Debates and Provocations

Debate and Provocation Chairs

Varun Grover, University of Arkansas, USA. Email:
Kalle Lyytinen, Case Western Reserve University, USA. Email:

Important Dates

  • Debate and Provocation Proposal Submission Deadline: 11 March 2024
  • Panel Debate and Provocation Proposal Acceptance Notification: 25 March 2024

All disciplinary fields operate under specific beliefs and assumptions and commit to specific ontologies, values, goals, and topics. These define what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out’, what method is acceptable and what is not; what assumptions guide research, and what is an appropriate code of conduct. Healthy and open academic communities occasionally reflect on such issues by engaging in arguments and debates to settle such issues when new theories, phenomena or puzzles emerge in the field. Sometimes such arguments are triggered by provocateurs who poke sacred cows and ask the contrarian questions. The information systems field is, in this regard, no different. Though the field has occasionally engaged in debates about its core, identity, preferred research method or nature of technology or value of causal explanations such debates are rarely part of our community meetings (a legendary meeting of this sort was the IFIP 8.2 meeting in Manchester under title ‘IS a dubious science’). This track seeks to fill this gap and invites submissions that propose a structured debate or a provocation on topics relevant for the IS field.

Format of Debate and Provocation Proposals

Debate and Provocation proposals must not exceed six single-spaced pages and must conform to the ECIS paper submission template. The page limit is all inclusive, and includes the title, body of the paper, figures and tables, references, and appendices.

A debate is a form of dialectic that pursues a structured argument or discussion where two parties present opposing viewpoints on a specific topic or issue, aiming to persuade an audience and each other of the validity of their arguments.

A provocation pitch is a provocative yet generative presentation or proposal that is designed to challenge conventional thinking and provoke thought among its audience. It aims to push boundaries, disrupt the status quo, and stimulate new ways of thinking.

We expect free form submissions that cover the following: (a) the key topic and issue being at stake and what positions are adopted; (b) how the delivery of arguments will be organized during the debate/provocation pitch. Standard rules and guidelines to organize debates followed in debate clubs can be freely adopted or followed. and (c) how the audience will be engaged (e.g., though polling). We expect a debate to last 45 minutes, and a provocation pitch 30 minutes, all inclusive.

Examples of questions for a debate and provocation:

  • Are theories necessary for the field to flourish or do we do just fine with big data?
  • Is IT alignment dead or does it work well in this environment?
  • Is digital transformation a fad or truly a new shift in how IT operates?
  • Do we need core theories or are reference theories good enough for our field to prosper?
  • Does AI offer a utopian or dystopian future?
  • Do we still need systems analysis or design methods?
  • How explicit should the IT artifact be in your studies?
  • Is design science a real science, or is engineering masquerading as science?
  • How do we justify values that guide systems and their use?
  • Are we creating a better world with IT or are we just fooling ourselves?
  • Are you happy with the way we design IS conferences or should we revitalize the format?
  • Are you happy with how IS journals are governed or should we revitalize the format?
  • Are you happy with universities and academic work or should we revitalize the format?
  • Should academics engage in politics or stay out of it?


Review Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated solely by the track chairs and their assessment will be based on the interestingness of the topic, proposed organization of the debate/provocation and expected ability of the participants to engage in witty and lively discussion. 

Submission Procedure

Debate and Provocation proposals must use the ECIS 2024 template. Please submit your panel proposals via email to the two panel chairs no later than 11 March 2024. You will be notified about acceptance on 25 March 2024.