Information Systems and Digitalization (INDIG)

The department for Information Systems and Digitization studies, teaches and contributes to the digitization of society.

Our society is constantly changing, and digital technologies and systems play an increasingly significant role in that change. As researchers in the subject area of information systems, we follow and influence this development by developing new knowledge and understanding of digitalization and its conditions, meanings, values, and consequences in individual, organizational and societal contexts. Our research is conducted in close collaboration with the people and organizations we study, and we are interested in issues related to management of digitalization initiatives, as well as design, development, implementation, and use of digital resources and systems in various contexts.

Education

We offer undergraduate and graduate education in Information Systems. We are highly involved in the Bachelor Programme in Information Systems Analysis and Master Programme in IT and Management. Our courses are built on classical theories about Information Systems as well as recent research in the field and contemporary challenges from the field. 

Programmes

  • Bachelor Programme in Information Systems Analysis, 180 credits
  • Master Programme in IT and Management, 120 credits
  • Doctoral Programme in Informations Systems

For further information about the programmes please contact:
Johanna Sefyrin, Head of Division.

Research

The history of our research group began in 1991, when more extensive research in information systems started at LiU. At that time, we also started postgraduate education in our subject. So far, about 30 doctors and 50 licentiates have graduated from our group. Many of these graduates have achieved prominent positions at various universities as well as in public administration and in the private sector. Research and postgraduate education were initially organized and conducted within the so-called The VITS network (1991-ca 2015). Many teachers and researchers from other higher education institutions who then lacked their own doctoral education joined this network to undergo doctoral education and conduct research. The interest in information systems has increased steadily over the years and today many higher education institutions in Sweden now have postgraduate education in the subject.

Today, our research group at the Division of Information Systems and Digitalization mainly conducts studies that aim to understand the conditions for and consequences of digitalization in society. We also research how digitalization projects should be managed, coordinated, and implemented to achieve desired results, and how this type of development affects people's work and everyday life. Our research is conducted in close collaboration with the people and businesses we study. We also have extensive experience of developing and refining qualitative and practice-based research methods for studying digitalization, its conditions, and consequences.

We often participate as experts in various contexts and our research is published continuously in well-known peer-reviewed scientific journals and conferences. We also actively contribute to the development of the subject area nationally. For example, through our participation in the Swedish Information Systems Academy (SISA), we have made important contributions to the formulation of quality criteria for doctoral dissertations and a shared subject definition.

For us, it is important that our research results are used in practice. In addition to collaborating with practitioners and organizations through our research, we often lecture to practitioners and the general public. If you want to know more about our research or you are organizing an event where we can contribute with our knowledge - feel free to contact us!


Research areas

Use and consequenses of digital processes, services and infrastructures

In our research, there is a strong focus on the use and consequences of digital processes, services, and infrastructures. We study the use of digital technologies and systems and their consequences for individuals, organizations, and societies. The consequences that digital technology entail can be planned, but there are often unforeseen and unplanned changes and consequences of digitalization as well. This interests us, and we study how digital technologies and systems are used, and what consequences the use of technology bring for people's ability to get things done, as well as their work environment and well-being.

We study and problematize the use and consequences of digitalization in many different contexts. Many of the researchers in our group are particularly interested in the public sector's use of digital processes, services, and infrastructures. Public organizations at the state, regional, and municipal level are currently working hard to realize Sweden's digitalization strategy: to harness the opportunities of digitalization in order to build a sustainable digitalized Sweden. This ongoing development is often referred to as e-government, or digital government, and includes development projects and digital technology of various kinds. This may, for example, be about facilitating the handling of information, increasing the sharing and use of public data, and creating conditions for various actors to participate in decision-making processes in public administration. It can also be about digitalization and automation of workflows, as well as the development and use of e-services for citizens and companies. We also study how public organizations, in collaboration with the energy sector, work to create digital services that citizens can use to achieve more sustainable energy consumption. We are interested in this ongoing development and want to actively contribute to the development by generating new and practically grounded knowledge about the public sector's digital transformation.

We are also interested in the challenges that digitalization can create for individuals, organizations, and societies - such as digital exclusion, shortcomings in the digital work environment and sustainability problems that arise with increased digitalization. In our research, we are particularly interested in

  • Organizations’ use of digital technologies and systems
  • Consequences of digitalization for different stakeholders and professions
  • How the introduction of digital technologies and systems affects work content and work environment
  • Digital divides and exclusion
  • What values are realized through digitalization, and for whom
  • The relationship between policy and practice


Digitalization through management, governance, collaboration and design 

We study digitalization processes with a special focus on sustainable community building and urban planning. Both digitalization and community building can be seen as wicked problems, i.e. problems that involve a high level of complexity and are difficult to solve. This type of problem must be recurrently addressed and managed through suitable organization, joint knowledge development, and collaboration. We therefore develop knowledge of how we can arrange and coordinate work in and between organizations to achieve digitalization.

Digital resources are embedded in working procedures and encapsulated in technology, and are used by individuals and organizations, which means that society is transformed. In order to better understand digitalization, we therefore build on established knowledge of management and governance of societies, organizations and individuals. We explore forms of governance such as portfolio management, design of capabilities and other management concepts that travel between the private and public sectors.

Smart societies are about meeting the needs of individuals and organizations by providing sustainable services and administration. To achieve this, collaboration between authorities, municipalities, companies, and civil society is required. Collaboration is about working towards mutually agreed goals and is influenced by various aspects, such as how involvement takes place and about what, as well as how joint commitment is created, organized, led, and controlled. We therefore develop knowledge about digitalization as a collective societal achievement.

Digital design is not just about designing different types of IT systems and digital resources, but also about designing usage situations and business processes. Design work is affected by many factors. In our research on design, we are particularly interested in

  • The basic characteristics of the work-practice and perceived problems in the work-practice
  • How the existing digital environment frames design
  • Available digital technologies and development methods
  • Visions, target images, and ideas regarding current work-practices and available technologies
  • The roles and skills of different stakeholders as well as their possibilities to influence the design process



Qualitative research methodology and practice research   

Digitalization of society comprises many aspects, e.g., technology intertwined with work procedures, division of responsibilities within and between organizations, conflicting goals and values, complex regulations and linguistic challenges when communication takes place via digital resources. This often forms an elusive matter to study, as different aspects are intertwined and form complex patterns. To uncover and clarify such empirical complexity, scientific methods are needed that make it possible to understand what is what. Our research is therefore conducted primarily through the application of qualitative research methodology where we work with proximity to empirical cases.

Our strong interest in qualitative research has made this a special research theme for us. Together, we apply and contribute to a broad arsenal of methods that includes different research strategies, data collection techniques, analysis methods and reporting formats. According to the interpretive research tradition, data generation and analysis takes place through an open interpretation of existing empirical meanings and through bestowed interpretation, where researchers create new concepts and new understanding. According to the pragmatic research tradition, the development of knowledge is driven by an effort to improve practice and with a movement from problematic to clarified situations.

Knowledge development within a qualitative tradition often takes place through empirical-based generation of concepts and theories. By abductive knowledge development, this also involves the use and integration of existing theories.

With regard to strategies for qualitative research, we have a special interest in case studies and different variants of practice research. In practical inquiry research, people often work close to a "local practice". This can be done through in-depth studies and different types of collaboration with this local practice. In practice research, one works consciously towards different types of target groups and knowledge contributions:

  • General knowledge contributions to the scientific community.
  • Contribution to local practice.
  • General knowledge contributions to the practice field.


Local practice-contributions can be of different types:

  • Description and clarification of the local practice with "mirroring" and improved understanding as feedback.
  • Evaluation of problems and strengths in local practice with diagnostic feedback.
  • Development of methods and models for use in practice (method-oriented design research).
  • Design of IT artifacts for use in practice (digital design research).
  • Participation in concrete change work through action research

Research Programme

Cooperation

Frank Bannister at the EGOV conference 2022.
Frank Bannister at the EGOV conference 2022.

As part of our research, we collaborate with external actors from various sectors. We disseminate our research results through various types of activities, such as workshops, seminars, popular science publishing, videos, podcasts, participation in panels and roundtable discussions.

Private companies and public sector organizations are represented in our education and teaching, through e.g., guest lectures and by providing students with internships. We have an advisory board for our educational programs, in which external actors from both private and public organizations are represented. This helps to ensure the practical relevance of our courses and educational programs.

We collaborate with other researchers, both nationally and internationally. For example, we are active in the Swedish Information Systems Academy (SISA, http://sisa-org.se), as well as in the organization of several international workshops and conferences on information systems and digitalization.

Publication list

2022

News

Contact us

General Information and Contact for Students

Visiting Address

Division of Information Systems and Digitalisation
Hans Meijers väg
A Building, entrance 17-19, ground floor
Campus Valla
Linköping, Sweden

Postal Address

Linköping University

Department of Management and Engineering
Division of Information Systems and Digitalisation
SE-581 83 Linköping
Sweden

Organisation