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Information Systems

Information Systems (IS) research examines the design, implementation, use and value creation of digital technologies in organizations. While digital technology is central to the phenomena studied, research in the IS field emphasizes the behavioural, social, organizational and societal issues as they interact with digital technology. This focus is distinct from studying purely technical aspects of digital technology. IS field is multi-disciplinary in nature and draws on theories and methods unique to IS research and in other fields in business (e.g., strategy, organizational theory, organizational behaviour), or in the social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, economics, and statistics).

The doctoral program in IS is designed to produce scholars who study managerial (as opposed to technical) aspects of digital. Our graduates complete necessary course work, research and teaching training and actively engage in grant proposal writing and early publishing of their work so that they can begin their academic career with the tools and foundation necessary to succeed. Three of our PhD graduates have won the prestigious ICIS Dissertation Award – the highest award given to recent PhD graduates and the largest number awarded to any institution globally.

Information Systems PhD students take courses in Research Methods, Statistics, IS Special Fields emphasizing core topics (including IS theories, adoption, implementation, decision making, organizational impacts) along with many other diverse topics reflecting a cross section of the various sub-fields of IS studies. Additionally, there will be elective choices (offered by other Area Groups in the school such as Strategy or Organizational Behaviour, and/or other graduate faculties in the university such as Sociology, Computer Science or Statistics). Other aspects of the program are tailored to fit the student's own research, teaching and professional interests.

In the Information Systems seminar classes students consider recent scholarly work in the field, develop an understanding of theories and models, design research approaches, and enhance their ability to understand and extend scholarship about managing digital technologies.

Areas of Research Focus

  • Design, development, implementation, use and value creation of digital technologies
  • Behavioural, social, organizational, and societal issues as they interact with digital technologies


PhD Student Opportunities

The Information Systems (IS) group at Ivey embraces managerial and behavioural research questions about digital in organizational settings and/or of interest to managers of organizations. We have particular strengths in areas of qualitative, ethnographic and grounded theory methodologies however are also able to offer substantial guidance on quantitative methods involving surveys, experiments and quantitative analysis like structural equation modelling. 

The IS group welcomes applications from qualified candidates that are interested in the following topics:

Digital technology and innovation

  • • Managing businesses characterized by extreme uncertainty (e.g., video games, movies, fashion items) (Robert Austin)
  • Talent management in digital organizations (Robert Austin)
  • Using digital technologies to enhance creative and innovative capabilities (Robert Austin)
  • Designer-driven innovation in creative industries (Robert Austin, Yasser Rahrovani)
  • Digital drifting (vs. alignment) (Yasser Rahrovani)
  • Digital platforms and organizational transformation (Yasser Rahrovani, Nicole Haggerty, Isam Faik)
  • Digital technologies and societal change (Isam Faik)
  • Effect of digital transformation on marginalized communities (Isam Faik)
  • Online social movements (Isam Faik)
  • Developing and implementing transformation programs (Nicole Haggerty - healthcare setting)
  • Sociomaterial sensemaking during digital transformation (Nicole Haggerty- healthcare setting)
  • Generative mechanisms in digital transformation (Nicole Haggerty- healthcare setting)

Digital technology and leadership

  • Virtual teams and online communities (communication, trust, productivity) (Derrick Neufeld, Isam Faik)
  • Remote leadership (transformational, transactional leadership at a distance) (Derrick Neufeld)

Digital technology and sourcing

  • Sourcing models: Outsourcing, multisourcing, crowdsourcing, long-tail strategy, shared services (Ning Su)
  • Global technologies, markets and societies: China, India, Europe, etc. (Ning Su)


PhD Graduates

The doctoral program in Information Systems is designed for those interested in pursuing academic careers in information systems at top business schools. 


Dr. Liliana Lopez Jimenez (2014 PhD)

Assistant Professor, Universidad Externado de Colombia

PhD Dissertation:

Small Businesses Encounters with Information Technology

This dissertation advances the concept of IT encountering, defined as the process whereby individuals pay attention, interpret and respond to cues suggesting changes to IT, in ways that appear sensible to them, and it studies IT encountering in the context of small businesses. I review the literatures on organizational IT adoption and IT selection, and conclude that these literatures have relied on assumptions which leave unattended important aspects of the process leading to choice: the adoption literature presupposes the saliency and significance of a focal technology to a decision maker, and the IT selection literature generally assumes that suitable IT alternatives are known to the individual making choices.... Read more about this thesis

Faculty Advisor(s):


Discipline Coordinator

Yasser Rahrovani

Yasser’s research interest focuses on exploring the emergent, unexpected aspects of innovating with digital technologies in organizations. While organizations invest billions of dollars in digitalization, drifting from devised strategies is increasingly a relevant and significant issue, given the openness of today’s digital technologies. Yasser’s research tries to understand the notion of digital drifting by studying the triggering sources and mechanisms by which digitalization may drift from intended plans and transform organizations, unexpectedly. To extend scholarship about digital drifting, he has developed three streams of research: (1) user innovations that change the nature of the work practices (types of innovative behavior with digital, their distinct antecedents, and consequences), (2) the emergent process of digital strategy change (micromechanisms of emergent strategy change); and (3) transforming organizations with digital technologies (change in organizational mission, logic, or identity).

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