Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Green IS Scholarship at Annual 2012/2013 Conferences

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ICIS in Orlando featured several green IS  papers, as did HICSS in Hawaii (see below). Most papers addressed issues concerning the use of IS for enabling enhanced corporate environmental sustainability, while a few dealt with server / network energy use. The research stream does appear to be moving out of emergence phase. On this point, Watson and colleagues suggest that we are entering a new dominant logic of sustainability in information systems. To build momentum further, we need: a) better development of core constructs; b) theory development to address new wicked problems; c) better empirical modeling to capture distinctiveness of new settings. Below is a list of papers [with occasional thoughts from me].

Impact of Green IS

Organizational Self-Renewal: The Role of Green IS in Developing Eco-Effectiveness”  Jonas Hedman, Stefan Henningsson – Copenhagen Business School, Lisen Selander – University of Gothenburg.
[From abstract: Insight #1: Green IS initiatives cannot be studied in isolation from other sustainable initiatives, since they are re-enforcing each other. Insight #2: Green IS initiatives can act as ‘motors’ towards eco-effectiveness, in bridging competing models of organizational effectiveness.]

The Influence of Mobile Product Information on Brand Perception and Willingness to Pay for Green and Sustainable Products,” Hannah Winkler von Mohrenfels – Goethe University, Daniel Klapper – Humboldt University.

Does Environmental Performance Affect Organizational Performance? Evidence from Green IT Organizations,” Rohit Nishant, Thompson Teo, Mark Goh, Satish Krishnan – National University of Singapore. [Some evidence of a connection in a sample limited to green IT organizations].

Green IS Research and Development

Matching Economic Efficiency and Environmental Sustainability: The Potential of Exchanging Excess Capacity in Cloud Service Environments,” Christoph Dorsch, Bjoern Haeckel – Augsburg University

An Organizing Vision Perspective on Green IS Development,” Karl Fradley – Environment Protection Authority, Indrit Troshani – University of Adelaide, Giselle Camille Rampersad – Flinders University, Paul De Ionno – South Australian Government

IS Sustainability Research: A Trans-disciplinary Framework for a ‘Grand Challenge’,” Dirk S Hovorka –  Bond  University, Jacqueline Corbett – Laval University

The Emergence of Sustainability as the New Dominant Logic: Implications for Information Systems,” Richard T Watson – University of Georgia, Mikael Lind, Sandra Haraldson – Viktoria Institute [From abstract: It is argued that the current customer service dominant logic is being replaced or complemented by a sustainability dominant logic, which reflects the growing concern with environmental issues].

Green IS/IT Initiative

A Sustainability Model of Green IT Initiatives,” Krishnadas Nanath, Radhakrishna R Pillai – Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode

The Influence of Reference Frame  and Population Density on the Effectiveness of Social Normative Feedback on Electricity Consumption,” Claire-Michelle Loock – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Jan R. Landwehr – Goethe-University Frankfurt, Thorsten Staake – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Elgar Fleisch – University of St. Gallen Alexander (Sandy) Pentland – Massachussetts Institute of Technology [From abstract: reference groups that are close in terms of geographical proximity are more effective than more distant groups. However, population density does not moderate this effect. Designer of green information systems should therefore use reference groups that are close to the energy consumer with regard to geographical proximity, but they do not need to tailor the intervention to the energy consumer’s location.]

Towards a Typology of Green IS Strategies: Insights from Case Study Research,” Fabian Loeser, Koray Erek, Ruediger Zarnekow – Technical University  of  Berlin. [From author: “In the scope of four real-life case studies, Loeser et al. (2012) found  that Green IS have great potential for leveraging firm competitiveness. Even so, most companies confine their actions to the implementation of simple efficiency-increasing measures that target operational cost reductions. The authors point out that the full potential of Green IS can only be leveraged if environmental aspects are addressed through corporate, competitive, and functional strategies.”]

ICIS also featured a panel on “Green Information Systems Directions: Directives for the IS Discipline” (on which I participated).

HICSS in Hawaii also had several tracks with an environmental sustainability theme

[IEEE has yet to post: coming soon]


Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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