Title

The ICT convergence discourse in the information systems literature - A second-order observation

Abstract

The idea of ICT Convergence is used by many practitioners and observers - such as economists,

politicians, journalists, and academics - as an important descriptor for technological change.

However, a review of previous work in this field suggests that, despite more than 30 years of research

on ICT Convergence, the theoretical basis of the concept of convergence is still under-researched. In

particular in the IS literature, the concept has been either relegated to the sidelines or taken for

granted without further reflection. Therefore, a systematic analysis of the idea of ICT Convergence

from an IS perspective is needed.

This paper aims to explore how the discourse of convergence is being shaped in the IS literature. In

order to address this question, 317 articles published in ten leading IS journals from 1998 to 2008

have been examined. This study has been built around a Grounded Theory approach informed by

Niklas Luhmann's Theory of Distinction.

The findings show that convergence cannot be viewed as a single concept. Five archetypes of

"convergence communication" are identified, and a conceptualization of ICT Convergence as a

double process between alignment and interoperability is suggested. The main limitation of this paper

is the focus on leading IS journals.

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