Special Issue on: "Design Science as a Research Methodology for Organisational Design and Engineering"
Prof. Laurent Renard and Prof. Martin Cloutier, University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada
Design Science Research (DSR) which finds its origins in the work of Herbert A. Simon (1969) has now become well-established within the IS/IT research community (Rossi et al., 2013). More recently, Hevner and Chatterjee (2010:5) have defined DSR as: “[…] a research paradigm in which a designer answers questions relevant to human problems via the creation of innovative artifacts, thereby contributing new knowledge to the body of scientific evidence. The designed artifacts are both useful and fundamental in understanding the problem.”
The initial DSR contributions to the IS/IT field were published in the 1980s and in the early 1990s (Weber, 1987; Nunamaker et al., 1991; Walls, 1992; March and Smith, 1995). As noted by Hevner et al. (2004), during this inception phase, DSR often was on the ‘fringe’ of the IS/IT mainstream research more typically rooted in the behavioural science paradigm.
However, from the mid-1990s, DSR has progressively acquired an academic legitimacy and was gradually recognised, no longer as a competing approach, but rather, as complementary to the IS/IT field’s behavioural science mainstream (Hevner et al., 2004; Hevner and Chatterjee, 2010). Over the past fifteen years, there has been a significant rise in the number of published work rooted in DSR. Whether theoretical or empirical, these contributions have been disseminated in prominent workshops, conferences, books and refereed journals; including high impact factor IS/IT journals (Kuechler and Vaishnavi, 2008).
Among these contributions, some have focused on the presentation of conceptual frameworks for DSR (Hevner et al., 2004), addressed epistemological issues (Niehaves, 2007; Iivari 2007; Purao, 2013), explored methodological aspects (Peffers and al., 2007; Baskerville, 2008; Sein et al., 2011; Iivari, 2015), proposed broad types of outputs and artefacts produced (March and Smith, 1995; MacKay et al., 2012), focused on the anatomy of design theory (Gregor and Jones, 2007; Kuechler and Vaishnavi, 2008) or guidelines for executing and evaluating DSR outputs (Hevner et al.,2004; Hevner and Chatterjee, 2010; Gregor and Hevner, 2013).
This body of work has contributed to the establishment of the central and common threads in the IS/IT field and constitute the foundations to relevant and rigorous DSR practice. As emphasised by Rossi et al. (2013), DSR has now become part of the mainstream, that is, it has become assimilated to “normal science” in IS/IT.
Even though a tremendous amount of work has been accomplished in DSR as a research field in IS/IT, a host of questions have remained unanswered. Specifically, some of these include: the ontological nature and epistemological foundations of DSR, the types of research contributions deemed possible in DSR, the methodological foundation of DSR, the creation of knowledge in DSR, and the range of possible practices in various application fields using of DSR.
This special issue is devoted to research aimed at understanding the implications of the DSR both as a topic for investigation and as a method of investigation (methodology) or paradigm in IS/IT (Kuechler and Waishnavi, 2008) with implications for organisational design and engineering.
We welcome contributions which address IS/IT organisational design issues from a design science perspective, whether conceptual, theoretical or empirical. Contributions to this IJODE special issue may take a range of forms (e.g., case studies, action-research, intervention-research, grounded theory, statistical analysis, pedagogical approaches, and simulation studies), may focus on different units and levels of analysis, and may employ quantitative, qualitative, or mixed research approaches.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The ontological and epistemological nature of DSR. What DSR is and what DSR is not? What are application fields? Is DSR a research method, a research methodology or a research paradigm?
- What form should contributions of DSR take? In particular, this question concerns the nature of artefacts which could be developed and evaluated, and regarding the place of theory. Some questions include: What is an artefact? Are they reducible to concepts/constructs, models, methods, or instantiations? What is a 'viable' artefact in a research? Should the research necessarily produce new theoretical proposition or simply delve within the existing stock of theoretical constructs, propositions, and theories?
- DSR methodological process and distinctive characteristics. What are the common bases and differences with other types of methodological research, such as action-research or research-intervention? What is the place of the evaluation process in DSR? What are the methods or techniques appropriate in the evaluation of DSR?
- Knowledge creation in DSR. What are the knowledge creation process and mechanisms in DSR? What types of knowledge are created in DSR? What are the distinctive DSR practices? What competences should researchers have in DSR? How can DSR favour, enhance, and support creativity? How is it possible to collaborate in DSR?
- DSR in organisation design and engineering. How is the dominant organisation design paradigm affected by DSR? How much "design" is there in current conceptions of organisation design? Can DSR serve as the much needed bridge between organisation design and organisation engineering?
- Other DSR application fields. What are possible application fields in DSR? Do these fields cover the same territories and cross the same boundaries in IS/IT research as is found in the behavioural science paradigm?
Notes for Prospective Authors
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).
All papers are refereed through a peer review process.
All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.
Submission deadline: 15 October, 2015
Reviews: 15 December, 2015
Final version due: 15 February, 2016