On the Relationship between the IT Artifact and Design Theory: The Case of Virtual Social Facilitation
Niehaves Björn, Ortbach Kevin, Tavakoli Asin
Both the IT artifact and design theory are fundamental elements of a design science project. While literature provides an extensive discussion on why IT artifacts and design theory can be regarded as two sides of the same coin, an operational detailed model on how to actually decode and translate the one into the other is not yet to be found. In this paper, we address this important issue taking the example of social facilitation, a theory perspective that informs us about how the integration of social media features in IT-based routine work can increase task performance. With the help of this example we are able to demonstrate how a lack of discussion regarding the relationship between the actual implementation (IT artifact perspective) and corresponding variables (design theory perspective) can create significant issues of scientific rigor. In order to overcome this gap, we develop a design theorizing framework that differentiates between the structural model (inner model), the measurement model, and the design model (both outer model components). Based on our findings, the paper concludes with discussing potentially fruitful avenues for future research and theory development in design science.
Design theory; Framework; Artifact-Theory Relationship; Instantiation; Virtual Social Facilitation