Understanding IS Complexity and the Heterogeneity of Frames: The Illusion of Agreement

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Abstract

Organizations are confronted with increasing levels of IS complexity. The socio-technical nature of IS implies that IS complexity stems from not only the structure of technology (e.g., how many elements and relations), but also from the subjective perceptions organizational actors have regarding technology. Research on IS complexity focuses mostly on the structural dimension and less on the subjective dimension. To understand the subjective dimension better, we examine the heterogeneity of frames among different groups of IS stakeholders in a large, international bank. Our analysis shows that the ambiguity and generalistic nature of a macro-frame affords various IS stakeholders to decouple their meso-frames from each other, while they still can justify their alignment with the macro-frame. This leads to a situation of ‘agreement illusion’ where heterogeneous, and even inconsistent frames co-exist under a broad macro-frame.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 24th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS)
Place of PublicationIstanbul, Turkey
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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