A Research Agenda for Self-Organizing Ecosystems: The Case for Maritime Informatics

44 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2020

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 30, 2016


Global shipping is a self-organizing ecosystem that is critical to the world economy, a growing generator of carbon emissions, an EU target for digitization, and under-served by IS scholars. The global shipping industry is essential for the global economy, as around 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea. Maritime transportation is the most cost-effective mode of transport. Ocean cargo shipping produced about 840 million metric tons of CO2 in 2007, approximately 2.7% of the total estimated global CO2 emissions for that year Without major changes in technology, policies, and regulation, shipping’s CO2 emissions will grow 2-3 times by 2050. There is a paucity of IS research on the shipping industry, and the need for research has been greatly stimulated the European Union’s funding of a large project to take “maritime transport into the digital age,” to increase shipping’s safety and efficiency and reduce its environmental impact. This research lays the foundations for the creation of Maritime Informatics as a new theme for IS research.

The paper:

(1) presents five questions to guide the development of an IS research agenda for self-organizing ecosystems;

(2) examines the purpose of the shipping ecosystem;

(3) explains why shipping is an ecosystem;

(4) synthesizes prior work on complex adaptive systems to fashion a research agenda for investigating self-organizing ecosystems;

(5) triangulates the proposed research agenda against systems dynamics, object-oriented design, and field observations for demonstrating the validity of the research questions;

(6) concludes with some reflections on the article’s contributions.

Keywords: shipping, self-organizing ecosystem, research agenda, Information systems, maritime informatics

JEL Classification: F15, F18, F60, L90, O32

Suggested Citation

Watson, Richard Thomas and Lind, Mikael, A Research Agenda for Self-Organizing Ecosystems: The Case for Maritime Informatics (December 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2891660 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2891660

Richard Thomas Watson (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Mikael Lind

RISE Viktoria ( email )

Lindholmspiren 3A
Göteborg, 417 56

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