The Shaping of the Scandinavian Socio-technical IS Research Tradition: Confessions of an Accomplice

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

291 Downloads (Pure)


This paper relates stories instrumental in shaping the career of an individual and which have also contributed to shaping of the IS field in general and the ‘Scandinavian Socio-Technical (S/T) Information Systems Research Tradition’ in particular. The method in this paper is an autoethnography (Lanamäki, 2015) of Niels Bjørn-Andersen from Copenhagen Business School (CBS), an S/T researcher who started his career in Information Systems at CBS on 1 September 1969, at a time when the IS field for all practical purposes did not exist. It is written as a dialogue that includes both the confessional voice of the autoethnographer and the questioning voice of a younger researcher, the second author, who wants to bridge S/T into the future. The main contributions of this paper are to provide: 1) insights into career development in IS in general and in one of the Scandinavian IS pioneers in particular; 2) a historic account of some of the key events in the early days of S/T IS in Scandinavia; 3) an account of the experiences and the challenges in creating a new research field such as IS; and 4) a summary of Niels’s key learnings hopefully relevant to young and mid-career IS researchers.
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Information Systems
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)79–118
StatusUdgivet - 2017


  • Scandinavian IS research
  • Socio-technical tradition
  • Academic career
  • Autoethnography
  • Historical method