On the 10th anniversary of JISIB: Reflection on academic tribalism

klaus Solberg Söilen

Abstract


This is volume number 10, meaning JISIB has published articles in intelligence studies for ten consecutive years. We have addressed the changes in the discipline during these years in articles and notes. I want to share with you another reflection. This year I am a reviewer and a member of the organizing committee of two similar conferences. The first is the CI2020, a conference on collective intelligence with participants from many larger and well-known universities. The second is the ICI2020, this year with a focus on collective intelligence and foresight. There are many more conference and journals presenting and publishing on similar topics simultaneously, but in different networks. Science as a whole—the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of all mankind— would most likely be better off if at least some of these groups merged. That was also my impression when reviewing the extended abstracts for these two conferences. I also tried to see if members of the CI2010 conference would consider joining the other, but that seemed more difficult than first imagined. This is also about ownership and identity, which is not an entirely unfamiliar idea. The consequences of these tendencies are not favorable for the objects we study. The unnecessary division of networks that look at the same phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “academic tribalism.” Academic tribes become a barrier to learning and this can result in closemindedness1. This is also according to my own experience. Academic clustering is a similar mechanism whereby graduates from one institution favor those who come from the same institution, but there are also those universities that systematically refrain from this. Among these is Harvard University, which seldom hires their own PhDs, or so I have been told. If so, that is probably better for the progress of science. Where is it meaningful to draw a line between academic groups then? Everyone will agree that the natural sciences are quite different from the humanities. Between psychology and business though there is much overlap with psychology in business. Between accounting and management, a good understanding of how to manage a business requires the knowledge of income statements, balance sheets and how to set up a cash flow analysis. One way to think about division is if the method is different. According to this criterion most social scientists should be able to do each other’s work, and subsequently go to each other’s conferences. Another meaningful division is based on experience and the depth of specialization obtained by the discipline. This criterion is less precise. I do not pretend to have the answer, but I think it’s a pity that all these tribes exist, with their own buzzwords often studying more or less the same phenomenon, with the same methods. What distinguishes intelligence studies from other tribes is, in my opinion, first of all that we see that the private organization is better organized as an intelligence organization, with focus on information gathering and analysis. It has less to do with departments of marketing, HR or accounting, even though the one does not exclude the other. Another way is to see the intelligence organization as a superstructure, a layer that exists above all functional departments where the aim is to achieve a competitive advantage through better information. In this respect the need for CEOs is not unlike those of ministers of state. Now, is this perspective so radically different that it deserves its own tribe with its own journal and conferences? That is the important question. And in some way, I cannot help but think that learning would be better without them, that is, it would be better if it was all one big interchangeable group, going to one another’s conferences, and writing for each other’s journals. Science would benefit from it. From time to time I have also peeked over into other groups and joined their conferences. What is astonishing especially for an outsider is that you are immediately confronted with a pecking order that
1 Rogers, S. L., & Cage, A. G. (2017). Academic Tribalism and Subject Specialists as a Challenge to Teaching and Learning in Dual Honours Systems; a Qualitative Perspective From the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, Keele University, UK. Journal of Academic Development and Education, (8).
Journal of Intelligence Studies in Business Vol. 10, No 1 (2020) p. 4-5 Open Access: Freely available at: https://ojs.hh.se/


5 is related to who has been there the longest and published the most in the group. This cannot be an advantage for the advancement of science, I tell myself. But, then again, pecking orders seems to be the rule rather than the exception for most social creatures, not only chicken. The first article by Nasullaev et al., entitled “Technology intelligence practices in SMEs: evidence from Estonia,” is on operationalization of technology intelligence practices by small firms in catching-up economies. Their analysis reveals that elements of technology intelligence in large and small companies are similar. Furthermore, they conclude that there is no unique set of technology intelligence. The second article by Nguyen entitled “The effects of cross-functional coordination and competition on knowledge sharing and organisational innovativeness: A qualitative study in a transition economy” reveals the potentially significant effect of coopetition (i.e., the simultaneous coordination and competition) on the degree of knowledge sharing between marketing and other departments in business organisations. The enhanced knowledge sharing can, according to author, positively improve organisational innovativeness. The third article by Hendar et al. entitled “Market intelligence on business performance: the mediating role of specialized marketing capabilities” integrates market intelligence dimensions and one dimension of marketing capabilities, i.e. specialized marketing capabilities (SMC), into an empirical model to try to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between market intelligence and SMC and how these factors shape business performance (BP). The study suggests that owners or managers of SMEs recognize that important market intelligence factors are increasing SMC and BP. This helps them make better investment decisions in developing the right combination SMC to increase BP. The fourth article, by Zafary, is entitled “Implementation of business intelligence considering the role of information systems integration and enterprise resource planning”. It shows the value of integrated information systems and enterprise resource planning in the success of business intelligence implementation. The author concludes that organizations should pay more attention to their working processes to improve business intelligence success. The fifth and last article is an opinion piece by Barnea. The title is “How will AI change intelligence and decision making?” In the article Barnea argues that with increased attention on artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, the value of the human factor will not become redundant but rather improve its use. Furthermore, in the future AI will be significant to analysis and predictions in advance of competitors’ moves and delivering early warning signals of threats both in the private sector as well as in state services. In the last issue of JISIB we said we were looking forward to a meeting in Bad Nauheim for the ICI2020. Now due to the Corona pandemic the conference will be held online, but we still hope to see you, on video camera, that is. As always, we would above all like to thank the authors for their contributions to this issue of JISIB. Thanks to Dr. Allison Perrigo for reviewing English grammar and helping with layout design for all articles.
On behalf of the Editorial Board, 

Keywords


Market Market Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, Information Systems, Geo-Economics

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.37380/jisib.v1i1.559

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