The mirroring hypothesis asserts a symmetry between how a firm organizes its activities and tasks internally (division of labour) and how technologies are logically partitioned into subcomponents and modules. Yet digital artifacts can violate fundamental properties of physical modular systems, such as the impossibility to univocally allocate functionalities to the various modules, due to their agnostic and generative nature. Although an increasing amount of works is starting to question the usefulness of classic modularity theory to understand how firms take decisions and organize their activities internally, there is still a scant literature on the topic. In this work we draw upon the mirror hypothesis, and complement it with the insight provided by the IT governance literature. By doing so, we suggest that a company’s epistemic interpretation of the modular nature of a digital system depends on the dynamics of its internal decision-making process, reflecting formal and informal patterns of authority among its actors. Our study is evidenced by an extensive case study of the roll-out of an advanced technology by a large global multinational. In this was we study whether, and how, is it possible to establish interdependence between the way in which a firm makes sense of, and resolves, the conflicting goals and objectives of its internal actors and the way in which it interprets and conceives of the architecture of the digital ecosystem it is part of. We term this epistemic mirroring.
Rossi, Enrico; Pujadas, Roser; and Venters, Will, "Epistemic Mirroring: understanding the interdependence between a firm’s governance of internal relations and its interpretation of the digital ecosystem architecture" (2021). UK Academy for Information Systems Conference Proceedings 2021. 22.