ECIS 2020 Research Papers


Representation Theory is concerned with how information systems can provide faithful representations of real-world phenomena. In this paper, we discuss the concept of a faithful representation in relation to contexts where the real-world phenomenon is complex. While current Representation Theory takes an internal view to representations, we argue for an expansion of the theory to include what we term the interpretive structure, to account for faithfulness in complex situations. Based on an observational study, we present an exemplary vignette from an emergency care unit in a Norwegian hospital. We abductively develop an extended view of Representation Theory by synthesizing it with a wider range of theories of information in tandem with our data analysis. We discuss how interaction between an information system’s deep structure and interpretive structure is necessary for an information system’s representations to be faithful to a complex real-world phenomenon. This faithfulnessin-practice perspective is thus an extension to Representation Theory and offers implications for how we conceptualize representations in Information Systems research.



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