While research and practitioners agree that there needs to be shared understanding (SU) between busi-ness and IT in any type of collaboration to achieve high performance, empirical studies examining SU have always focused on specific contexts. Thus, the literature has so far remained silent about a more generalized concept of SU that can be applied to different research contexts – like strategic planning, software development projects, or IT operations. Based on a generic multi-dimensional conceptualiza-tion of the SU construct, our research objective is to analyze the influence of two contextual character-istics – complexity and relevance – of a collaborative task between business and IT on the importance of these different SU dimensions. In this explorative research we exploit data from 21 case studies, in which we analyze the formation and influence of SU dimensions related to the context of the collabo-rative task. We find that different aspects in the conceptualization of shared understanding become more (or less) important when changing the task characteristics. Thus, our findings indicate that the importance of SU cannot be discussed separately from the practical context in which SU is created and utilized.