MIS as a discipline has not yet developed a tradition of historical research. Historical analyses broaden our understanding of the processes by which information technology is introduced into organizations and of the forces that shape its use. Paramount among these processes are those Schumpeter called "creative destruction." These are events that change entire organizations and industries. The end product of a Schumpeterian process is called a "dominant design," a new configuration of an organization's technology, strategy, and structure. A dominant design is manifested in several ways: a new organizational infrastructure, new functionality, new products, new services, new production functions, or new cost structures. By changing the basis of competition in the industry, a firm that institutes a dominant design secures an initial competitive edge. Although the understanding of these processes is central to the concerns of many researchers and practitioners in the field, the information systems research literature contains very few examples of historical analyses of this type. A contingency framework is developed for conducting a class of information technology-based historical studies that focuses on innovation and competition within an industry.
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