State of and Perspectives for IS Strategy Research. A Discussion Paper

Teubner RA, Pellengahr AR

Notwithstanding the substantial overall research efforts in the field of Strategic InformationSystems Planning (SISP), the "IS strategy" as the goal and outcome of SISP has received onlylimited research attention to date. In addition, there is considerable evidence that the debateson IS strategy in academia and practice are largely different and independent from each other.This observation motivates us to look into the existing research on IS strategy and itsrelationship to practice in greater detail. Our analysis reveals that academic conceptions of ISstrategy do not seem to have much in common with how IS strategy practitioners interpret theconstruct. Both worlds seem to have coexisted independently alongside one another for a longtime. This divergence leads to a number of problematic outcomes, not least of which is aconsiderable lack of relevance and acceptance of academic research in practice. Based on anintensive study of IS strategy perceptions in both academia and practice, we make suggestionson how IS strategy research should be reinvented in order that it may produce more reliable aswell as practically useful and relevant insights in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.We concentrate these suggestions in four major propositions: (1) Strategy over Strategizing,demanding to develop an understanding of the construct of IS strategy first before focusing onSISP as the process developing it, (2) Strategy in vivo over Strategy in vitro, demanding todevelop a fresh understanding of the construct of IS strategy by conducting research in the fieldinstead of relying on strategy interpretations that are preconfigured by a small number ofprevailing strategy models and theories, (3) Empiricism over Idealism, demanding that intensivefield research on IS strategy should be conducted starting with deep small-scale explorativestudies aiming at new insights instead of large-scale confirmatory surveys that test pre-existinghypotheses, (4) Sustainability over Competitiveness, demanding to relinquish the academicpredilection for research on competitive aspects of IT in favor of issues that are much morerelevant in practice, such as efficiency, reliability, serviceability and sustainability of a company'sIT-based infrastructure.

IS strategy; Strategic Information Systems (SIS); Strategic Information Systems; Planning (SISP); IS strategy contents; IS strategy reasoning; IS strategy practice

Publication type
Working paper

Peer reviewed

Publication status


Working Papers of the European Research Center for Information Systems

Becker J et al.

Number of pages


Title of series
Working Papers ERCIS – European Research Center for Information Systems