Robert Davison is the new chair of the IFIP WG 9.4, a position expected to run initially from May 2017-May 2019.
I was born in the UK, went to Nottingham University (1986-1991) and came to Hong Kong in September 1991 to find a job (having failed to find one in the UK). I completed my PhD part time (1993-1998) and am now a Professor of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong, where I have worked since 1992.
As a researcher, much of my work focuses on knowledge management in Chinese companies. My temperament is more inclined to qualitative data and interpretive case studies / action research, though my students are often more positivist and quantitative, and so conformist. Yes, I see myself as rather non-conformist.
I have been active in the international IS community for many years, as a founding member of the AIS in 1995, and in a variety of roles in the AIS and elsewhere. Since 2002, I have been the editor in chief of the Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC) which after many years of essentially self-publishing will be published by Wiley with effect from 2018. I am also the editor in chief of the Information Systems Journal (also published by Wiley). As an editor, I travel widely to promote both journals, as well as the group. Most recently I have been in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Philippines and Indonesia. At the end of September I will be in Angola for a few days. Some of these places are rather off the beaten track, yet there are researchers here, people to engage with, people to include into our groups and networks.
In accepting Maung’s nomination for the chair position of this working group, I felt inspired by his past leadership, but also eager to see what innovations I might be able to bring. The group is one of the largest such IFIP groups, and indeed one of the most successful. I suspect that it is also one of the most disparate, with members from developing and developed countries around the world. That creates challenges, for even as we all share a research interest in developing countries, our backgrounds, our stories, our interests, our approaches, our means vary widely, encompassing those who are well resourced to those who are not resourced at all. Although I see the group as being very inclusive, I would like to make it more inclusive.
I feel that PhD students and early career researchers deserve our particular attention, because they represent the future of the discipline, and our group. We need to ensure that they feel included in our events, and also that they are encouraged to play a role in those events. Although I do not expect that we will organise events exclusively for PhD students, I do think that we should try to bring as many PhD students (and other early career researchers) to our meetings and workshops as possible. One way to do this is not to rely on a single biennial conference, but to encourage regional events, which can then cater to the needs of people living relatively closer to that regional location (since the annual event may be far away). The regional events will be organised by the regional representatives, of whom we have quite a number. If you would like to volunteer, please let us know.
This is the first of a series of profiles. I hope that future newsletters will run more of them.