Contribution Complete Research Paper
Fürstenberghaus - F234
19 - Advancing Theories and Theorizing in IS Research
Towards Theorising Information Systems from a Neurobiological Perspective
In spite of more than 25 years of research, the nature of Information Systems (ISs) remains elusive. To this end, a new conceptualization of ISs from a neurobiological perspective is proposed. ISs are seen as instruments for action, which in turn requires coordination. We posit that the phylogenetic evolution has endowed humans with a neurobiological substrate enabling coordination. The construct of activity modalities – objectivation, contextualization, spatialization, temporalization, stabilization, and transition – is introduced as inherent factors in this substrate. These modalities provide an analytical link for integrating the neural and social realms; thus enabling IS conceptualization as a dialectical relationship between coordinative, individual brain structures and the IT artefact. Consequently, the IS is seen as intrinsically related to the individual. We exemplify implications for the IS discipline by discussing how the concept of sociomateriality can be articulated from the neurobiological perspective. As a result, the “individual” is to put on equal theoretical footing as the “social” and “material”, thus providing a way to disentangle the problematic conflation of the “social” and the “human” in sociomaterial contributions. In conclusion, we claim that the neurobiological approach opens up for hitherto untrodden paths to advance the IS discipline.