Communications of the Association for Information Systems


We reviewed papers in core IS outlets that defined the term workaround or presented an example of a workaround. In the analysis, we used Ogden and Richard’s triangle of reference as a theoretical framework to analyze the relationship between 1) the term workaround; 2) theories, definitions, and use of the term; and 3) their empirical basis and empirical workaround behavior that the papers describe. First, we summarize the existing theoretical insights regarding workarounds and investigate their validity. Second, we show that studies have defined and used the term workaround differently to the extent that they have not always applied it to the same empirical phenomena, which raises questions about some theoretical insights’ validity. Third, we suggest a definition for workarounds that we inductively derived from empirical accounts of workaround behavior and, therefore, that adequately describes how researchers commonly use the term and makes it possible to distinguish workarounds from other similar phenomena.





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