Green IS: Enabling, Transforming, Both, or Neither?

Grant Royd Howard, Sam Lubbe, Rembrandt Klopper
InSITE 2015  •  2015  •  pp. 231-245
The problem addressed in this paper is the ambiguity that exists in the usage of the terms “enable” and “transform” and their related forms in the Green IS literature. This ambiguity creates uncertainty, both conceptual and practical, about the precise role of Green IS in these research and use contexts. Consequently, the exact relationship between Green IS and environmental sustainability can be obscured. The objective then was to disambiguate these terms and their related forms by defining them independently from the Green IS literature, and subsequently using those independent meanings to content analyze their use in the top journals in the IS field. The results provided evidence that the enabling role was far more prominent than the transforming role. Nevertheless, while distinct, both roles are are equally significant and valuable for environmental sustainability. However, based on the relative frequencies, the enabling role of Green IS provides more frequent environmental sustainability returns. Thus, it may be preferable for Green IS research to focus on exposing the enabling capabilities of Green IS for optimal success in the multitudinous environmental sustainability scenarios.
Enabling, Environmental sustainability, Green computing, Green Information Systems (Green IS), Green Information Technology (Green IT), Transforming
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