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Loos, Peter, Nebel, Wolfgang, Gómez, Jorge Marx, Hasan, Helen, Wat-
son, Richard T., vom Brocke, Jan, Seidel, Stefan, & Recker, Jan C. (2011)
Green IT : a matter of business and information systems engineering?
Business and Information Systems Engineering,3(4), pp. 245-252.
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Seidel, Stefan, University of Liechtenstein, Fuerst-Franz-Josef-Strasse 21, 9490 Vaduz, Prin-
cipality of Liechtenstein,
Recker, Jan, Queensland University of Technology, 126 Margaret Street, Brisbane QLD
4000, Australia,
In their paper in the March 2010 issue of MIS Quarterly, Watson et al. (2010) called Information Sys-
tems (IS) researchers to investigate how the “transformative power of IS can be leveraged to create an
ecologically sustainable society” (p. 23). In this context, the notion of “Green IS” has emerged as “the
design and implementation of information systems that contribute to sustainable business processes”
(Watson et al. 2008).
We wish to highlight the role of green business processes, and specifically the contributions that the
management of these processes can play in leveraging the transformative power of IS in order to
create an environmentally sustainable society.
The management of business processes has typically been thought of in terms of business improve-
ment alongside the dimensions time, cost, quality, or flexibility – the so-called ‘devil’s quadrangle’.
Contemporary organizations, however, increasingly become aware of the need to create more sustain-
able, IT-enabled business processes that are also successful in terms of their economic, ecological, as
well as social impact. Exemplary ecological key performance indicators that increasingly find their
way into the agenda of managers include carbon emissions, data center energy, or renewable energy
consumption (SAP 2010). The key challenge, therefore, is to extend the devil’s quadrangle to a devil’s
pentagon, including sustainability as an important fifth dimension in process change.
The Role of Business Process Management in Green Initiatives
In their efforts to manage and improve business processes to enable business benefits in terms of costs,
flexibility, time savings, quality or, indeed, environmental, ecological or societal sustainability, BPM
also involves the use of IT-based systems. It is at this intersection of IT-system enablement and
process change that we believe the potential for sustainability initiatives lies. Our key premise is that
business and IT managers need to engage in a process-focused discussion to enable a common, com-
prehensive understanding of process, and the process-centered opportunities for making these
processes, and ultimately the organization as a process-centric entity, “green”. Our reasoning goes as
follows: The consideration of only those potentials that come out of the so-called “Green IT” systems
is too limited to facilitate discussions that can help business executives in putting these Green IT solu-
tions into business work. At the same time, it is impossible today to think of undertaking a major sus-
tainability change initiative (involving the re-design of major business processes) without considering
what information technology can do to that effect. Still, it is equally impossible to think about any
major redesign that does not call for major changes in how employees perform their jobs. Employees
and the management of employees are just as important as information technology in the transforma-
tion to sustainable practices and solutions, and BPM provides just the perspective that enables an inte-
grated, holistic approach to the management of sustainability change.
The proposition that we put forward in this call for action is that only through process change, and the
application of process-centered techniques, such as process analysis, process performance measure-
ment, and process improvement, the transformative power of IS can be fully leveraged in order to
create environmentally sustainable organizations and, in turn, an environmentally sustainable society.
This will not only allow us to better understand the transformative power of IS in the context of sus-
tainable development, but also to proceed to more prescriptive, normative research that directly im-
pacts on the implementation of sustainable, IT-enabled business processes. Figure 1 encapsulates this
call for action.
Green IT Green Business
Process Change
Figure 1: The Role of BPM in IS-enabled Sustainability Initiatives
A Working Agenda for Green BPM
We identify the following exemplary working areas for IS research alongside a classical process man-
agement lifecycle (Hammer 2010). We do not claim that these issues are exhaustive, and instead just
one way to conceptualize relevant areas of BPM that may be considered when investigating the role of
process management in the context of enterprise sustainability.
1) Process design: In process modeling, for example, it will be necessary to accommodate sustainabil-
ity-related concepts, such as carbon emissions or energy consumption of business activities. This, in
turn, will allow for analysis and improvement that not only considers economic, but also ecological
targets. Diagramming business processes with an extended BPMN notation (Recker et al. 2011), for
instance, could be used to document and analyze data about the waste associated with each process.
2) Process measurement: In order to become green, organizations need to embed sustainability-
related targets at all levels of business, starting from the strategy level. Consequently, process mea-
surement needs to accommodate sustainability-related factors such as carbon emissions, energy con-
sumption, and paper consumption. The measurement of these factors not only allows for controlling
the accomplishment of sustainability-related targets, but also creates transparency and awareness that
is needed in order to reach employees throughout the organization. Consequently, it will be necessary
to develop a thorough understanding of the required measurement systems as well as to develop IT
systems that collect data and allow for detailed monitoring of sustainability-related measures.
3) Process improvement and process change: We suggest that the deliberate improvement and re-
design of processes can contribute to achieving sustainability targets. While some processes may be-
come more sustainable through rather simple improvements, others may require a fundamental re-
design. This, in turn, will assist organizations in fully leveraging the transformative power of Green
IS. IS researchers should thus further investigate the role of process change in the context of transfor-
mation towards enterprise sustainability.
4) Process implementation: Finally, sustainable processes need to be implemented. In order to do so,
organizations are required to allocate sufficient resources, provide training to employees, and put into
action the previously defined measures. Moreover, IT systems are required to collect data, monitor,
and create the transparency that is required in order to involve people across the entire organization.
Consequently, IS researchers need to investigate the factors and dynamics that are relevant in the con-
text of implementing sustainable business processes.
The Way Forward
Following our call for action, two main avenues for future research emerge. First, IS researchers need
to investigate the role of process change in the transformation process towards enterprise sustainabili-
ty. Such research can employ both qualitative methods for the generation of novel theory that explains
the underlying transformation processes, and quantitative research that aims at testing novel theory.
We are currently traversing down this path in our IT-enabled sustainability transformation and the
adoption of sustainable work practices (Seidel et al. 2010). Second, grounded in such theories of
change, and drawing on process-related methods and techniques, IS researchers should proceed to
more prescriptive, normative or design-oriented research that directly impacts on the implementation
of sustainable, IT-enabled business processes.
Hammer, M. "What Is Business Process Management?," in: Handbook on Business Process Manage-
ment 1: Introduction, Methods and Information Systems, J. vom Brocke and M. Rosemann
(eds.), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 2010, pp. 3-16.
Recker, J., Rosemann, M., Roohi Goohar, E., Hjalmarsson, A., and Lind, M. "Modeling and Analyz-
ing the Carbon Footprint of Business Processes," in: Beyond Efficiency: Business Process
Management for the Sustainable Enterprise, S. Seidel and J. vom Brocke (eds.), Springer,
Berlin, Germany et al., 2011, p. forthcoming.
SAP "SAP Sustainability Report," SAP AG, 2010.
Seidel, S., Recker, J., Pimmer, C., and Vom Brocke, J. "Enablers and Barriers to the Organizational
Adoption of Sustainable Business Practices," 16th Americas Conference on Information Sys-
tems, Association for Information Systems, Lima, Peru, 2010.
Watson, R.T., Boudreau, M.-C., and Chen, A.J. "Information Systems and Environmentally Sustaina-
ble Development: Energy Informatics and New Directions for the IS Community," MIS Quar-
terly (34:1) 2010, pp 23-38.
Watson, R.T., Boudreau, M.-C., Chen, A.J., and Huber, M. "Green IS: Building Sustainable Business
Practices," in: Information Systems, R.T. Watson (ed.), Global Text Project, Athens, Georgia,
2008, pp. 247-261.
... Theoretical models were elaborated using secondary data from the literature review, and the content analysis was performed, through the crossing of citations (Fuchs, 2008), description of concepts (Elliot, 2007;Molla, 2008;Chowdhury, 2012;Brocke et al., 2013;Chen et al., 2008;Chou & Chou, 2012;Dao et al., 2011;Kern et al., 2015;Loos et al., 2011), mathematical models (Beloglazov et al., 2012;Garg et al., 2011;Patón-Romero et al., 2018), integrative model (Corbett, 2010;Bose & Luo, 2011;Faucheux & Nicolaï, 2011;Fang et al., 2015), development of a reference model (Naumann et al., 2011;Yoon, 2018), bibliographic research (Jenkin et al., 2011;Brocke et al., 2013), Interpretive Structural Modeling (Dalvi-Esfahani et al., 2017) and cross-sectional analysis (Melville, 2010). It should be noted that theoretical models, as well as model simulations, use only data derived from the review of the literature, without validation through empirical tests, nor relation with a specific economic sector. ...
... Green IT_A Matter of Business and Information Systems Engineering? Loos et al. (2011) Impact of Green IT on information systems. ...
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With the purpose of identifying the state-of-the-art in the literature, on the theme of Green Information Technology, or simply Green IT, this study presents a bibliometric review about it. Following a research protocol, 171 papers published between the years 2007 to 2020 were selected, providing an overview or are focused on a particular aspect of Green IT. As the main results of this theoretical production, research highlighted that most of the literature on Green IT is based on analyzes at the organizational level. The surveys and theoretical frameworks that consider the environmental aspects of Green IT stand out. Among the empirical studies, investigations related to organizational motivations and the role of corporate social responsibility in the adoption of Green IT prevail. Behavioral factors linked to cognitive aspects that provide a preliminary view on the diffusion status and maturity of the Green IT also emerge among field studies. It should be noted that most studies were conducted in developed countries, that is, countries where technology is more widespread. Among the main managerial implications of the research, it was evident that the need for greater energy efficiency and, consequently, cost savings in IT operations, are the main factors for the adoption of Green IT. Keywords: Green Information Technology; Bibliometric review; State-of-the-art.
... Face ao exposto, Loos et al. (2011) salientam que o mundo enfrenta uma crise ecológica sob a forma de aquecimento global, resultante da liberação de CO 2 . No entanto, defendem aumento do investimento em pesquisa sobre como melhorar a eficiência energética da TI, com foco especial na redução do consumo de energia por meio do desenvolvimento de soluções práticas que alavanquem o poder de transformação dos sistemas de informação. ...
... A partir das bases teóricas apresentadas, verificou-se que a necessidade de maior eficiência da TI (POLLACK, 2008;MOLLA et al., 2009;MELVILLE, 2010;UNHELKAR, 2011;LOOS et al., 2011) MOLLA et al., 2009;MITHAS;KHUNTIA;ROY, 2010;WATSON;BOUDREAU;CHEN, 2010;MELVILLE, 2010;LUO, 2011;UNHELKAR, 2011;KOO;CHUNG;NAM, 2015) são os principais fatores motivacionais para a adoção da TI Verde. Mesmo, contudo, que o principal fator motivacional sejam os fatores econômicos, constatou-se que a prática de TI Verde reflete positivamente no meio ambiente e na sociedade. ...
Conduzido por meio de uma revisão sistemática da literatura, este artigo objetiva situar o modelo da Tecnologia da Informação Verde (TI Verde) no contexto teórico da Sustentabilidade Corporativa. Tendo em vista que as práticas de TI Verde são utilizadas com o propósito de reduzir os impactos ambientais causa­dos pelas atividades de TI, uma análise reflexiva quanto ao uso de medidas associadas à TI Verde possibilita identificar o conjunto atividades que precisam ser realizadas para as empresas tornarem-se ambientalmente corretas, a fim de introduzirem processos de negócios ambientalmente favoráveis nas orga­nizações e produtos ambientalmente corretos para o mercado. A pesquisa originou-se a partir da percepção da complexidade que caracteriza a referida temática, decorrente da evolução tecnológica no âmbito de tecnologia de informação, que contribui e reforça a necessidade de realização de estudos de caráter reflexivo que possam facultar a concepção de modelos de gestão de TI eficazes e de menor custo para a sua operacionalização nas organizações.
... Green IT represents a set of practices that seek efficiently and effectively transform the production, use, and disposal of technology with minimum or no negative impact on the environment (MURUGESAN, 2008). Technology itself has been considered a destructive factor for the environment; however, with Green IT, something previously regarded as problematic, becomes a solution, considering that this new technology strategy seeks to meet both present and future needs (LOOS et al., 2011), while the optimism generated with technological revolutions may ensure a sustainable development scenario (SILVA, 2014). However, the ability to combine development with socio-environmental wellbeing depends on changing attitudes of governments, organizations, and citizens, or in other words, it depends on raising the society's socio-environmental awareness (SANTOS; VALENÇA, 2011). ...
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This study’s objective was to analyze the influence of Green IT practices associated with individuals’ perceptions regarding the conscious purchase, use, and post-use of technological equipment on minimizing IT environmental impact. An intervention instrument was applied among IT users. The model developed with Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) indicates that the practices: purchasing IT from “green manufacturers,” economic efficiency of technological use, and properly discarding technological equipment make individuals more aware of technology environmental impacts. This study’s main contribution concerns a scale to assess information technology sustainable actions from an individual perspective. The results can raise the scientific community’s interest in developing new studies from this perspective.
... Some best practices have been suggested over the years to promote data center efficiency improvement, as the EU Code of Conduct [3] and the Data Center Maturity Model [31]. From an IT perspective, plenty of work have been investigating how to make data centers greener, while some limited attempts have been made to include sustainability in the application design of Green Information Systems [26][10][7] [21]. These approaches propose general principles and lacks from practical solutions. ...
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Data centers energy demand is increasing. While a great deal of effort has been made to reduce the amount of CO$_2$ generated by large cloud providers, too little has been done from the application perspective. We claim that application developers can impact the environmental footprint by enhancing the application design with additional features. Following the proposed Sustainable Application Design Process (SADP), the application design is enriched with information that can be leveraged by cloud providers to manage application execution in an energy-aware manner. This exploratory work aims to emphasize the awareness on the sustainability of applications by proposing a methodology for its evaluation. To this end, we first suggest possible actions to enrich the application design towards sustainability, and finally describe how this additional information can be leveraged in the application workflow. We discuss the feasibility of our methodology by referring to existing tools and technologies capable of supporting the design features proposed in a production environment.
... This can be approached both at organizational and technical levels (Bork & Karagiannis, 2014;Steen & Aven, 2011). A more context-sensitive approach to process modeling will also strengthen the contribution of process management to important strategic directives, such as digital innovation and transformation Schmiedel & vom Brocke, 2015) as well as making contributions to grand societal challenges (Becker et al., 2015;Loos et al., 2011). ...
Conference Paper
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In this article, we point to the importance of considering the organizational context when deciding on an enterprise modeling approach. Based on extant research in the area of context-aware Business Process Management, we present results from an empirical investigation on how the context of an organization can be assessed regarding requirements for process modeling and what implications this has on the choice of process modeling languages. We show that, also in one organization, different contexts exist, that actually call for a portfolio of process modeling approaches. Applying a design science approach, we conceptualize four process context types which are organized along two dimensions: variability and frequency of processes. We present these four process types, discuss their implications for modeling and design, and reflect on the broader implications for practice and research.
... Further, Green IS enable environmental sustainability to be integrated into daily operations, and positively impact compliance, costs, reputation, new products and services, and revenues (Curry et al. 2011). Green IS involve business and IS in transforming business activities and enabling sustainable business processes (Loos et al. 2011). Essentially, Green IS are enablers of environmental sustainability and agents of transformation for environmental sustainability (Ijab 2011); (Jenkin et al. 2011). ...
... For several reasons, citizen science is an ideal setting for a critical test (Popper, 2014) of any design purposed to improve Crowd IQ. First, citizen science in biology is a societally important domain, where improvements in information quality contribute to the conservation and preservation of dwindling natural resources (Loos et al., 2011;Seidel, Recker, & Vom Brocke, 2013;Theobald et al., 2015). Second, information quality is a critical concern to scientists who seek to use data in scientific analysis. ...
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Crowdsourcing promises to expand organizational knowledge and “sensor” networks dramatically, making it possible to engage ordinary people in large-scale data collection, often at much lower cost than that of traditional approaches to gathering data. A major challenge in crowdsourcing is ensuring that the data that crowds provide is of sufficient quality to be usable in organizational decision-making and analysis. We refer to this challenge as the Problem of Crowd Information Quality (Crowd IQ). We need to increase quality while giving contributors the flexibility to contribute data based on their individual perceptions. The design science research project produced several artifacts, including a citizen science information system (NLNature), design principles (guidelines) for the development of crowdsourcing projects, and an instance-based crowdsourcing design theory. We also made several methodological contributions related to the process of design science research and behavioral research in information systems. Over the course of the project, we addressed several challenges in designing crowdsourcing systems, formulating design principles, and conducting rigorous design science research. Specifically, we showed that: design choices can have a sizable impact in the real world; it can be unclear how to implement design principles; and design features that are unrelated to design principles can confound efforts to evaluate artifacts. During the project, we also experienced challenges for which no adequate solution was found, reaffirming that design is an iterative process.
Building on the theory of information processing, this study investigates the moderation effect of green information system in shaping the impacts of supplier integration and customer orientation on green innovation. This study used survey data (231 sample firms) to empirically test the proposed conceptual model. The results from the structural equation modeling estimation confirm the important role of supply chain integration in improving organizational green innovations. More importantly, the positive effects of supply chain integration, i.e., supplier integration and customer orientation, are more significant when aligned with an effective green information system. This study contributes to the literature by studying the moderation effect of green information system in improving the effect of supply chain integration on green innovations and provides a guideline for practitioners to invest in green information systems to facilitate smooth communication and information sharing across the supply chain for green innovations.
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This doctoral thesis consists of six research papers presented in Chapters II, III, and IV and thereby contributes to scientific knowledge in Green IS and ICT4D research. The included six research papers address topics and questions on an individual, organizational, and societal level. As such, presented models and approaches investigate how to contribute to sustainability issues occurring on all three levels. As sustainability will continue to play an essential role in the upcoming years, this doctoral thesis hopefully provides valuable theoretical and practical insights.
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Research in IT must address the design tasks faced by practitioners. Real problems must be properly conceptualized and represented, appropriate techniques for their solution must be constructed, and solutions must be implemented and evaluated using appropriate criteria. If significant progress is to be made, IT research must also develop an understanding of how and why IT systems work or do not work. Such an understanding must tie together natural laws governing IT systems with natural laws governing the environments in which they operate. This paper presents a two dimensional framework for research in information technology. The first dimension is based on broad types of design and natural science research activities: build, evaluate, theorize, and justify. The second dimension is based on broad types of outputs produced by design research: representational constructs, models, methods, and instantiations. We argue that both design science and natural science activities are needed to insure that IT research is both relevant and effective.
Conference Paper
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While many corporations and individuals realize that environmental sustainability is an urgent problem to address, the academic community has been slow to acknowledge the problem and take action. We contribute to the emerging academic discussion by proposing a new approach for engaging in the analysis of environmentally sustainable business processes. Specifically, we propose an approach for measuring the carbon dioxide emissions produced during the execution of a business process, and apply this approach in a real-life case of a Direct Invoicing process at a Corporate Services provider. We show how this information can be leveraged in the re-design of "green" business processes.
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Two paradigms characterize much of the research in the Information Systems discipline: behavioral science and design science. The behavioral-science paradigm seeks to develop and verify theories that explain or predict human or organizational behavior. The design-science paradigm seeks to extend the boundaries of human and organizational capabilities by creating new and innovative artifacts. Both paradigms are foundational to the IS discipline, positioned as it is at the confluence of people, organizations, and technology. Our objective is to describe the performance of design-science research in Information Systems via a concise conceptual framework and clear guidelines for understanding, executing, and evaluating the research. In the design-science paradigm, knowledge and understanding of a problem domain and its solution are achieved in the building and application of the designed artifact. Three recent exemplars in the research literature are used to demonstrate the application of these guidelines. We conclude with an analysis of the challenges of performing high-quality design-science research in the context of the broader IS community.
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Individuals, organizations, and governments are increasingly becoming aware of the necessity of sustainability in living, organizing, performing, and managing work. In this context, “green IS” has become an established colloquial term, acknowledging that information technology, corporate information systems, and the surrounding practices are both a contributor to the sustainability challenge and a potential enabler for green and sustainable practices. To date, however, there are few reported studies on the role of information systems for the challenge, and solution, of sustainability. This paper presents results from a case study of a world-wide operating IT software solution provider that is engaged in the development and adoption of sustainable practices. Our study suggests that the adoption of sustainable practices comes along with a number of particularities. We found information technology to be a key enabler of transparency about the progress of sustainability operations. We further found personal, motivator factors as well as organizational factors such as business inclusion, strategy definition, and a dialectic top-management and bottom-up support, to play a role in enabling a company to manage their sustainability. We describe a set of conjectures forthcoming from our case analysis, and detail some implications for further research in this area.
Googling the term “Business Process Management†in May 2008 yields some 6.4 million hits, the great majority of which (based on sampling) seem to concern the so-called BPM software systems. This is ironic and unfortunate, because in fact IT in general, and such BPM systems in particular, is at most a peripheral aspect of Business Process Management. In fact, Business Process Management (BPM) is a comprehensive system for managing and transforming organizational operations, based on what is arguably the first set of new ideas about organizational performance since the Industrial Revolution.
Googling the term “Business Process Management” in May 2008 yields some 6.4 million hits, the great majority of which (based on sampling) seem to concern the so-called BPM software systems. This is ironic and unfortunate, because in fact IT in general, and such BPM systems in particular, is at most a peripheral aspect of Business Process Management. In fact, Business Process Management (BPM) is a comprehensive system for managing and transforming organizational operations, based on what is arguably the first set of new ideas about organizational performance since the Industrial Revolution.
While many corporations and Information Systems units recognize that environmental sustainability is an urgent problem to address, the IS academic community has been slow to acknowledge the problem and take action. We propose ways for the IS community to engage in the development of environmentally sustainable business practices. Specifially, as IS researchers, educators, journal editors, and association leaders, we need to demonstrate how the transformative power of IS can be leveraged to create an ecologically sustainable society. In this Issues and Opinions piece, we advocate a research agenda to establish a new subfield of energy informatics, which applies information systems thinking and skills to increase energy efficiency. We also articulate how IS scholars can incorporate environmental sustainability as an underlying foundation in their teaching, and how IS leaders can embrace environmentalsustainability in their core principles and foster changes that reduce the environmental impact of our community.
Untersuchung des Potentials von rechenzentrenübergreifendem Lastmanagement zur Reduzierung des Energieverbrauchs in der IKT
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