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Information Systems

Information Systems (IS) research examines digital technologies and their impacts. While digital technology is central to the phenomena studied, research in the IS field explores diverse topics, including behavioural, organizational and societal issues as they interact with digital technology. The IS field is multi-disciplinary in nature and draws on theories and methods both unique to IS research and from other related fields in both business (e.g., strategy, organizational theory, organizational behaviour) and foundational disciplines (e.g., philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, computer science, and statistics).

The doctoral program in IS provides rigorous and comprehensive training and preparation for future scholars. Our graduates complete necessary course work, research and teaching training and may engage in grant proposal writing and 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 received the prestigious ICIS Dissertation Award – the highest award given to recent PhD graduates.

IS PhD students take courses in Research Methods, Statistics, and IS Special Fields. The IS Special Fields courses encompass core topics (including IS foundational theories and research methods, design, adoption, implementation of technology, decision making processes, organizational and industry impacts), latest research themes in the IS field, along with other diverse topics reflecting various sub-fields of IS research. Students also have 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.

Areas of Research Focus

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


PhD Student Opportunities

The Information Systems (IS) group examine diverse managerial and behavioural research questions. We have particular strengths in qualitative, ethnographic and grounded theory methodologies while also pursuing and publishing quantitative methods involving surveys, experiments and econometric models. The IS group welcomes applications from qualified candidates interested in different topics, including, but not limited to:

  • Digital transformation, strategy and alignment, platforms, IT-enabled organizational change, digital entrepreneurship, IT leadership
  • Global IT management, sourcing, buyer-supplier relationship, international strategy, emerging markets
  • Digital capability development, virtual teams, open source communities, design thinking and innovation
  • Social dynamics of technology, social change, social interactions
  • Focused topics and industry focus, including healthcare information systems, competitive advantage of neurodiversity

The following are examples of some specific projects of IS faculty members.

Professor Robert Austin’s research examines topics including the following.

  1. Managing businesses characterized by extreme uncertainty (e.g., video games, movies, fashion items)
  2. Talent management in digital organizations
  3. Using digital technologies to enhance creative and innovative capabilities
  4. Designer-driven innovation in creative industries
  5. Digital platforms and organizational transformation

Professor Isam Faik’s research examines topics including the following.

  1. Digital platforms and organizational transformation
  2. Digital technologies and societal change
  3. Effect of digital transformation on marginalized communities
  4. Online social movements
  5. Virtual teams and online communities

Professor Nicole Haggerty’s research crosses many subfields of IS including issues in IS development (learning and agile); project management (charters, adaptive PM practices) and implementation (configurations of routine/technologies) to achieve value.  This research is focussed in healthcare, principally hospital settings with some work in long term care settings.  Professor Haggerty is interested in working with new students in projects that would be related.  She is currently working with a group of doctoral students (with 2 recently completed 2021) in the domain of health information systems exploring several inter-related issues:

  1. Microdynamics of IT-enabled Change in Hospitals (SSHRC 2020, $107,266) (qualitative, longitudinal field study)
  2. Generating Actionable Insights from OneChart (Industry grant 2021, $100,000)
    • Involves 4 inter-related projects with PhD students and post-docs to study Learning from Implementation; Optimizing Workflows post Clinical documentation; Developing Effective Clinical Documentation Education and Training for Clinicians; Path to Value Creation from Digital Transformation in Hospitals (action research, qualitative, quantitative)
  3. Systems Design and Operational Integrity in Long Term Care (SSHRC, 2021, $51,156)
  4. Health Information Systems for Surveillance of Infectious Diseases: An Evaluation Model (international research in Nigeria and Liberia)

Professor Derrick Neufeld is open to working with select doctoral students with interests related to individual and organizational impacts of technology mediation. Currently, Professor Neufeld us pursuing research to answer the following kinds of questions:

  1. How does online eye contact influence trust prediction? (Experimental)
  2. Does leadership occur in ‘leaderless’ open source teams? (Qualitative)
  3. How do “digital artifacts” support virtual team coordination? (Field)
  4. What is motivating cybercriminal behaviour? (Theory)

Professor Yasser Rahrovani’s research examines topics including the following:

  • Designer-driven innovation in creative industries
  • Digital drifting (vs. alignment)
  • Digital platforms and organizational transformation

Professor Ning Su’s research examines the transformation of organizations, markets, and societies in the age of digital technologies. Specific projects cover digital innovation and sourcing strategies in different sectors and across diverse markets including the Americas, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and Asia Pacific. Professor Su is open to working with select doctoral students. Examples of recent projects include but are not limited to the following.

  1. Global sourcing strategies: outsourcing, offshoring, multisourcing, crowdsourcing, long-tail strategy, shared services
  2. Technology firms and industries worldwide, including (but not limited to): Canada, US. Finland, Sweden, India, Japan, South Korea, China, etc.
  3. Digital innovation and transformation: artificial intelligence, data science, 5G, 3D printing, etc.



PhD Graduates

The doctoral program in Information Systems is designed for candidates interested in pursuing academic careers at top academic institutions worldwide.

Dr. Mayur P Joshi (2021 PhD)

Assistant Professor, Financial Technologies (FinTech) and Information Systems at Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, UK.

PhD Dissertation: Organizing for- and in- the Digital Age: A Case of the Indian Banking Industry

For striving and thriving in the digital age, while firms are rushing to digitally transform their organizing practices as well as offerings, scholars are tasked with revisiting the assumptions of extant theories to unpack the phenomenon of organizing for- and in- the digital age. This thesis focuses on distinct facets of this phenomenon. In particular, I examine the firm strategies and work practices of practitioners in Indian banking and financial organizations... Read more about this thesis

Faculty Advisor(s):

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

Ning Su

Professor Su is an expert on global innovation and outsourcing strategies, and qualitative research methods. His work explores the transformation of organizations and markets in the age of digitization and globalization, based on in-depth case studies in diverse sectors, including financial services, technology, consulting, manufacturing, and creative industries, across the Americas, EMEA, and Asia Pacific. His research is published in top journals such as the MIS Quarterly and MIT Sloan Management Review. Outside academia, Professor Su advises a portfolio of multinational corporations as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.

Professor Su is the recipient of the “40 Most Outstanding Business School Professors Under 40” by Poets&Quants, the inaugural Early Career Award of the Association for Information Systems, Giarratani Rising Star Award runner-up of the Industry Studies Association, and Best Article Awards of the Decision Sciences Journal and IBM Global Research. Professor Su has also received Ivey’s Early Career Impact Award, and teaching awards and commendations from Ivey, Western University, and New York University’s Stern School of Business. Professor Su has also taught at top programs in Denmark, China, NYU Stern, and Cornell University.

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