In the ever-evolving landscape of Information Technology (IT) projects, conflicts have long been considered unwelcome disruptors, hindering progress and stifling innovation. However, what if conflicts within IT projects behaved like viruses, spreading and evolving into unexpected forms? In a groundbreaking research paper recently published in the Information Systems Frontiers journal, Peter Saba, Head of the research axis on Data Science, Digital Transformation, Risks & Complex Systems at De Vinci Higher Education DVRC (De Vinci Research Center), explores this novel perspective, positing conflicts as latent entities with the potential for evolution and diverse manifestations.
In collaboration with Régis Meissonier and Antoine Harfouche, their research introduces a paradigm-shifting concept termed “IT Conflict Contagion” (ITCC), shedding light on the previously underexplored dynamics of conflicts within IT projects.
Drawing parallels between conflicts and viruses, they aim to highlight their capacity to disseminate among IT users and systems, transcending the conventional understanding of conflicts as isolated incidents.
The Research Methodology
Their findings are based on a comprehensive 2-year action research project conducted within a prominent French firm.
Unlike traditional approaches that confine conflict management to individual IT projects, this research advocates for a holistic perspective.
The researchers emphasize the importance of considering the entire IT portfolio and understanding the nuanced interplay between systems to address and manage conflicts effectively.
Dynamic Nature of IT Conflicts:
Their conceptualisation of IT conflicts as dynamic entities challenges the conventional view of conflicts as static and isolated incidents.
Like dormant viruses waiting to evolve, conflicts within IT projects have the potential to transform and take unexpected forms.
This shift in perspective prompts IT professionals and researchers to reassess conflicts not merely as detrimental, but as dynamic challenges that require proactive and strategic management.
Implications for IT Professionals:
Recognizing conflicts as dynamic entities opens the door to innovative conflict resolution and prevention strategies.
IT professionals can no longer afford to view conflicts as isolated incidents but must adopt a proactive approach considering the broader IT ecosystem.
Organizations can implement measures to detect, mitigate, and prevent the spread of conflicts by understanding the potential for conflict contagion, ultimately fostering a more resilient and adaptable IT environment.
In a digital era where IT projects play a pivotal role in organizational success, understanding the dynamic nature of conflicts is crucial. This research on IT Conflict Contagion challenges traditional assumptions and encourages IT professionals and researchers to embrace a new perspective.
By acknowledging conflicts as dynamic entities with the potential for evolution, organizations can navigate the complexities of IT projects more effectively, fostering innovation and sustainable growth in the ever-changing information systems landscape.