CFP: Special issues in the ISJ and the EJISDC on Digital Transformation in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities

Call for papers

Digital Transformation in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities.

Special Issues in Information Systems Journal & Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries

Recent surveys show that Latin America is home to approximately 10% of the world’s population and possesses nearly 10% of its wealth. This data alone should be enough to justify the importance of the region and stimulate new research on the impact of digital technologies in transforming economies, societies, and organizations in Latin America. The salience of research on this area is heightened as organizations today – not only in Latin America but around the world – face a major strategic challenge: adapting to compete in the digital economy (Brenner, 2018; Ansong & Boateng. 2019). Indeed, organizations in Latin America and elsewhere must deal with new and unexpected consumer behavior, omni-channels, the growing influence of social media, new competitors with innovative business models, the integration of digital natives with older employees, and the influx of new technologies (such as IoT, 5G, machine learning, robotics, and blockchain, among others).

Regardless of the issues of digital transformation shared by Latin America with other countries and economies, there are unique nuances to the digital transformation that is taking place in Latin America. Being a developing region, it faces unique political, social, and economic issues[1] that shape the digital transformation and make it distinct as compared to other regions around the world. This uniqueness demands original scholarly insights into the nature of digital transformation in Latin America, especially considering the observation that Information Technology (IT) implementation has been of paramount importance for the development of the region (see, for instance, Avgerou, 2003; Avgerou, 2008; Avgerou & Walsham, 2017; Markus & Rowe, 2018). Indeed, the digital transformation potential for the development of regions such as Latin America is no longer in doubt, as several scholars have expounded on the developmental impacts accrued from IT endeavors (see, for instance, Davison et al., 2000; Joia & Zamot, 2002; Macadar & Reinhardt, 2002; Silva & Figueroa, 2002; Mariscal, 2005; Romo-Rodríguez, 2005; Unwin & Unwin, 2009; Guimón de Ros & Agapitova, 2013; Walsham, 2017; Markus & Rowe, 2018).

The need for research on digital transformation of Latin America gains further importance given the fact that IT projects in Latin America (as well as other emerging markets) striving for the development of the regions are far from being a universal success, as several of them have fallen short of their intended outcomes (Avgerou & Walsham, 2000; Ciborra, 2005; Zhu & Kindarto, 2016; Karunaratne et al., 2018; Eja & Ramegowda, 2020). Thus, it is important that scholars identify and investigate the research questions that address the digital transformation for development in Latin America. For example, a fundamental question that can be asked is: what does “development” mean for Latin Americans (Escobar, 1995; Zheng, 2018)? While cross-cultural research addressing digital transformation for development in emerging markets is profoundly important, does the word “development” have the same meaning for Latin America as compared to other, already developed, countries? In addition, how can one take advantage of cross-cultural studies regarding digital transformation for development in Latin America (Stahl, 2006; Flath et al., 2017)? Undoubtedly, there are unique aspects to the Latin American culture and context that are well worth investigating, modelling, and using as a basis for theory development on digital transformation in emerging markets. These theories may extend existing theories adapted specifically to the Latin American context, or they may be entirely new theories that are needed to explain organizational or socioeconomic phenomena in Latin America (Davison & Martisons, 2016).

These special issues of the Information Systems Journal (ISJ) and the Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC) aim to address and answer such questions in the following call for papers: Digital Transformation in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities. The main objective of these special issues is to address the potentialities of digital transformation for development in Latin America as well as highlight the possible obstacles to implement digital transformation in the public and business administration areas in Latin America. Therefore, these special issues look for papers which take the Latin American context into account and shed light on the peculiarities of the Latin American context on the success or failure of digital transformation initiatives in public and business administration in the region. That way, in these issues, the context is paramount. However, it must be considered not only in a descriptive way, but  also to explain the results obtained (Davison & Martinsons, 2016).

Topics of interest:

The topics of interest for those special issues  include (but are not limited to):

  • New indigenous theories that enhance the understanding on the adoption and diffusion of digital technologies in the Latin American context.
  • Pros and cons of digital transformation initiatives in Latin America.
  • The impact of digital transformation for society, organizations, and individuals in Latin America.
  • Critical perspectives on digital transformation and their impact in the Latin American context.
  • Critical views of the consequences of IT-enabled new work arrangements on workers and society in Latin America.         
  • The dark side of digital transformation in Latin America, including addiction, victimization, surveillance.
  • Social media and digital collaboration for political participation and societal changes in Latin America.
  • The impact of digital divide in the adoption and diffusion of new digital technologies in Latin America.
  • The impact of digital transformation on issues of (in)equality and on marginalized groups in Latin America.
  • Inclusive digital initiatives in Latin America.
  • Smart cities in Latin America.
  • Digital transformation and the GIG economy in Latin America.
  • Digital transformation to manage and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America.
  • Digital Transformation for a greener society, government, and/or industry in Latin America.
  • The contribution of IT for climate change mitigation in Latin America.    
  • The impact of artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning adoption in Latin America – challenges and opportunities.
  • Fintechs and financial inclusion in Latin America.
  • Cryptocurrencies, digital money, and IT-enabled community currencies in Latin America.
  • Implications of blockchain and distributed ledger technology in the Latin American context.

Submission Instruction:

All submissions must be made via the ISJ and EJISDC websites no later than October 31st, 2021:

Please note that while authors may submit their paper to either the ISJ or the EJISDC special issue, the editors have the discretion to reassign a paper to the other journal if they believe that the fit is better, though this will only be done with the consent of the authors.

Guest Editors:

  • Prof. Luiz A. Joia, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil
  • Prof. Sutirtha (Suti) Chatterjee, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Prof. Guillermo Rodriguez Abitia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)
  • Prof. Alexandre Graeml, Federal University of Technology of Paraná, Brazil


  • Ansong, E., & Boateng, R. (2019). Surviving in the digital era–business models of digital enterprises in a developing economy. Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance.
  • Avgerou, C., & Walsham, G. (2000). Introduction: IT in developing countries. Information technology in context: Studies from the perspective of developing countries, 1, 1-7.
  • Avgerou, C. (2003). The link between ICT and economic growth in the discourse of development. In Organizational information systems in the context of globalization (pp. 373-386). Springer, Boston, MA.
  • Avgerou, C. (2008). Information systems in developing countries: a critical research review. Journal of Information Technology, 23(3), 133-146.
  • Avgerou, C., & Walsham, G. (2017). Information Technology in Context: Implementing Systems in the Developing World (eds.). Routledge.
  • Brenner, B. (2018). Transformative sustainable business models in the light of the digital imperative—A global business economics perspective. Sustainability, 10(12), 4428.
  • Ciborra, C. (2005) Interpreting e-government and development: Efficiency, transparency, or governance at a distance? Information Technology and People, 18(3), 260-279.
  • Davison, R., Vogel, D., Harris, R., & Jones, N. (2000). Technology leapfrogging in developing countries–an inevitable luxury? Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 1(1), 1-10.
  • Davison, R. M., & Martinsons, M. G. (2016). Context is king! Considering particularism in research design and reporting. Journal of Information Technology, 31(3), 241-249.
  • Eja, K. M., & Ramegowda, M. (2020). Government project failure in developing countries: A review with particular reference to Nigeria. Global Journal of Social Sciences, 19, 35-47.
  • Escobar A. (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Flath, C. M., Friesike, S., Wirth, M., & Thiesse, F. (2017). Copy, transform, combine: exploring the remix as a form of innovation. Journal of Information Technology, 32(4), 306-325.
  • Guimón de Ros, J., & Agapitova, N. (2013). Why should governments of developing countries invest in R&D and innovation? African Journal of Business Management, 7(12), 899-905.
  • Joia L.A., & Zamot F.S. (2002). Internet-Based Reverse Auctions by the Brazilian Government. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 9, 6, 1-12.
  • Karunaratne, T., Peiris, C., & Hansson, H. (2018). Implementing small scale ICT projects in developing countries–how challenging is it? International Journal of Education and Development using ICT, 14(1).
  • Macadar, M.A., & Reinhardt, N. (2002). Telecentros Comunitários Possibilitando a Inclusão Digital: Um Estudo de Caso Comparativo de Iniciativas Brasileiras, 26. Encontro da Associação Nacional de Programas de Pós-Graduação em Administração, Salvador, Brasil.
  • Markus, M. L., & Rowe, F. (2018). Is IT changing the world? Conceptions of causality for information systems theorizing. MIS Quarterly, 42(4), 1255-1280.
  • Mariscal, J. (2005) Digital Divide in a Developing Country, Telecommunications Policy, 29, 409-428.
  • Romo-Rodríguez, G. (2005) Information and Communication Technologies and Non-Governmental Organisations: Lessons Learned from Networking in México, Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 21, 3, 1-29.
  • Sen, A. (1999).Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK
  • Silva, L., & Figueroa, E.B. (2002) Institutional Intervention and the Expansion of ICTs in Latin America: The Case of Chile. Information Technology and People, 15, 1, 8-25
  • Stahl, B.C. (2006) Emancipation in Cross-Cultural IS Research: The Fine Line between Relativism and Dictatorship of the Intellectual, Ethics and Information Technology, 8, 97-108.
  • Unwin, P. T. H., & Unwin, T. (Eds.). (2009). ICT4D: Information and communication technology for development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Walsham, G. (2017). ICT4D Research: Reflections on History and Future Agenda. Information Technology for Development, 23(1), 18-41.
  • Zheng, Y., Hatakka, M., Sahay, S., & Andersson, A. (2018). Conceptualizing development in information and communication technology for development (ICT4D). Information Technology for Development, 24(1), 1-14.
  • Zhu, Y. Q., & Kindarto, A. (2016). A garbage can model of government IT project failures in developing countries: The effects of leadership, decision structure and team competence. Government Information Quarterly, 33(4), 629-637.

[1]    For example, nearly 50% of the inhabitants of Latin America live in dire poverty, without access to clean water, adequate housing, and education. In other words, they are unable to satisfy their basic human needs and, worse still, they do not even have the opportunity and freedom to make important choices in their own lives (Sen, 1999).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *