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An Historically-Grounded Critical Analysis of Research Articles in MIS

  • François-Xavier De Vaujany


    (Management & Organisation - DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)

  • Isabelle Walsh

    (Humanis - Humanis - Humans and Management in Society - Université de Strasbourg)

  • Nathalie Mitev

    (ISIG - Departement of information systems - LSE - London School of Economics)

In order to explore scientific writing in Information Systems (IS) journals, we adopt a combination of historical and rhetorical approaches. We first investigate the history of universities, business schools, learned societies and scientific articles. This perspective allows us to capture the legacy of scientific writing standards, which emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. Then, we focus on two leading IS journals (EJIS and MISQ). An historical analysis of both outlets is carried out, based on data related to their creation, evolution of editorial statements, and key epistemological and methodological aspects. We also focus on argumentative strategies found in a sample of 436 abstracts from both journals. Three main logical anchorages (sometimes combined) are identified, and related to three argumentative strategies: 'deepening of knowledge', 'solving an enigma' and 'addressing a practical managerial issue'. We relate these writing norms to historical imprints of management and business studies, in particular: enigmafocused rhetorics, interest in institutionalized literature, neglect for managerially grounded rhetoric and lack of reflexivity in scientific writing. We explain this relation as a quest for academic legitimacy. Lastly, some suggestions are offered to address the discrepancies between these writing norms and more recent epistemological and theoretical stances adopted by IS researchers.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00644398.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00644398
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  1. Glenn Ellison, 2000. "Evolving Standards for Academic Publishing: A q-r Theory," NBER Working Papers 7805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. D. H. Whitehead, 1977. "Comment," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 1(56), pages 35-38, October.
  3. D. W. Stammer, 1977. "Comment," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 1(53), pages 12-14, 01.
  4. Vincent Mangematin & Charles Baden-Fuller, 2007. "Global Contests in the Production of Business Knowledge :," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00422658, HAL.
  5. Pippa Carter & Norman Jackson, 2004. "For the Sake of Argument: Towards an Understanding of Rhetoric as Process," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 469-491, 05.
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