About AIS

First President of AIS: William R. King 

William R. King, was the founding president of AIS. He attended an informal meeting of about 30 senior IS scholars that was convened by Paul Gray immediately following the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) in 1992 to discuss, among other options, the possibility of forming an IS professional organization. One of the results of the meeting was that he was appointed to chair a committee to investigate the desirability and feasibility of the concept.

He began by phoning about 20 senior scholars who had not participated in the ICIS discussion and concluded that there was widespread support for such an organization. In an effort to avoid the "paralysis of analysis", he decided to form an Organizing Committee of about 40 people from around the world to design and implement the organization. The Organizing Committee exchanged ideas primarily by e-mail and concluded its work by conducting what may have been the world's first formal electronic constitutional convention.

As this process went on, King attended several international conferences where he held open meetings to solicit ideas from attendees and met with conference organizers and groups of attendees from several key countries to secure their support for the evolving organizational design.

Using funds from his personal professional development budget, a seed money gift provided by Ted Stohr, then of NYU, and the volunteer labor of his secretary and several doctoral students, he developed the systems and printed materials that would be necessary to operate the organization. He also negotiated cooperative agreements with several journals and international conferences. Membership applications were then solicited, resulting in more than 1800 charter members within six months. A nominating committee nominated people to serve as officers and council members and these charter members elected the first leadership cadre of AIS. Bill served as executive director until AIS had accumulated sufficient funds to afford a professional staff. He was also involved in several initiatives that distinguish AIS. Most prominent among them is its international nature. The constitution requires that the organization be divided into three regions (The Americas, Europe (including Africa) and Asia and that the position of president rotate among the three regions. Furthermore, inasmuch as a major society provides one or more scientific journals to its members as a form of communicating among the membership, he arranged to offer one existing journal at a token cost with the rest subsidized by AIS as well as reduced subscription rates for members to many others.

He served as the president of The Institute of Management Science (TIMS) from 1989-90, and as editor-in-chief of the MIS Quarterly (1983-85). Working in TIMS, he initiated the process of merging TIMS with ORSA to create INFORMS. He also conceived of, secured external funding and TIMS Council approval for, and chaired the committee that selected the first editor for a new journal--Information Systems Research-- that was initially published by TIMS and is now published by INFORMS.

William King served as the president of The Institute of Management Science (TIMS) in 1989-90. Working in TIMS, he initiated the process of merging TIMS with ORSA to create INFORMS. He also conceived of, secured external funding and TIMS Council approval for and chaired the committee that selected the first editor for a new journal--Information Systems Research-- that was initially published by TIMS.

After obtaining his BS and being commissioned as an officer in the Air Force, he worked briefly as an industrial engineer and then attended Case Institute of Technology primarily because an MS degree would enable him to obtain a better non-flying assignment in the Air Force. He obtained his PhD there under the tutelage of Russell L. Ackoff. That experience changed his career goal from being a jet pilot to being a professor and consultant. Bill taught at Case and at the Air Force Institute of Technology (while on active duty in the Air Force) before joining the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School of Business in 1967. In 1976-77, he took leave to work as a senior staff member on the US Senate Committee on the Budget where he performed studies that impacted new laws governing military personnel systems. He retired from Pitt in 2008 with the rank of university professor.

He is the author of more than 300 papers and 17 books, the most recent being Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning (Springer, 2009). His first paper, authored as a graduate student in 1962, appeared in Management Science. It described a technique he developed and applied for scoring the relative desirability of geographic markets for marketing expansion. His method was the first decision-support application of multivariate discriminant analysis. It has since been applied to developing the well-known FICO scores and in numerous other decision contexts. He conceived of and developed a methodology for strategic planning for information systems--an activity that had previously been carried out only in a budgeting context. He and a collaborator created the reciprocal concept which formed the basis for creating strategic information systems that could provide competitive advantage for a firm.

Bill’s awards include the Leo Award for distinguished lifetime achievement from AIS, Inaugural Fellow of AIS, Inaugural Fellow of INFORMS, , Fellow of the Decision Science Institute and a full member of the Association for the Advancement of Science. His books received many awards and foreign publications including the McKinsey Foundation Award for his coauthored Systems Analysis and Project Management as a seminal contribution to management and the AIIE's Book-of-the-Year Award for his co-edited Project Management Handbook.

Before 2002-2003, when he had major surgeries, Bill was an active licensed private pilot, certified powerboat and sailboat captain, skier and scuba diver.

BSIE, 1960, Penn State; MS (Operations Research), 1962 and PhD (Operations Research), 1964, Case Institute of Technology.


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