Design Principles for Sensemaking Support Systems in Environmental Sustainability Transformations


This paper reports on the results of a design science research (DSR) study that develops design principles for information systems (IS) that support organisational sensemaking in environmental sustainability transformations. We identify initial design principles based on salient affordances required in organisational sensemaking and revise them through three rounds of developing, demonstrating and evaluating a prototypical implementation. Through our analysis, we learn how IS can support essential sensemaking practices in environmental sustainability transformations, including experiencing disruptive ambiguity through the provision of environmental data, noticing and bracketing, engaging in an open and inclusive communication and presuming potential alternative environmentally responsible actions. We make two key contributions: First, we provide a set of theory-inspired design principles for IS that support sensemaking in sustainability transformations, and revise them empirically using a DSR method. Second, we show how the concept of affordances can be used in DSR to investigate how IS can support organisational practices. While our findings are based on the investigation of the substantive context of environmental sustainability transformation, we suggest that they might be applicable in a broader set of contexts of organisational sensemaking and thus for a broader class of sensemaking support systems.

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