This paper contributes to the nascent debate in the information systems (IS) field on liminal innovation by focusing on how tensions can be resolved during crisis. Liminal innovation is used by scholars to describe iterative processes of experimentation and implementation of IS during crisis. We draw on the concepts of communitas and anti-structure from the literature on liminality to analyse a longitudinal case study of digitalization of contact tracing in Norway during the COVID-19 pandemic and show how they mutually reinforce each other to create a sense of togetherness and urgency. We identify four resolutions to tensions emerging from this interplay: egalitarianism, autonomy, disobedience, and silo breaking. These manifestations of anti-structure and communitas allowed rapid and responsive innovation during a period of intense organizational and psychological stress, and thus contributed to positive performative outcomes by implementing a digital contact tracing system.
Gundersen, Ragnhild Bassøe; Nicholson, Brian; Sæbø, Johan Ivar; and Nielsen, Petter, "The Interplay Between Communitas and Anti-structure in Liminal Innovation" (2023). ECIS 2023 Research Papers. 339.