MScIS Dominic Breuker

Location: Brisbane

Arrival: May 9th 2011

Departure: Jul 1st 2011

Dominic Breuker

Mission statement

  • To exchange ideas to develop new opportunities for IS research in the future, with special focus on interdisciplinary ideas resulting from disucssions with researchers from fields other than IS.
  • To initiate work on joint publications with researchers from QUT.
  • To attend a workshop on theory and theorizing in IS research, held by Jan Recker from QUT's BPM group

Research results

On May 16, I attended a full-day workshop on theories and theorizing in IS research. It was held by Jan Recker, one of the leading senior researchers in the IS field. After briefly introducing the topic, Jan developed a definition of theories in cooperation with the workshop's participants and distinguished various forms of theories and their constituent elements. Numerous examples have been used to illustrate the various aspects and to facilitate a deeper understanding of this abstract topic. Jan also provided the participants with a structured framework of the different types of theories and their interrelations with each other, which can provide orientation in one’s own research endeavors. In the second part of the workshop, we learned how new theories are created and how existing theories are developed and evaluated. Again, the subject matter was easily understandable due to plausible examples of this theorizing process. For me, being at the beginning of my time as a PhD student, this was an excellent opportunity to learn the basics of a successful research project in the IS field. With Jan as one of the highest ranked IS researchers in the world, I had the ideal tutor.

As part of my stay at QUT, I also gave a presentation on Business Process Mining on May 26. Unlike traditional industrial products, services are nowadays offered by complex value networks. These networks consist of multiple independent actors which collaboratively generate value for customers. They are characterized by a decentralized organization, have a complex structure and can be of huge size. Naturally, these characteristics can lead to uncertainty with respect to the processes performed in the network, since there is no central entity overseeing the big picture. One approach to identify and visualize these processes is process mining, which is a technique to generate business process models out of data collected from the IT systems the networked companies use. In my talk, I presented the topic together with a new approach towards a more robust and reliable method that has recently been developed in Muenster. In discussions directly after the talk and during the following days, I got valuable input for further research and developed ideas of how to combine this research with results from other areas.

Apart from these activities, I worked on methods for measuring service productivity during my stay at QUT. Motivated by the above mentioned network structure of today’s service providers, I currently work on adapting data envelopment analysis, a well-known method for productivity measurement, to scenarios in which multiple partners collaborate with each other.