A Theory of Multi-Realization of IT Value: Toward Construct Clarity in the Co-Development of Large Platforms

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Publication History

Received: June 16, 2016
Revised: September 30, 2018; September 30, 2020; May 15, 2021; October 3, 2021
Accepted: November 6, 2021
Published Online as Articles in Advance: August 31, 2022
Published in Issue: September 1, 2022


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Realizing or appropriating value from individual firm-level IT investments has been a recurring theme in the IS literature for decades. Further, failure rates related to IT investments have been high for many years. However, realizing value from IT in settings where numerous organizations need to work together to co-develop sizable digital platforms has been undertheorized and/or hobbled with conflated theoretical constructs. To address this dearth of novel theory and accompanying empiricism, high-quality processes such as benefits management have been suggested in the scientific literature and have gained substantial interest in practice as a means for organizations to structure their routines and processes in ways that actually capture value. The complexity of this challenge suggests that there should be a renewed theoretical effort in IS to reconceptualize several extant scholarly streams. We address this challenge first by deconstructing traditional scholarly frameworks into a moderated theoretical model of multi-creation and multi-realization of IT value termed “MUIT.” The first construct in the model is based on the resource-based view; then, the model is further informed by appropriation theory, adaptive structuration theory, network governance theory, and, finally, the benefits management literature. Our variance model is a Type IV theory according to Gregor’s typology—a theory for explaining and predicting how large-scale strategic consortia can collaborate to realize greater value from IT than they could in isolation. Regarding praxis, we contribute to the understanding of how interorganizational resources and capabilities, relationships, and value realization can be spring-boarded into both successful large-scale platforms and superior realization of benefits.

Additional Details
Author Leif Skiftenes Flak, Hans Solli-Sæther, and Detmar William Straub
Year 2022
Volume 46
Issue 3
Keywords Digital platforms, co-creation, co-realization, resource-based view of the firm, adaptive structuration theory, appropriation theory, the DeLone-McLean model, benefits management, network governance theory, theory development
Page Numbers 1739-1758
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