The end of the information system life: A model of IS discontinuance

G.B. Furneaux, M. Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Considerable information systems (IS) research has sought to understand the adoption, implementation, and use of information systems. In contrast, the literature offers only limited insight into end-of-life issues such as those surrounding the nature of, and basis for, organizational IS discontinuance. This situation, in conjunction with the dramatic impact that discontinuance can have on organizational performance and measures of system success, suggests a strong need for further research. Since the absence of sound theoretical frameworks can impede such research, this paper offers a theoretical model of IS discontinuance that seeks to account for organizational intention to discontinue the use of an information system. The model is based on the premise that forces contributing to the formation of discontinuance intentions are opposed by inertial tendencies in favor of the status quo. Environmental change and organizational initiative are posited to be the two broad forces driving an information system toward the end of its useful life. Organizational investments in the system, system embeddedness within the organization, and mimetic isomorphism are then seen to constrain the extent to which change forces lead to the emergence of organizational discontinuance intentions. A series of propositions are offered and related guidance is provided for those interested in pursuing further research. An exploration of how the proposed model can be generalized to other discontinuance decisions such as the decision to terminate the use of an IS standard or management practice is also offered for interested readers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-69
Number of pages25
JournalData Base for Advances in Information Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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