How does Grounded Theory Methodology contribute to Information Systems research?

A recent article by Manuel Wiesche, Marlen Jurisch, Philip Yetton, and Helmut Krcmar published in MIS Quarterly, one of the most prestigious journals in the Information Systems (IS) discipline, sheds light on the use of Grounded Theory Methodology in IS research.

IS research is among various disciplines that have applied and adapted Grounded Theory Methodology, a famous qualitative research method developed in the 1960s by the American sociologists Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss. Grounded Theory Methodology leverages the richness of qualitative data and is sought to help understand complex phenomena better, such as the interplay of IT, organizations, and individuals.

To analyze the impact of Grounded Theory Methodology on IS research, the group from the Chair for Information Systems at the Technical University of Munich and the Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics at the Deakin University, Australia analyzed 43 articles published in high-ranking IS journals that use the methodology. The authors show that researchers mostly use partial portfolios of the methodology’s procedures, yielding different types of contributions to IS research. The more procedures authors used, the higher the probability was that a theory emerged from their work. However, also partial portfolios of the methodology’s procedures yield useful contributions such as models or rich descriptions of phenomena. This overview helps researchers to better understand when to use the methodology and how tailor it to the context they are working in.

In this video the authors provide further insights in their work. The paper is openly accessible at MIS Quarterly.