Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Information Systems and Decision Sciences (Business Administration)

Document Type



Information Systems Design Science (ISDS) as a research community is limited by a small number of research frameworks with considerable influence. The small triad of influential ISDS research, consisting of Walls, et al (1992), March and Smith (1995), and Hevner et al (2004) have primarily limited ISDS research to the positivist paradigm and the IT artifact. In contrast, Herbert Simon’s intentions for design science never had such restrictions and intended a broader perspective. This dissertation explores Simon’s intentions for design science, the Simonian stream of thought that includes The Sciences of the Artificial, as well as much of his most notable research, and offers an ‘informed view’ of design science in the tradition of Rortyian neopragmatism. Using this new lens of design science, a Bhaskarian critical realist treatment of human artifacts is also developed. Collectively, a Rortyian neopragmatist treatment for design science, and a Bhaskarian critical realist treatment of human artifacts are used as a lens to augment the Walls et al (1992) framework for Information Systems Design Theories (ISDT). An example of how to apply this lens is accomplished in Paper 2 of the dissertation. The ISDS lens is applied to the topic of Enterprise Architecture (EA). EA as vehicle for IS Alignment is well defined in terms of frameworks, artifacts, and methodology. However little is understood with respect to the discipline and practice of EA. Seeking to advance our understanding of effective vehicles for IS alignment, this research examines EA as an alignment practice and how it attempts to realize alignment. Specifically, we address the following question: How does EA manifest itself in organizations? This research employs an interpretivist epistemology in a manner quite distinct from ISDS research and thus provides contributions to academia in terms of methodology and insight on EA, and for practitioners who wish to mature an EA practice in their organization. Some of the main concepts discovered in the empirical study in Paper 2 are used to develop a practitioner-oriented framework for EA practice in Paper 3.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hirschheim, Rudolf A.

Included in

Business Commons