Systems, Social Science Computer Review, Information
Communication and Society, and CAIS.

Dr Andersen is co-chair of the IFIP 8.4 WG on interdisciplinary ebusiness
and in various editorial boards. He is head of the Center for
Research on Information Technology in Policy Settings (CIPS) at the
Copenhagen Business School ( Also, he has served as
study director for the MSc e-commerce degree ( at the IT
University in Denmark (
Kim Viborg Andersen can be contacted via:
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Informatics,
60 Howitzvej, DK – 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: +45 3815 2400
Fax: +45 3815 2401

Morten Thanning Vendelø: Copenhagen Business School
Associate Professor Morten Thanning Vendelø is Head of Department at
the Department of Informatics. His research interests include IT
entrepreneurship, software reuse, knowledge networks and knowledge
sharing, organizational learning and adaptation, and economics and
sociology of reputation. He has studied the management and
organization of software companies in Denmark and the US for
approximately 10 years.

Over the years he has been a frequent visitor in the Silicon Valley,
e.g. in 1998 he was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Stanford University.
His research is published in journals, such as International Journal of
Technology Management and International Studies of Management and
Organization, in edited volumes and has been presented at many
international conferences.
Morten Thanning Vendelø may be contacted via:
Copenhagen Business School,
Department of Informatics, 60 Howitzvej,
DK – 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: +45 3815 2400
Fax: +45 3815 2401


The academic discipline of information systems is the newest field
within the broad field of management or economic sciences. This field
developed almost from its very beginnings as an international
community of scholars. Niels Bjørn-Andersen has played vital roles in
nurturing the international discipline of information systems. I count
him on the short list of the 25 most important founders of the field. It is
appropriate to honour his contributions on this occasion.

I have been fortunate to have been a part of many of the
developments that helped the formation of an international community
of information systems scholars. Niels participated in most of these
developments. I will focus on some important events where I observed
Niels personally or was aware of his activities. A list of some important
events will position Niel’s work within the context of events in
information systems in organizations.

1954 First business use of computers (in the UK and the United States)
1958 Important speculation of importance to business of computers in
Harvard Business Review
1960 Founding of International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP)
1965 Börje Langefors appointed in Sweden as professor in Information
Processing, with special emphasis on 
Administrative Data Processing.
1968 First formal MIS academic degree programs in the United States
(M.S. and Ph.D.) at University of Minnesota.
1968 Establishment of organization for information system executives
(CIOs); first called Society for Management Information Systems
and now Society for Information Management (SIM)
1976 Establishment of IFIP technical committee on information systems (TC8)
1980 First International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)
1994 Formation of Association for Information Systems (AIS) as an
international academic organization with an international
governance structure. Merger in 2001 with ICIS as world
conference for AIS. Alliances with regional conferences in Europe,
Asia, and America (ECIS, PACIS, and AMCIS).

Computer science emerged during the formative years of electronic
computing in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Information systems came
a bit later. There was an 11-year delay before the first professorship in
administrative data processing and a 14-year delay before the first
formal academic program in management information systems in the
United States. Many academics were working on problems related to
information systems in organizations; the delay was in recognizing
information systems as a separate academic field. This is shown in the
fact that IFIP was formed in 1968 but its Technical Committee 8 on
information systems was not formed until 1976.

There was a time delay between the introduction of computers into
organizations for data processing and the recognition by industry that
there needed to be a new organization function to manage the design,
development, implementation, and operation of the systems. That
industry recognition happened about the same time as the recognition
by academics that there were interesting, important research issues in
information systems. Many of the early academic leaders in the field of
information systems had diverse backgrounds, leading to a rich
academic field with a variety of underlying disciplines and research
methods. Niels’ career starts as a systems analyst (1967–1969) during
the period when Langefors was starting his professorship, Minnesota
was formalizing information systems degree programs, and CIOs were
organizing themselves. Finishing he doctorate in 1973, he rose to the
challenge of developing the field. Four especially important
contributions were with development of international organizations for
the field: IFIP, ICIS, ECIS, and AIS.

When IFIP established the technical committee (TC8) in 1976, Niels
was appointed the Danish representative to TC8 and served for 17 years.
He has been very active in TC8 working groups, especially WG8.2 on
organizations and information systems. He sponsored and helped
organize conferences for TC8 and for WG8.2. He was program chair for
a conference on information systems assessment in The Netherlands in
1986 and a conference in India on information systems in developing
countries in 1988. These working groups brought together scholars
from around the world. One conference that was very significant in
building a community of scholars was the IFIP WG8.2 1984 Manchester
Conference on information systems research methods (E. Mumford, R.
Hirschheim, G. Fitzgerald, and T. Wood-Harper, eds, Research Methods
in Information Systems, North Holland, Amsterdam, 1985). This
conference was a landmark, and Niels was an important contributor.

The reason I count this conference as very important is its role in
opening up the discussion of different research paradigms. Most of the
researchers in North America at that time tended to emphasize a
positivist approach to research with experiments, surveys, hypothesis
testing, and so forth. Many of the Europeans were doing post-positivist,
interpretive research. The conference opened the minds of many of the
conferees and helped open the field of information systems to a variety
of research paradigms. There will be a second Manchester conference in
2004 to mark 20 years of research in the field.

The second important development in the organization of an
international field was the formation of the International Conference on
Information Systems (ICIS). Early researchers in information systems
had disciplines to which they belonged. There was no general, wellaccepted,
high quality information systems conference. The first
conference was held in 1980, and it rapidly developed in scope and
quality. Niels brought ICIS to Europe in Copenhagen in 1990 and
established ICIS as a world conference. It has been held four times
outside North America in the past eight years. A major feature is a high
quality, invitational doctoral consortium with a mix of doctoral
students from different countries. Niels was honoured by being
appointed to doctoral consortium faculty for the 1986 ICIS and
chairman of the consortium faculty in 1992.

Niels assisted in building a third organization, the European
Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). Niels had sponsored
activities to bring together academic researchers in Europe, such as his
preparation of a directory for information systems faculty in Europe.
Although ICIS was clearly a success as an international conference,
Niels and others saw the need for regional conferences of similar scope.
The result was the formation of ECIS. Niels was the general conference
chair for ECIS in 1998.

The fourth event in the organization of the field was the formation of
the Association for Information Systems (AIS). From the time of the first
ICIS in 1980, there had been discussion of a new international
organization devoted exclusively to the academic field of information
systems. The Association for Information Systems was established in
1995 with Bill King as its first president. The governance structure was
designed to create a truly international organization. The position of
president rotates among three regions, and all presidents have been
leaders in the field. Niels was the second president (1996). AIS has
grown to include close to 50 percent of faculty members worldwide. It
has helped the field to concentrate and rationalize many of its resources.
AIS honoured Niels as an AIS Fellow.

Although I have focused on Niels’ contributions to the organization
of the academic discipline, he has been very active in research, in the
journal system as member of editorial boards of major journals and as
Associate Editor for the MIS Quarterly, in doctoral advising and
examinations, research boards, and advisory editorships. He has
published much in a broad range of journals. He is an international
scholar and moves freely among nations. His visiting appointments have
included England, France, Sweden, Finland, USA, and Australia.
Niels has been a vital part of a very interesting saga of development
of an international academic discipline of information systems. If one
starts counting the emergence of the field from the appointment of
Langefors in 1965, then the new field is only 39 years old. Niels has been
part of its development for 35 of those years (counting from his research
scholarship in 1969). His has been an outstanding career of scholarship
and service. He has done all this with a pleasant personality, good
humour, and collegiality. I am pleased to be able to extend my best
wishes on Niels’ 60th birthday and to express my appreciation for his
Gordon B. Davis
University of Minnesota


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Product details
 File Size
 3,114 KB
 285 p
 File Type
 PDF format
 0 7506 61410
 2004, Elsevier Ltd 

Table of Contents
Preface vii
Gordon B. Davis

1 Introduction: adventuring into the past and the future 1
Kim Viborg Andersen and Morten Thanning Vendelø
2 Prototypes are not pilots (and vice versa): reflecting on a 25 year old idea 7
Michael J. Earl
3 Piloting socio-technical innovations 13
Helmut Krcmar and Tilo Böhmann
4 Forming a contingent, multi-disciplinary and ethical approach to IS development 29
David Avison, Richard Vidgen and Trevor Wood-Harper
5 Analysis and design of information systems: a knowledge quality perspective 43
Salvatore Belardo, Donald P. Ballou and Harold L. Pazer
6 Why stuff happens: explaining the unintended consequences of using IT 61
M. Lynne Markus and Daniel Robey
7 ERP manuscripts of accounting and information systems 95
Niels Dechow and Jan Mouritsen
8 Technology and the design of work revisited 111
Jon A. Turner
9 Are ‘human factors’ human re-visited 123
Ken D. Eason
10 ‘Human-centred’ computing: a new perspective? 137
Liam J. Bannon
11 The study of information technology in developing countries 149
Chrisanthi Avgerou
12 Growth-nodes in a knowledge-based Europe: a research roadmap 163
Ramon O’Callaghan
13 Knowledge-as-relation: an IT outlook on the future of academic institutions 203
Lars Mathiassen
References 217
About the authors 259
About the editors 271
Index 273


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