Complexity and Information Systems Research in the Emerging Digital World

MIS Quarterly, 44(1), pp. 1-17.

23 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2020 Last revised: 9 Dec 2020

See all articles by Hind Benbya

Hind Benbya

Deakin University; University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Ning Nan

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business

Hüseyin Tanriverdi

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business

Youngjin Yoo

Independent

Date Written: February 16, 2020

Abstract

Complexity is all around us in this increasingly digital world. Global digital infrastructure, social media, Internet of Things, robotic process automation, digital business platforms, algorithmic decision making, and other digitally enabled networks and ecosystems fuel complexity by fostering hyper-connections and mutual dependencies among human actors, technical artifacts, processes, organizations, and institutions. Complexity affects human agencies and experiences in all dimensions. Individuals and organizations turn to digitally-enabled solutions to cope with the wicked problems arising out of digitalization. In the digital world, complexity and digital solutions present new opportunities and challenges for information systems (IS) research. The purpose of this special issue is to foster the development of new IS theories on the causes, dynamics, and consequences of complexity in increasing digital sociotechnical systems. In this essay, we discuss the key theories and methods of complexity science, and illustrate emerging new IS research challenges and opportunities in complex sociotechnical systems. We also provide an overview of the five articles included in the special issue. These articles illustrate how IS researchers build on theories and methods from complexity science to study wicked problems in the emerging digital world. They also illustrate how IS researchers leverage the uniqueness of the IS context to generate new insights to contribute back to complexity science.

Keywords: Complexity, sociotechnical systems, emergence, coevolution, chaos, scalable dynamics, digitalization

Suggested Citation

Benbya, Hind and Nan, Ning and Tanriverdi, Huseyin and Yoo, Youngjin, Complexity and Information Systems Research in the Emerging Digital World (February 16, 2020). MIS Quarterly, 44(1), pp. 1-17., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3539079

Hind Benbya (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

221, Burwood Highway
Melbourne, VIC 3125
Australia

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Ning Nan

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Sauder School of Business ( email )

2053 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Canada

Huseyin Tanriverdi

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Youngjin Yoo

Independent

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