Communications of the Association for Information Systems


An assumption implied by much of the literature in information systems (IS) research is that people’s interpretations of technology influence the way in which technology gets adapted in organizations. Despite this acknowledgment, little insight is provided for how these interpretations can be elicited, and only a few studies suggest methods for doing so. In this article we address this opportunity by advancing cognitive mapping as a well-established method to systematically inquire into people’s interpretations of technology. We show how cognitive maps can serve as visual means of representation of these interpretations and discuss how the maps can be used to facilitate individual reflection and collective negotiation of technology adaptation. We illustrate the use of the cognitive mapping method with a case example of the introduction of an electronic patient record (EPR) system in a hospital setting. Based on our findings, we engage in a discussion of the value of cognitive mapping as a facilitating technique of individual reflection, as well as collective negotiation and construction in relation to technology adaptation. This implies a discussion of the epistemological, theoretical, and practical implications of its use.