Managing Conflict in Information System Design Stakeholder Conferences: The Role of Transparency Work

  • Mark Aakhus
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS, volume 20)


This chapter examines the management of disagreement and conflict during an information systems design conference that sought agreement on a data-flow-model and design requirements among stakeholders in a new information system. The case identifies micro design practices, such as fashioning-a-record, employed in facilitating creativity and capturing rationale during the design conference. The micro-practices reveal the layers of transparency work performed by the facilita-tors that involves: (1) setting up the usability and usefulness of the technology and (2) persuading participants about the essence of their interaction. Transparency work draws attention away from the actions of the facilitators and the social-political complications while highlighting any features of the scene reflecting ideals of collaborative decision-making. The persuasion aims to remove doubt about the nature of the activity and trustworthiness of the intervention. The analysis shows how the ethnomethodological principle of the documentary method of interpretation operates in bridging the gap between technology and use, which addresses key matters in the literature on technologically supported facilitation.


Collaboration Communication design Facilitation Meetings Meta-structuring Persuasion 



An earlier version this chapter appeared as: Aakhus, M. (2004). Understanding the Socio-Technical Gap: A case of GDSS Facilitation. In G. Goldkuhl, M. Lind, & S. Cronholm (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Action in Language, Organisations, and Information Systems (pp. 137–148). Linköping, Sweden: Research Network VITS.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information, RutgersThe State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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