Improving a Framework on Green IT/IS Adoption

  • Master Thesis Business Information Systems


The effects of globalized industrialization on the natural environment are becoming increasingly imminent. Greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. through industrial production, use of combustion engines in vehicles) cause rising atmosphere and ocean temperatures (IPCC, 2014; Winston, 2018), as well as the melting of glaciers and polar caps, which lead to rising sea levels and more frequent potentially dangerous weather-related phenomena (Disparte, 2017; IPCC, 2014; Statista, 2018a). Also, mining for valuable and rare minerals, as well as using toxic or hazardous materials, have severe consequences for soil and groundwater (Cook & Jardim, 2017; IPCC, 2014). In consequence, protecting the natural environment is one of the toughest and most imminent challenges for modern society.

To address these environmental – and thus also social – challenges, many organizations have begun to consider economic as well as environmental concerns (Molla, Cooper, & Pittayachawan, 2009; Opitz, Krüp, & Kolbe, 2014). Many organizations implement directly measurable policy, product, or process changes, which are fairly straightforward practices (Brockhaus, Fawcett, Knemeyer, & Fawcett, 2017). Others have begun to either undergo deeper changes (e.g. making financial tradeoffs between profitability and sustainability, invest in more sustainable production), or have environmental concerns deeply rooted in their corporate DNA, driven by a founder or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who feels that sustainability is “the right thing to do” (p. 942).

Information technology (IT) is a key part of this sustainability discussion, since it can be both part of the problem and part of the solution (the sustainability duality of IT) (Molla, Pittayachawan, Corbitt, & Deng, 2009). On the one hand, modern society is characterized by a growing demand for digital products (Statista, 2018b), with ever-shorter innovation cycles (Molla, Pittayachawan, et al., 2009) that result in higher resource and energy consumption and, thus, higher environmental pollution (Kuo & Dick, 2010; Molla, Cooper, et al., 2009). On the other hand, IT - as an enabler of business and technology innovation - can also help to solve sustainability issues and be a “source of solutions to environmental sustainability” (Kuo & Dick, 2010, p. 1), which can then be used to reduce an organization’s overall resource and energy consumption (Erek, Schmidt, Zarnekow, & Kolbe, 2009).

Green IT, for instance, is an umbrella term for specific IT measures and initiatives “which decrease environmental impact of [IT] manufacturing, operations, and disposal” (Loeser, 2013, p. 6) (e.g. smart grids, building management systems, or teleworking technologies) (Deng, Ji, & Wang, 2017). Green IS, while seemingly similar, is more extensive. This concept also includes the promotion of greener business practices as well as the “investment in, deployment, use and management” (Loeser, 2013, p. 6) of IS. Both Green IT and Green IS may not directly contribute to an organization’s eco-sustainability (Hilpert, Kranz, & Schumann, 2014), since both are rather “enablers for resource-efficient processes”.

The academic community is seeking to better understand Green IT/IS, as well as their implications, effects, and outcomes in organizations. Schmermbeck (2019), for example developed a framework on organizational Green IT/IS adoption that integrates various theoretical models and frameworks in relation to environmental, sociological, organizational, and individual determinants and outcomes.

While the framework itself provides a structure for findings into the topics, we now offer students the opportunity further advance the framework and provide deeper insights into the presented factors and processes.

If you are interested in this interesting master thesis, please apply as soon as possible.


Brockhaus, S., Fawcett, S. E., Knemeyer, A. M., & Fawcett, A. M. (2017). Motivations for environmental and social consciousness: Reevaluating the sustainability-based view. Journal of Cleaner Production, 143, 933–947.

Cook, G., & Jardim, E. (2017). Guide to Greener Electronics 2017. Retrieved from Greenpeace Inc website:

Deng, Q., Ji, S., & Wang, Y. (2017). Green IT Practices across Industries: A Text-Mining based Analysis. AMCIS 2017 Proceedings. Presented at the AMCIS 2017.

Disparte, D. (2017). If You Think Fighting Climate Change Will Be Expensive, Calculate the Cost of Letting It Happen (Whitepaper). Harvard Business Review.

Erek, K., Schmidt, N.-H., Zarnekow, R., & Kolbe, L. M. (2009). Sustainability in information systems: assortment of current practices in IS organizations. AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. Presented at the AMCIS 2009.

Hilpert, H., Kranz, J., & Schumann, M. (2014). An Information system design theory for green information systems for sustainability reporting-integrating theory with evidence from multiple case studies. ECIS 2014 Proceedings. Presented at the ECIS 2014.

IPCC. (2014). Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Geneva, Switzerland.

Kuo, B. N., & Dick, G. N. (2010). Organizational Green IT: It seems the bottom line rules. AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. Presented at the AMCIS 2010.

Loeser, F. (2013). Green IT and Green IS: Definition of constructs and overview of current practices. AMCIS 2013 Proceedings. Presented at the AMCIS 2013.

Molla, A., Cooper, V. A., & Pittayachawan, S. (2009). IT and eco-sustainability: Developing and validating a green IT readiness model. ICIS 2009 Proceedings. Presented at the ICIS 2009.

Molla, A., Pittayachawan, S., Corbitt, B., & Deng, H. (2009). An international comparison of Green IT diffusion. International Journal of E-Business Management, 3(2).

Opitz, N., Krüp, H., & Kolbe, L. M. (2014). How to Govern your Green IT?-Validating a Contingency Theory Based Governance Model. PACIS 2014 Proceedings, 333.

Schmermbeck, H. (2019). On Making a Difference: Towards an Integrative Framework for Green IT and Green IS Adoption. Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). Presented at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).

Statista. (2018a). Annual anomalies in global land and ocean surface temperature from 1885 to 2017, based on temperature departure (in degrees Celsius). Retrieved from

Statista. (2018b). Umsatzanteil digital gefertigter Produkte im deutschen Mittelstand 2017. Retrieved from

Winston, A. (2018). The Scale of the Climate Catastrophe Will Depend on What Businesses Do Over the Next Decade (Whitepaper). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from