Digital First: The Ontological Reversal and New Challenges for IS Research

MIS Quarterly, 44, 2, 509-523. DOI:10.25300/MISQ/2020/14418

The University of Auckland Business School Research Paper

Posted: 5 Aug 2021

See all articles by Richard Baskerville

Richard Baskerville

Georgia State University

Michael David Myers

University of Auckland Business School

Youngjin Yoo

Independent; Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

The classical view of an information system is that it represents and reflects physical reality. We suggest this classical view is increasingly obsolete: digital technologies are now creating and shaping physical reality. We call this phenomenon the ontological reversal. The ontological reversal is where the digital version is created first, and the physical version second (if needed). This ontological reversal challenges us to think about the role of humans and technology in society. It also challenges us to think about our role as IS scholars in this digital world and what it means for our research agendas.

Keywords: Digital, digital ecosystems, ontology, ontological reversal, human experience, human values

Suggested Citation

Baskerville, Richard and Myers, Michael David and Yoo, Youngjin, Digital First: The Ontological Reversal and New Challenges for IS Research (2020). MIS Quarterly, 44, 2, 509-523. DOI:10.25300/MISQ/2020/14418, The University of Auckland Business School Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3896273

Richard Baskerville

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Michael David Myers (Contact Author)

University of Auckland Business School ( email )

12 Grafton Rd
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, 1010
New Zealand

HOME PAGE: http://www.qual.auckland.ac.nz/MDMyers

Youngjin Yoo

Independent

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management ( email )

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