Davenport, T. H., & Markus, M. L. (1999). Rigor vs. relevance revisited: Response to Benbasat and Zmud. MIS Quarterly, 23(1), 19-23.

D&M do B&Z (1999) one better, arguing we need to remake the discipline to more resemble law and medicine, fields where there is much greater academic-practitioner interaction. D&M seem to argue that B&Z advocate too much a path of being all things to all people. D&M would have us pursue a different course, making our discipline over more in the image of practitioners rather than trying to fit the mold of hard-core academics.

Interesting market-based argument: if students are consumers, IS schools need to produce more practical research that those consumers can consume, “thereby increasing the audience of reflective practitioners” [20]. Business translation: produce more practical, relevant research, and we get more customers, more tuition, more funding.

But viewing students as consumers isn’t just about increasing our revenue. Thinking about what future practitioners (are the majority of students future practitioners rather than future academics?) want and need will drive us to produce more relevant research.

Evaluation and policy research — I hope we’ve made progress in accepting such research since D&M wrote in 1999. Otherwise, my dissertation is in trouble!

I would think the Board of Regents would completely support this approach of including practitioner journal publications in a professor’s tenure-review portfolio. The Regents are all about relevance now.

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