A Virus Perspective on Digital Innovation

Mette Strange Noesgaard, Jeppe Agger Nielsen, Tina Blegind Jensen, Lars Mathiassen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Researchers have successfully used contagion metaphors such as diffusion, fashion, and mimicking to shed light on how digital innovations spread across an organizational field. In this paper, we extend this line of inquiry by applying virus theory to a longitudinal investigation of how three Danish public home care organizations adopted mobile technology into their day-to-day operations as part of a national digital innovation program. Focusing on how ideas (the virus) play out within individual organizations (the hosts), virus theory helped us reveal how each of the three organizations adapted the same ideas differently as mechanisms of infectiousness, immunity, replication, incubation, mutation, and dormancy shaped their implementation and extended use of mobile technology. Based on the empirical findings, we argue that virus theory offers new insights into contagion across an organizational field in digital innovation compared to knowledge derived from established theories of diffusion, fashion, and mimicking. In conclusion, we outline future research avenues to advance the virus perspective in IS research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event10th Scandinavian Conference on Information Systems. SCIS 2019 - Nokia, Finland
Duration: 11 Aug 201914 Aug 2019
Conference number: 10


Conference10th Scandinavian Conference on Information Systems. SCIS 2019
Internet address


  • Digital innovation
  • Contagion
  • Virus metaphor
  • Longitudinal case study

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