This paper proposes a new research perspective on resistance to information systems (IS) change. Drawing upon a power lens and complementing it with the organizational literature on resistance, we develop an integrative framework that conceptualizes resistance at three levels: 1) the non-compliance behaviors, 2) the meanings and norms that resisters contest and enact, and 3) the technical artifacts that resisters bring into their acts. By mapping existing IS literature on resistance onto our framework, we identify a bias of the literature towards a refusal view of resistance. That is, IS literature has been mainly concerned with resistance as a refusal behavior i.e. refusal to a new system, to changes in the working practices, to loss of status quo by which resisters attempt to neutralize the actions from the proponents of IS change. Yet our framework enables us to depict resistance not only as refusal but also as generative. Whilst a focus on resistance as refusal pays attention to the acts by which resisters aim to block the outcomes intended by the proponents of IS change, the analysis of the generative potential of resistance considers two additional aspects. First, it involves looking at how resisters challenge the meanings that proponents assign to the IS change i.e. assumptions about the technology, goals and role of actors in the change process. Second, it entails analyzing how (human) resisters and technical artifacts become intertwined in the acts of resistance and how those socio-technical assemblages instigate disciplinary effects to the proponents of IS change. In other words, studying the generative potential of resistance involves viewing resistance as a socio-material accomplishment that may transform the established order through structural and radical changes.
Rodon Mòdol, Joan; Rezazade, Mohammad Hosein; and Sese, Feliciano, "GENERATIVE RESISTANCE: BROADENING THE BOUNDARIES OF RESEARCH ON RESISTANCE IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS CHANGE" (2012). ECIS 2012 Proceedings. 38.