lecture image IT Eminent Lecture Series
Information System as an Organization Function and Academic Discipline: Why it Developed the Way it Did
Dr. Gordon B. Davis
Honeywell Professor of Management Information Systems, Emeritus, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
CEBA 1109
April 14, 2005 - 03:30 pm
The academic field of information systems (or whatever name is used) is about 37 years old, very young relative to accounting, finance, etc. The 37 year age is based on the first formal academic degree program in management information systems at the University of Minnesota in 1968. This degree program was begun 14 years after the first business use of electronic computers and after the explosive growth of business computer use. There was, by that date, the beginning of a new business function to develop, implement, and manage information systems in organizations. In the same year, a new society for information system executives was formed, the Society for Information Management (originally named the Society for Management Information Systems) The domain of the information systems academic field is the use of information and communication technology to provide work systems and deliver information and communication services in organizations. It is differentiated from computer science by the emphasis on the use of the technology in organizations rather than the development of algorithms, operating systems, system software, etc. Information systems as an academic discipline within a university may be in different schools, but a common placement is within business administration. There are problems with that placement, but there are also benefits because of compelling synergies with the other organization disciplines. The introduction into academia of a new academic organization field (even one that is associated with a new organization function) has had some difficulties. Why does the new field sometimes fit uneasily in the traditional boundaries? Why has it developed the way it did? While many organization disciplines have reduced their scope and narrowed the boundaries of accepted research and research methods, information systems as an academic field has increased its scope and widened its boundaries. Some view the broad boundaries with alarm; others view them as natural and appropriate. Two colleagues and I started the Minnesota program and I have been involved in every major event or process in the development of the academic field. The talk is my making sense of the saga of the development of a new academic discipline and explaining why it has developed as it has.
Speaker's Bio:
Dr. Gordon B. Davis is the Honeywell Professor of Management Information Systems Emeritus in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He is often referred to as the "father of the field" for the academic discipline of information systems. In 1967, he and two colleagues at the University of Minnesota started the first formal academic degree program in MIS. Under his leadership, this program achieved a consistent ranking as one of the top programs. He has headed the doctoral program in MIS at Minnesota and has served as advisor, co-advisor, or committee member to over 100 doctoral students. He has lectured in 25 countries with longer term visits in Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Singapore, and the Peoples Republic of China. He has published over 200 articles, monographs and book chapters. His book, Management Information Systems: Conceptual Foundations, Structure, and Development , has been recognized as a classic text in the field. He has published 20 other books with translations in many different languages. His monograph, Writing the Doctoral Dissertation , has been used by more than 60,000 doctoral students. He participated in and helped form most of the academic associations related to the field of management information systems. He helped establish the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the ICIS doctoral consortium, and the international faculty organization, the Association for Information Systems (AIS). From 1982 to 2001, he was the United States representative to the International Federation for Information Processing's Technical Committee 8 on Information Systems. Dr. Davis has also been a member of the Association for Computing Machinery curriculum committees on information systems and an author of its reports. He regularly reviews for the major journals in the field and has been the Publisher for the MIS Quarterly. He has been honored by his colleagues for his contributions. Among these recognitions are ACM Fellow, AIS Fellow, and the AIS LEO award for lifetime achievement in the field of information systems. Dr. Davis earned Bachelor degrees in Political Science and Accounting from Idaho State University and a Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Stanford University. He has honorary doctorates from the University of Lyon, France, University of Zurich, Switzerland and the Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden.
This lecture has a reception.