Document Type


Publication Date



The term affordance appears with increasing frequency in the Information Systems (IS) literature. Nevertheless, those who study information technologies/information systems (IT/IS) via the affordance lens often have different views about its origin, meaning, and appropriate application in IS research. In turn, not spelling out the related assumptions and boundaries inherent in these diverse views may have hindered a wider and more cumulative adoption of the affordance lens in IS research. This paper offers a potential solution by (1) synthesizing the ecological psychology literature to suggest five key modules of the affordance concept relevant to IS research and (2) taking stock of IS research that has employed the affordance concept and classifying it according to its focus on three key affordance elements: IT artifact, user, and context. Finally, this paper presents a set of challenges, opportunities, and recommendations regarding how IS researchers can advance affordance-based research in the field.


This file is the unedited version of a manuscript that has been accepted for publication in The Data Base for Advances in Information Systems. Feel free to distribute this file to those interested in reading about this forthcoming research. Please note that the final version that will be published in press will undergo a copyediting and technical editing process that will result in minor changes to the file. To view the final version of this manuscript, visit the publication’s archive in the ACM Digital Library at

Recommended Citation

Mesgari, M., Mohajeri, K., Azad, B. (Forthcoming). Affordances and Information Systems Research: Taking Stock and Moving Forward. The Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, In Press.