Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


Within work environments, the emergence of Internet of Things applications creates radically new scenarios of use involving the enrichment of everyday objects with seamlessly integrated communication, sensing and computing capabilities and their integration into information systems. These changes can profoundly alter transparency of work processes, prescribe and prohibit actions, and change stakeholders’ overall accountability and control capabilities. Actors’ difficulties in meeting changed accountabilities due to an Internet of Things application may trigger severe disturbances in organizations. What actors are in control of and what they are held accountable for is partially prescribed by designers and involved stakeholders in the early stages of technology development. Therefore, this paper presents an approach for prospectively designing controllable accountabilities into envisaged Internet of Things applications. Three dimensions of accountability will be distinguished: visibility, responsibility and liability. Each dimension affects control requirements differently. The narrative network approach has been adopted to study envisioned organizational work processes along with the involved actors and their accountabilities and control capabilities. A description of how the approach can be used to prospectively align accountabilities and control capabilities is provided based on a case study of an Internet of Things application in product authentication. Advantages and limitations of the approach are discussed.