What is OCIS?

This week the OCIS Executive Council held a post-annual meeting conference call. One topic discussed at length was what it means to division activities to be both “OC” (organizational communications) and “IS” (information systems) .  [My understanding is perhaps there was once two divisions, merged together many years ago (?).]

As a gross over-simplification, one way to describe the dynamic is: we are more-so information systems researchers and we are seeking greater involvement (or re-involvement, as the case may be) of (organizational) communications researchers. Certainly, many theories and methods of communications studies are relevant to the phenomenon of greatest interest to many OCIS members. If only both tribes always came to market we’d all enjoy a bigger feast.

Another, perhaps more accurate view, is of a group of researchers who are interested in the overlap of organizational communications with information systems. In this way, the word and means the intersection of instead of the union of. Theories and methods of communications studies are still quite relevant, as are a body of knowledge from information systems literature, but only to the extent that they illuminate the intersection. [And, as a division of the Academy of Management, the phenomenon of interest relates to (and another large body of work to draw from is) management… that part almost goes without saying.] The feast may not be as large, but that right-sized plate of my favorite cuisine sounds more appealing than an over-whelming buffet.

I don’t know, this contrast is rather tidy. Does it make sense to anyone else? How does it fit with your own interests and research approaches?

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Do you have a question about Introducing yourself to the outside world? Or do you want to know more about publishing in top journals? Then this is a place to check out.

It’s the 3rd week of September, another semester is now underway. How is your semester going thus far? Any surprises (good or bad)? What are your major goals for the semester?

Publishing in Top Journals

The Information Systems Society, the INFORMS division affiliated with one of “biggee” Information Systems journals, Information Systems Research (ISR), just published an online newsletter. The interview with Samba (V. Sambamurthy), Editor of ISR includes a question of particular relevance to doctoral students.

As an editor, what advice would you give to doctoral students and people who want to publish in the top information systems journals?

Samba’s answer includes a succinct description of quality research criteria:

In order to publish in the top journals, I would first emphasize care and attention to the choice of research topics and how they are executed. The key criteria for getting research published in a top journal include the significance of the research topic (i.e., why is the topic relevant and important), completeness of the literature review and theoretical development, rigor of the methodology and analysis, and the novelty of the findings. Getting the research right on these criteria requires a significant investment of time in thinking about the phenomenon, paying attention to the details of the research method, and writing the paper in way that is clear, compelling, and interesting.

That all sounds much easier said, than done, doesn’t it!? Thankfully, after describing the destination he illuminates the path: Continue reading

On Being a WordPress Site

Are you wondering how our interactions here are enabled yet constrained by the technology infrastructure of WordPress?

Of course. Who isn’t?

Okay, that isn’t the exact wording of emails in my Inbox.

By popular demand, in this post, I relate user privileges for key features and functions of WordPress. [There, that’s closer to the wording of the email. 🙂 More below the break… ] Continue reading

Progress as a Doctoral Student

One of the challenges of an academic career is the lack of immediate feedback. The knowledge work we are training for–publishing research papers, teaching students–requires long periods of effort with little concrete feedback. Outside of coursework, a doctoral program is similar. And, even then, progress in completing courses is only a small part of progress toward becoming an academic.

I found a helpful article on this subject at the Phd Resources page of AISWorld last week. The article by Prof. Varun Grover first appeared in Decision Line and is entitled “How Am I Doing? Checklist for Doctoral Students at Various Stages of Their Program.”

I like that he includes both a conceptual framework as well as a specific checklist.

“In my observations, students go through four stages, roughly reflecting the four years of typical doctoral study: Exploration, Engagement, Consolidation, and Entry.” (p. 24)

Did you just trying to figure out what stage you’re at, even before hearing the definitions? Maybe the definitions will help. 🙂 Continue reading

Introducing Yourself in the Outside World

Hi fellow students (uh, um, researchers? candidates? professors in training?)

 I don’t know if this is a problem for you, but I have great difficulty introducing myself to people in the outside world, i.e. non-academic situations.  Its not that I’m an introvert, its that I don’t know exactly what it is I do.  I have the same problem with standardized forms that ask for “profession.”

 I realize that I’m a Ph.D. student, but I don’t know how to explain it to others.  I’m not taking classes anymore, and frankly referring to myself as a ‘student’ makes me feel rather worthless and juvenile.  But the trouble comes when I try and branch out.  Imagine you are at your spouse’s summer work barbeque:

 “Hi, I’m Dave.  I’m a Ph.D. student.” – problem: 34 years old, still a student.  No respect.

“Hi, I’m Dave.  I’m a Ph.D. candidate!” – problem: Are you running for office or something?  What’s a candidate?  Is that a job, really?

“Hi, I’m Dave.  I’m a researcher.” – problem: what?  Is that a job?

“Hi, I’m Dave.  I’m a research assistant.” – problem: that’s worse than being a student

“Hi, I’m Dave.  I’m a research apprentice!” Don’t laugh – USC has decided that Ph.D. students are now ‘apprentices’ rather than ‘assistants.’  I keep waiting for Trump to tell me “You’re fired.” – problem: I can’t tell people I’m an apprentice.  That’s definitely worse than being a student.

“Hi, I’m Dave.  I’m a college professor.” problem: Well, I’m not.  But I’m going to be.  I hope.  People understand this.  It is a respected profession.  But you have to back-pedal and explain that you aren’t one yet, but you will be soon, but the market is kind of soft, but you’re ABD and you just have to revise a few chapters,…

“Hi, I’m Dave.  “I’m a Smoke Jumper (or Test Pilot, Americas Cup Racer, Day Trader, Scuba Instructor, etc) but I’m on hiatus while I finish my Ph.D.” This is your best bet.  Lie if you have to, but at least you will have something to talk about. 

 I welcome others’ ideas as to how to introduce yourself.

 isdave, Lion Tamer (on hiatus while he finishes his Ph.D.)