Juggling the Paradoxes: Governance Mechanisms in Bimodal IT Organizations

Jan Jöhnk, Severin Oesterle, Till J. Winkler, Jacob Nørbjerg, Nils Urbach

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningpeer review


The fundamental changes associated with digitalization demand businesses and public enterprises to balance exploitative and explorative capabilities in their internal IT function. One approach to balance these paradoxical demands is the adoption of twofold organizational structures often referred to as bimodal IT. While the IS literature has made recent advances in the description and analysis of bimodal organization structures, we still lack a deeper understanding of the inner workings within bimodal IT organizations and the potential tensions between traditional and agile IT. To address this research gap, we adopt IT governance mechanisms as an analytical framework to study two bimodal IT organization cases, one at a law enforcement agency and the other at an automotive company. We analyze data collected through fourteen semi-structured interviews using grounded theory techniques. We first identify challenges associated with the implementation of and the coordination within organization’s bimodal IT organizations. We then identify the structural, procedural, and relational governance mechanisms used within these organizations and elucidate how they relate to the categories of challenges. Finally, we identify and describe five novel governance paradoxes of bimodal IT organizations that emerged as core concepts from this research. Theoretical contributions and practical implications are discussed.
TitelECIS 2019 Proceedings
Antal sider15
UdgivelsesstedAtlanta, GA
ForlagAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
ISBN (Trykt)9781733632508
StatusUdgivet - 2019
BegivenhedThe 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2019: Information Systems for a Sharing Society - Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sverige
Varighed: 8 jun. 201914 jun. 2019
Konferencens nummer: 27


KonferenceThe 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2019
LokationStockholm University
NavnProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems


  • IT governance mechanisms
  • Bimodal IT
  • Paradox theory
  • IT ambidexterity
  • Multiple case study