There is an abundance of theories about the organizational impact of information technology — but an odd lack of consensus, given the extraordinary attention this subject receives. Researchers at MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research recently attempted to refocus the issue, and in this article they describe the results of their investigation. They looked at the major theoretical approaches that have been propounded and found that each contributed something important, but that none was sufficient by itself. The authors synthesize the various schools of thought — and the results of their own research — by arguing that IT’s most important role is allowing firms to manage organizational interdependence.
The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of colleagues Christine V. Bullen, J. Debra Hofman, and John C. Henderson, Center for Information Systems Research, MIT Sloan School of Management, to the research on which this article is based.