Conceptualizing Individualization in Information Systems - A Literature Review

Gaß O, Ortbach K, Kretzer M, Maedche A, Niehaves B

Driven by advances in information and communication technology, end-users nowadays operate extensive information systems to support all kinds of private and professional activities. Previous IS research has coined various terms to refer to this rather new phenomenon. Some scholars call it individualization in IS, others refer to it as consumerization of IT. While scholars still struggle to agree on a common conceptualization and terminology, it is clear that particular aspects of this new phenomenon have already been addressed by previous work on technology acceptance, satisfaction or technology diffusion. However, these previous findings do not form a distinct and integrated body of knowledge, because no one has associated them with the phenomenon of individualization yet. In order to address this gap, we suggest an integrated, yet generic conceptualization of individualization in form of a meta-theory. Based on the key entities and relations of the meta-theory, we conduct a structured literature review to identify pre-existing contributions of IS research, which help to understand the phenomenon of individualization in IS better. Furthermore, we analyze the identified literature for gaps in understanding the phenomenon and outline future research opportunities.

Publication type
Research article (journal)

Peer reviewed

Publication status
accepted / in press (not yet published)


Communications of the Association for Information Systems