Management Information Systems is interested in the use of information technology to carry out the functions of management. It is concerned with information related to people, products, procedures and technologies. As with any field of research, MIS research requires theories which provide a framework through which scholars and other researchers view phenomena in the field.
Early research in MIS focused on problems faced by professionals in the field of information management, and were borrowed from other fields, such as management and computer science.
Key theories in MIS include cognitive fit, cognitive dissonance, task-technology fit, competitive strategy and socio-technical.
Cognitive fit posits that the presentation of information affects task performance. Cognitive dissonance theory is concerned with change to eliminate inconsistency between attitudes and behaviors.
Task-Technology theory holds that information technology capabilities must match user tasks in order for the technology to have a positive impact.
Competitive strategy draws on economic concepts to determine factors that make a market attractive. Socio-technical theory emphasizes the need for consistency among independent subsystems for the larger system to achieve optimal performance.
Georgia State researchers identified three approaches to building theories in MIS: process, which focuses on sequences of events; variance, which is concerned with relationships among different parts of a system; and systems theory, which is concerned with how the interdependency of subsystems impacts the whole.