Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 20 Number 1 2003 pp. 13-50

Organizing Visions for Information Technology and the Information Systems Executive Response

Ramiller, Neil C and Swanson, E Burton

ABSTRACT: Making sense of new information technology (IT) and the many buzzwords associated with it is by no means an easy task for executives. Yet doing so is crucial to making good innovation decisions. This paper examines how information systems (IS) executives respond to what has been termed organizing visions for IT, grand ideas for applying IT, the presence of which is typically announced by much "buzz" and hyperbole. Developed and promulgated in the wider interorganizational community, organizing visions play a central role in driving the innovation adoption and diffusion process. Familiar and recent examples include electronic commerce, data warehousing, and enterprise systems. A key aspect of an organizing vision is that it has a career. That is, even as it helps shape how IS managers think about the future of application and practice in their field, the organizing vision undertakes its own struggle to achieve ascendancy in the community. The present research explores this struggle, specifically probing how IS executives respond to visions that are in different career stages. Employing field interviews and a survey, the study identifies four dimensions of executive response focusing on a vision's interpretability, plausibility, importance, and discontinuity. Taking a comparative approach, the study offers several grounded conjectures concerning the career dynamics of organizing visions. For the IS executive, the findings help point the way to a more proactive, systematic, and critical stance toward innovations that can place the executive in a better position to make informed adoption decisions. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER] Copyright of Journal of Management Information Systems is the property of M.E. Sharpe Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Key words and phrases: information systems management, information technology innovation, innovation diffusion, institutional theory, sense making