Desperately Seeking the Infrastructure in IS Research: Conceptualization of "Digital convergence" as Co-evolution of Social and Technical Infrastructures

David Tilson*, Kalle Lyytinen, Carsten Sørensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Large scale penetration of digital technologies led them to join roads, electricity, and water distribution, as essential infrastructures of modernity. "Digital convergence" refers to these technologies' wide ranging effects on people's lives, work, and interactions. Yet conceptions from diverse fields reveal no universally accepted understanding of this term. An examination of historical developments leading up to the Internet era reveals mutual dependence between technical infrastructures and diverse social arrangements including industry, regulatory, and market structures. A set of criteria for the definition of digital convergence (and divergence) is formulated. These provide a working definition that reveals the essential, pervasive and interactive reconfiguration of modern society's technical and social infrastructures due to digitization. A layer-based model is presented as one possible way of breaking up an increasingly interconnected socio-technical world into separate domains that allow meaningful study. We call for action to address the paucity of recent Information Systems (IS) research into the infrastructures that provide the foundations upon which all modern information systems build.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 43rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS-43
Place of PublicationLos Calamitos, CA
Publication date2010
Article number5428452
ISBN (Print)9780769538693
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event43rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS-43 - Kauai, Hawaii, United States
Duration: 5 Jan 20108 Jan 2010
Conference number: 43


Conference43rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS-43
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityKauai, Hawaii
SeriesProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences

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