Designing semi-confusing informationsystems for organizations in changing environments

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Authors: B. Hedberg, B. Jönsson

Publication Year: 1978


Journal: Accounting, Organizations and Society

Volume: 3

Issue: 1

Categories: Organizational Change, Crisis, Qualitative


Organizations have many stabilizers but quite often lack proper destabilizers. They establish fined repertoires of behavior programs over time, and many grow too rigid and insensitive to environmental changes. Drifting into &anging environments, they react with delayed and improper responses. Current information - and accounting - systems do more to stabihze organizations than to destabilize them. They filter away contlicts, ambiguities. overlaps, uncertainty etc. and they suppress many relevant change signals and hill initiatives to act on early warnings. Organizations in char&g environments need information systems which enable them to stay alert and to detect problems, changes, and conflicts in time. Accounting information can be used to stimulate orga&ationa.l curiosity, facilitate dialectical decision processes and increase organizations’ ability to cope with variety in their environments. This paper formulates some principles for design of information svstems that can destabilize o raanizations with planned confusion - in times when they ought to be confused.