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Response to Davison and Martinsons: Context is King! Yes and No - It's Still All About Theory Building

Urquhart, C ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7754-6085 (2016) Response to Davison and Martinsons: Context is King! Yes and No - It's Still All About Theory Building. Journal of Information Technology, 31 (3). pp. 254-256. ISSN 0268-3962

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Abstract

Davison and Martinsons breathe some fresh air into the ‘Is Theory King’ debate that has enlivened JIT of late (Avison and Malaurent 2014, Markus 2014, Lee 2014, Gregor 2014), by drawing our attention to the important issue of context, and its relationship to theory. They make two major points. First, that often IS researchers treat theories they use in a universalist manner– that is, the context and boundary conditions of the theory being used are commonly ignored. Secondly, by taking a cultural view of context, they make the compelling argument that, in an increasingly globalised world, the context of locally distinctive values and behaviours will become more important. They suggest two prescriptions: first, that we avoid simplistic research and consider cultural and institutional constraints as part of the research design process; second, that editors and reviewers have an obligation to understand the context of the research they are evaluating. They then conclude with a clarion call for a much more nuanced understanding of context and theory validation.

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