PhD | Information Systems

Doctoral Studies in Business

Information Systems


The Center for Doctoral Studies in Business offers seven fields of specialization: Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, Management, Marketing, Operations Managment, and Taxation.


  • Interdisciplinary
  • Multinational working and research environment
  • Regular area seminars


Information Systems
Information Systems (IS) support individuals in organizations with information for better or faster decisions. They enable new business processes and business models, altering the competitive arena in which a company is embedded. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are utilized for corporate activities from the perspective of distinct user roles. The nature of the IS discipline is both, theoretical and technological. While theoretic-empirical contributions focus on the management and use of Information Systems and Information Infrastructures in organizations, technological-constructivist contributions aim at the design of IS for facilitating new business processes and models.
Scholarships available Yes



This course provides an overview of qualitative research methods and their application in the field of Information Systems (IS). The course begins with an introduction to the basic principles, epistemological classification and alternatives of conducting qualitative research. It then provides deeper insights into three types of qualitative research, i.e. positivist variance-theoretic, interpretive, and process theoretic. For the interpretive approach, the students are required to summarize and discuss particular research papers and to reflect on how the principles of conducting interpretive research were applied in the respective papers. For this purpose the students are grouped into teams. Overall, the course is designed to be interactive.


This course is designed for doctoral students in information systems and operations/logistics. It provides a basic understanding of philosophy of science and its epistemological foundations. On the one hand, the course will focus on those concepts which derive knowledge from observation, induction, and refutation of facts. Furthermore, it also takes experiments as well as the new experimentalism into account in order to refer to those disciplines that focus on the evaluation of artifacts like prototypes and algorithms for example. Thus, the underlying epistemological foundations are of central interest to every doctoral students who studies the structure and behavior of information systems and operations/logistics phenomena. The course will be offered in an interactive style. All doctoral students have to offer at least one presentation and a documentation regarding a specific epistemological stance. Furthermore, participants have to discuss an article from literature in order to apply and reinforce the epistemological stance presented. Assignment of topics will be conducted by the lecturer.


Since the 90's information and communication technology (ICT) has fundamentally changed the way organizations are conducting business. Organizations and the entire society are challenged with the effective design, delivery, use, and impact of ICT. The IS discipline addresses this challenge and investigates the phenomena that emerge when the technological and the social system interact (Lee, 2001). A decade ago an intensive discussion on the relevancy and impact of IS research has started (Benbasat and Zmud, 1999; Davenport and Markus 1999; Applegate and King, 1999; Gill and Bhattacherjee, 2009). In this context, several scholars (e.g., Orlikowski and Iacono, 2001) have suggested that the IS community returns to an exploration of the "IT" that underlies the discipline. Design research has potentials to address the above mentioned challenge (Gregor, 2009, Purao et al., 2008). Design research as such is nothing new; it can be found in many disciplines and fields, notably Engineering and Computer Science, using a variety of approaches, methods, and techniques.

This course intends to provide a comprehensive overview on design science in IS research from different perspectives: basic definitions, principles and theoretical foundations, frameworks and methodologies, theory building, as well as design science research examples. PhD students are introduced to the exciting field of design science research and learn basics guidelines to carry out design-oriented research projects. 


This course is designed to provide doctoral students an understanding of the foundation of theory development and contribution. Much of the research in IS draws upon theories from other disciplines, including industrial psychology, sociology, management, and marketing, in developing models to apply to an IS research problem.

However, there is a small body of IS-specific theories which are relevant not only to IS research but to research in other disciplines. The course will include readings from outside the IS discipline as well as within it. The course is designed for both information systems (IS) and non-IS Ph.D. students.

The readings in the course will deepen the students’ understanding of the role of theory in understanding IT related organizational phenomenon and enhance their ability to theorize about IT related to their own various research themes. The objective is to provide students with exposure to theories, the use of theories in research, and the development of new theories to help them better create new or apply existing theories to their own research. The first few sessions of the course will emphasize the nature of theory, theory contribution, and theory development whereas the remaining sessions will examine particular theories related to IT and organizational phenomenon. These latter theories. 



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