Steven Sawyer

Professor, Director of the Doctoral Programs, and Core Faculty of Renée Crown Honors Program
344 Hinds Hall
Phone: (315) 443-6147
Steven Sawyer

My research builds on and advances the social informatics tradition through particular attention to the ways in which people organize to work together and use information and communication technologies.

I am looking for a doctoral student to work with me beginning in Fall, 2020.

The courses I lead focus student’s attention to the design, development and implementation of information systems, managing projects and systems, and to the roles of information and communication technologies relative to organizational and social change.

Educational Background

1995 D.B.A. Management Information Systems, Boston University

1989 M.S. Management Information Systems, Boston University

1986 M.S. Ocean Engineering, University of Rhode Island

1982 B.S. Marine Transportation, The United States Merchant Marine Academy (with honors)


My research focuses on the design, development, deployment and uses of information technologies and new forms of information-sharing systems. In doing this I also advance social informatics (and, more broadly, socio-technical principles for studying information and communication technologies) by focusing on social practices, collective action, the roles and functions of the technologies and systems of information sharing, and the institutional contexts in which these happen.

Current research projects include:

Distributed scientific collaborations, working with and sharing data, and scientific data repositories.

Nomadic work, project-based (gig) work, and the technological skills (e.g., infrastructural competency), contingent work, and new ways of organizing.

Recently completed projects:

Information sharing in policing and public-safety

Uses of information and communication technologies in real estate

Information sharing and innovation networks (through both formal and informal organizing)


My focal interests in working and using digital technologies drives my interdisciplinary scholarship.

As such , I am involved in both the iSchool’s efforts to create a broad space and the specific efforts of a great group of scholars involved in the consortium for the sciences of sociotechnical systems (or “CSST,” see for more).

My professional associations include:

  •  Academy of Management
  • Occupations, Organizations and Work (OOW)
  • Organizational Communications and Information Systems (OCIS)
  • American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST)
  • Special Interest Group on Social Informatics (SIGSI)
  • American Sociological Association
  • Computers and Information Technology Section (CITAMS)
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (SIGCAS)
  • Association for Information Systems (AIS)
  • International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP)
  • Working Group 8.2 (Information Systems in Organizations and Society)
  • Working Group 9.1 (Computers and Work)
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S)

Editorial roles include:

  • Senior Editor (reporting to Editors-in-Chief), Journal of Information Technology (since 2008, member of the board since 2000).
  • Associate Editor (reporting to Editor-in-Chief), The Information Society (since 2000).
  • Member of the editorial board, Journal of the Association of Information Systems (since 2017).
  • Member of the editorial board, New Technology, Work, and Employment (since 2014)
  • Member of the editorial board, Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology (since 2009).

My approach to teaching is constructivist and relies on the principles of problem-based learning.

This approach challenges the students and invigorates the learning experience, but its not so great if you’re a student looking for powerpoint lectures and other forms of edutainment.Sawyer leads courses for undergraduate honors students, professional masters, and doctoral students. Courses include the future of work, managing information-based organizations, and doctoral seminars and workshops on sociotechnical systems and social informatics. My executive education courses focus on strategic and tactical opportunities relative to emerging technologies.


I enjoy my family, cultural opportunities, being outdoors, sporting events – and to doing these in the four seasons that Central New York showcases so magnificently.



Crowston, K., Sawyer, S., and Wingand R., (2015) “Social Networks and the Success of Market Intermediaries: Evidence of US Residential Real Estate Industry,” The Information Society.

Sawyer, S., Fedorowicz, J. and Tomisano, R. (2015) “Patterns of Governance among Inter-organizational Coordination Hubs,” Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Information Systems, FT. Worth, TX, December 13-15, ACM Press.


Erickson, I., Jarrahi, M., Thomson, L., Sawyer, S. (2014) “More than Nomads: Mobility, Knowledge Work, and Infrastructure” EGOS 2014..

Sawyer, S. Crowston, K., and Wingand, R., (2014) “Digital assemblages: evidence and thoerising from the computerisation of the US residential real estate industry” New Technology, Work and Employment, 29:1.

Sawyer, S. and Hartswood, M (2014) “Advancing Social Informatics,” in Rosenbaum, H. and Fichman, P. (Eds.) Social Informatics: Past, Present and Future, Cambridge Scholarly Publications, Cambridge, UK.

Sawyer, S. and Jarrahi, M. (2014) “The Sociotechnical Perspecctive,” in Tucker, A and Topi H. (Ed), 5-1-5-27, crc Handbook of Computing, Chapman and Hall, New York.


Sawyer, S., and Hossein Jarrahi, M. (2013) “Theorizing on the Take-up of Social Technologies, Organizational Policies and Norms, and Consultant’s Knowledge-Sharing Practices,” Journal of the Association for Information Sciences and Technology.

Sawyer, S., Fedorowicz, L., Williams, C., Schrier, R., Dias, M. and Tyworth, M., (2013) “U.S. public safety networks: Architectural patterns and performance,” Information Polity, 18, 139–156.

Jarrahi, M. H. and Sawyer, S. (2013) “Social Technologies, Informal Knowledge Practices, and the Enterprise, Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, in press.  PDF

Sawyer, S. and Jarrahi, M. (2013) “The Sociotechnical Perspective,” in Tucker, A. and Topi, H. (Ed) CRC Handbook of Computing, Chapman and Hall, in press. PDF


Fedorowicz, J. and Sawyer, S. (2012) Designing Collaborative Networks: Lessons Learned from Public Safety, IBM Center for the Business of Government, Collaborating Across Boundaries Series, July, 2012, Arlington, VA. PDF

Wiggins, A. and Sawyer, S. (2012) “Intellectual Diversity in iSchools, Evidence from Faculty Compo-sition.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology63(1), 8-21. PDF

Sawyer, S., Oesterlund, C. and Kaziunas, E. (2012) “Social Scientists and Cyberinfrastructure: Insights from a Document Perspective,” Mark, G., Riedl, J. and Grudin, J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 2012 Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Work, February, 11-15, Seattle, ACM press.  PDF


Holmström, J. and Sawyer, S. (2011) “Exploring Information Systems Developers’ Black-Boxing of the Emergent Character of Requirements.” European Journal of Information Systems20(1), 34-47. PDF

Briscoe, F., Wardell, M. and Sawyer, S. (2011) “Membership has its Privileges? Contracting and Access to Jobs that Accommodate Work-Life Needs,” Industrial & Labor Relations Review64(2), 258-282. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Winter, S. (2011) “Special Issue on the Future of Information Systems: Prometheus Unbound” Journal of Information Technology26(4), 4-9. PDF

Sawyer, S., Griffith, M., Light, B. and Lincoln, S. (2011) “Constructing, Deconstructing and Negotiating the Boundaries of Digital Cultures,” Information Technology & People, 24(1), 4-9. PDF


Lee, H. and Sawyer, S. (2010) “Conceptualizing Time, Space and Computing for Work and Organizing,” Time and Society19(3), 293-317. PDF

Sawyer, S., Cooprider, J. and Guinan, P., (2010) “Social Interactions of Information Systems Development Teams: A Performance Perspective,” Information Systems Journal, 20(1), 81-107. PDF


Fedorowicz, L., Dias, M. and Sawyer, S. (2009) “Design in Digital Government Research, Chun, S. E., Sandoval, R. and Regan, P. (eds.) Proceedings of the 2009 Digital Government Conference, May 17-20, Puebla, Mexico, ACM press..

Williams, C., Fedorowicz, J., Dias, M., Jacobson, D., and Vilviosky, S., Sawyer, S., and Tyworth, M. (2009) “The Formation of Inter-Organizational Information Sharing Networks in Public Safety: Cartographic Insights on Rational Choice and Institutional Explanations,” Information Polity, 14(1-2), 13-29. PDF


Williams, C., Sawyer, S., Fedorowicz, J., Markus, M., Dias, M., Jacobson, D., Tyworth, M., Vilviosky, S., (2008) “Mapping Theory to Practice: A Cartographic Analysis of Public Safety Networks” in Janssen, M., Chun, S. E. and Gil-Garcia, R. (eds.) Proceedings of the 2008 Digital Government (D.Go) Conference, May 18-21, Montreal, Canada, ACM press..

Sawyer, S., Rosenbaum, H., (2008) “I-Schools: Mice Roaring or the Future is Now Arriving?” I-Conference 2008..

Tyworth, M., Sawyer, S. (2008) “Social Informatics: Locating the Artifact in Socio-Technical Theory) SIG-SI Social Informatics Research Symposium 2008..

Sawyer, S., (2008) “Data Wealth, Data Poverty, Science, and Cyberinfrastructure,” Prometheus, 26(4), 357-371. PDF

Sawyer, S, Hinnant, C. and Rizzuto, T., (2008) “Planning for Platforms: Pennsylvania’s Transition to Enterprise Computing as a Study in Strategic Alignment,” Government Information Quarterly, 25, 645-668.  PDF

Sawyer, S. and Yi, F. (2008) “The Computerization of Service: Evidence of the Effects of Information and Communication Technologies in Real Estate,” in Davidson, E., Barrett, M., and DeGross, J. (Eds) IT and Change in the Service Economy: Challenges and Possibilities for the 21st Century, London: Kluwer, 199-212. PDF


Salazar, A. and Sawyer, S. (Eds.) (2007), Handbook of Information Technology in Organizations and Electronic Markets, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing. PDF

Salazar, A. and Sawyer, S. (2007) “Introduction,” in Salazar, A. and Sawyer, S. (Eds.), Handbook of Information Technology in Organizations and Electronic Markets, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 1-12. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Huang, H., (2007) “Conceptualizing Information, Technology and People: Comparing Information Science and Information Systems Literatures,” Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, 58(10), 1436-1447. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Tapia, A., (2007) “From Findings to Theories: Speculating on the Future of Social Informatics” The Information Society, 23(4), 263-277. PDF

Sawyer, S. (2007) “Robert Lamb – On the Way,” The Information Society 23(5), 307-308. PDF


Tyworth, Michael, Sawyer, Steve, “Organic Development: A Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approach to Design of Public Sector Information Systems” (2006)..

Sawyer, S., Hinnant, C., and Rizzuto, T. (2006) “Platforms and Planning: Pennsylvania’s Transition to Enterprise Computing,” in D. Garson (Ed.), Public Information Technology and E-Governance: Managing the Virtual State, Bartlet and Jones, 341-348..

Tyworth, M. and Sawyer, S. (May, 2006) “Integrated Criminal Justice System Design: Designing an Appropriate Governance Structures,” Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, 13-17 May, Newark, NJ, in press..

Wardell, M., Sawyer, S., Reagor, S. and Mitory, J., (2006) “Women in the United States’ IT Workforce: Current Status and Issues” Labor & Industry, 11(2), 39-58. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Tapia, A., (2006) “Always Articulating: Theorizing on Mobile and Wireless Technologies” The Information Society, 22(5), 311-323. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Annabi, H. (2006) “Methods as Theories: Evidence and Arguments for Theorizing on Software Development,” In Trauth, E., Howcraft, D. and DeGross, J. (Eds.) Social Inclusion in the Information Society, London, Kluwer, 397-412. PDF

Hinnant, C. and Sawyer, S. (2006) Digital Government: Technological Innovation in Public Organizations” in Anttiroiko, A. and Malkia, M. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Digital Government, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Press, 571-580. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Tyworth, M. (2006) “Social Informatics: Principles, Theories and Opportunities,” in Berluer, J., Nurminen, M. and Impagliazzo, J. (Eds.) Social Informatics: An Information Society for All? In Remembrance of Rob Kling. London, Springer, 49-62. PDF

Thomas, J., Von Dran, R. and Sawyer, S. (2006) “The i-Conference and the Transformation Ahead,” Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, April/ May, American Society for Information Science and Technology. Available online at:


“Electronic Government: Strategies and Research in the U.S,” Khrosowspour, M. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 155-164..

Sawyer, S., Reagor, S., Tyworth, M. and Thomas, J. (March, 2005) “From Response to Foresight: Managing Knowledge and Integrated Criminal Justice,” in Newell. S. and Galliers R. (eds.) Proceedings of the 2005 Organizational Learning and Knowledge Capabilities Conference, Cambridge, MA, 17-19 March, 2005, Bentley College..

Sawyer, Steve, Tyworth, Michael, “Integrated Criminal Justice Systems: Designing Effective Systems for Inter-organizational Action” (2005) ICJ 2005..

Kling, R., Rosenbaum, H. and Sawyer, S. (2005), Understanding and Communicating Social Informatics: A Framework for Studying and Teaching the Human Contexts of Information and Communication Technologies. Medford, NJ: Information Today.  Second printing in 2008. PDF

Sawyer, S., Wigand, R. and Crowston, K., (2005) “Redefining Access: Uses and Roles of Information and Communications Technologies in the Residential Real Estate Industry from 1995-2005,” Journal of Information Technology, 20(4), 3-14. PDF

Lamb, R. and Sawyer, S., (2005) “On Extending Social Informatics from a Rich Legacy of Networks and Conceptual Resources,” Information Technology & People, 18(1), 9-20. PDF

Tapia, A. and Sawyer, S., (2005) “The Sociotechnical Nature of Mobile Computing Work: Evidence from a Study of Policing in the United States,” International Journal of Technology & Human Interaction, 1(3), 1-14.  PDF

An updated version of this appears in: Stahl, B. (2007) Issues and Trends in Technology and Human Interaction, Idea Group, Hershey, PA, 152-171.

This is reprinted as Chapter 28 in Volume 5 of: Taniar, D. (ed) (2008) Mobile Computing: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, Information Science Reference, Hershey, PA.

Tapia, A. and Sawyer, S. (2005) “Beliefs about Computing: Contrary Evidence from a Study of Mobile Computing Use” in Lytinnen, K., Yoo, Y. and DeGross, J. (Eds), Designing Ubiquitous Information Environments Sociotechnical Issues and Challenges. London: Kluwer, 21-40. PDF

Sawyer, S. (2005) “Social Informatics and Consumer Health: Opportunities and Issues” in Lewis, D., Eysenbach, G., Kukafka, R., Stavri, Z. and Jimison, H. Consumer Health Informatics. New York: Springer-Verlag, 150-161. PDF

Sawyer, S. (2005) “Social Informatics: Principles and Opportunities,” Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, June/ July, American Society for Information Science and Technology, 2-6. Available online at:


Sawyer, S., (2004) “Software Development Teams: Three Archetypes and their Differences.” Communications of the ACM, 17(12), 92-97. PDF

Lyytinen, K, Yoo, Y., Varshney, U, Ackerman, M, Davis, G., Avital, M., Robey, D., Sawyer, S. and Sorenson, C., (2004) “Surfing the Next Wave: Design and Implementation Challenges of Ubiquitous Computing Environments.” Communications of the AIS13, 697-716. Available online at URL:

Sawyer, S. Tapia, A., Pesheck, L, and Davenport, J., (2004) “Observations on Mobility and the First Responder,” Communications of the ACM, 47(3), 62-66. (10th most downloaded article from ACM digital library in August, 2004). PDF

Sawyer, S. and Crowston, K. (2004) “Information Systems in Organizations and Society: Speculating on the Next 25 Years,” in Bonnie K., Truex, D., Wastell, D. and Wood-Harper, T. (Eds.) Relevant Theory and Informed Practice: Looking Forward from a 20 Year Perspective on IS Research, London: Kluwer, 35-52. PDF


Lee, B., Godbey, G. and Sawyer, S., (2003) “SeniorNet,” Parks & Recreation, 38(10), 22-27..

Sawyer, S., Allen, J. and Lee, H., (2003) “Broadband and Mobile Opportunities: A Sociotechnical Perspective,” Journal of Information Technology, 18, 121-136. PDF

Sawyer, S., Crowston, K., Wigand, R. and Allbritton, M., (2003) “The Social Embeddedness of Transactions: Evidence from the Residential Real Estate Industry,” The Information Society, 19(2), 135-154. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Tapia, A. (2003) “The Computerization of Work: A Social Informatics Perspective,” in George, J. (Ed.) Computers in Society. New York: Oxford, 93-109. PDF


Sawyer, S. and Southwick, R., (2002) “Temporal Issues in ICT-Enabled Organizational Change: Scenes from an ERP Implementation,” The Information Society, 18(4), 263-280. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Eschenfelder, K., (2002) “Social Informatics: Perspectives, Examples, and Trends,” in Cronin, B. (Ed.) Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 36, Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc./ASIST, 427-465. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Chen, T. (2002) “Conceptualizing Information Technology in the Study of Information Systems: Trends and Issues,” in Myers, M., Whitley, E., Wynn, E. and DeGross, J. (Eds.) Global and Organizational Discourse about Information Technology, London: Kluwer, 109-131. PDF


Sawyer, S., (October, 2001) “Socio-technical structures in enterprise information systems implementation: Evidence from a five-year study, The 2001 IEEE EMS International Engineering Management Conference, Albany, NY, 172-178..

Wigand, Rolf, Crowston, Kevin, Sawyer, Steve, Allbritton, Marcel, “Information and Communication Technologies in the Real Estate Industry: Results of a Pilot Survey” (2001). ICT 2001..

Volkoff, Olga and Sawyer, Steve, “ERP Implementation Teams, Consultants, and Information Sharing” (2001).AMCIS 2001 Proceedings.Paper 202.

Sawyer, S., (2001) “Information Systems Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective,” Communications of the ACM, 44(11), 97-102. PDF

Crowston, K., Sawyer, S. and Wigand, R., (2001) “The Interplay Between Structure and Technology: Investigating the Roles of Information Technologies in the Residential Real Estate Industry,” Information Technology & People, 14(2),163-183. PDF

Awarded Highly Commended Paper by MCB Press.

Sawyer, S., (2001) “Effects of Conflict on Packaged Software Development Team Performance,” Information Systems Journal, 11(2), 155-178. PDF

Eschenfelder, K. and Sawyer, S. (2001) “Web Information Systems Management: Active or Reactive Emergence?” in B. Fitzgerald, N. Russo and J. DeGross (Eds.), Information Systems Developing in Organizations, London: Kluwer, 163-182. PDF

Sawyer, S. (2001) “Analysis by Long Walk: Some Approaches to the Synthesis of Multiple Sources of Evidence,” in Trauth, E. (Ed.) Qualitative Research in IS: Issues and Trends, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 163-190. PDF


Lamb, Roberta, Sawyer, Steve, Kling, Rob, “A social Informatics Perspective on Socio-Technical Networks” (2000). AMCIS 2000. .

Crowston, Kevin, Sawyer, Steve, Wignard, Rolf, Allbritton, Marcel, “How do information and Communication Technologies Reshape Work? Evidence from the residential Real Estate Industry” (2000). ICIS 2000..

Sawyer, Steve, “Analysis by Long Walk: Some Approaches to the Synthesis of Multiple Sources of Evidence” (2000) Qualitative Research in IS: Issues and Trends..

Sawyer, S. and Gibbons, W. (2000) “Implementing Distributed Computing: Parking Gets a New System,” in Khrosowspour, M. (ed.) Annals of Information Technology Cases, 2, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, pp. 24-39..

Sawyer, S., (2000) “Packaged Software: Implications of the Differences from Custom Approaches to Software Development,” European Journal of Information Systems, 9(1), 47-58. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Rosenbaum, H., (2000) “Social Informatics in the Information Sciences: Current Activities and Emerging Directions,” Informing Science, 3(2), 89-96. Available online at

This is reprinted in Slovene as: Sawyer, S. and Rosenbaum, H. (2004) “INFORMATICA SOCIALĂ ÎN ŞTIINŢELE INFORMAŢIEI: ACTIVITĂŢI CURENTE ŞI DIRECŢII NOI,” Revista de Informatică Socială, n.2, 7-13. PDF

Sawyer, S., (2000) “Studying Organizational Computing Infrastructures: Multi-Method Approaches,” in Baskerville, R., Stage, J and DeGross, J. (Eds.) The Social and Organizational Perspective on Information Technology, London: Kluwer, 213-231. PDF

Sawyer, S., Eschenfelder, K. and Heckman, R. (2000), “Knowledge Markets: Cooperation Among Distributed Technical Specialists,” in Srikantiah, K. and Koenig, M. (Eds.) Knowledge Management for Information Professionals, Medford, NJ: Information Today, 181-204. PDF


Sawyer, S. and Guinan, P., (1998) “Software Development: Processes and Performance,” IBM Systems Journal, 37(4), 552-569. PDF

Sawyer, S., Eschenfelder, K., Diekema, A., McClure, C., (1998) “Corporate IT Skill Needs: a Case Study of BigCo.,” Computer Personnel, 19(2), 27-41. PDF

Eschenfelder, K., Heckman, R. and Sawyer, S., (1998) “The Distribution of Computing: Cooperation among Distributed Technical Specialists,” Information Technology & People, 11(2), 84-103. PDF

Carmel, E. and Sawyer, S., (1998) “Packaged Software Teams: What Makes Them So Special?,” Information Technology & People, 11(1), 6-17. PDF

Sawyer, S., Farber, J. and Spillers, R., (1997) “Supporting the Social Processes of Software Development Teams,” Information Technology & People 10(1), 46-62. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Southwick, R. (1997) “Transitioning to Client/Server: Using a Temporal Frame-work to Study Organizational Change,” in Lee, A., Liebenau, J and DeGross, J. (Eds.) Information Systems and Qualitative Research, London: Chapman-Hall, 343-351. PDF

Guinan, P. and Cooprider, J., and Sawyer, S., (1997) “The Effective Use of Automated Application Development Tools,” IBM Systems Journal, 36(1), 124-139. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Southwick, R., (1996) “Implementing Client-Server: Issues from the Field,” in The International Office of the Future, Glasson, B., Vogel, D., Bots, P., and Nunamaker, J. (Eds.), New York: Chapman-Hall, 287-298. PDF

Sawyer, S. and Guinan, P., (1994) “Team-Based Software Development Using an Electronic Meeting System,” In Software Quality and Productivity: Theory, Practice, Education and Training, Lee, M., Barta, B. and Juliff, P. (Eds.), New York: Chapman-Hall, 76-82. PDF

Southwick, Richard and Sawyer, Steve, “Critical Views of Organization, Management, and Information Technology: Applying Critical Social Theory to Information System Research” (1999).AMCIS 1999 Proceedings.Paper 60.