Designing semi-confusing information systems for organizations in changing environments

  • Bo Hedberg
  • Sten Jönsson


Organizations have many stabilizers but quite often lack proper destabilizers. They establish fixed repertoires of behavior programs over time, and many grow too rigid and insensitive to environmental changes. Drifting into changing environments, they react with delayed and improper responses.

Current information — and accounting — systems do more to stabilize organizations than to destabilize them. They filter away conflicts, ambiguities, overlaps, uncertainty etc. and they suppress many relevant change signals and kill initiatives to act on early warnings.

Organizations in changing environments need information systems which enable them to stay alert and to detect problems, changes, and conflicts in time. Accounting information can be used to stimulate organizational curiosity, facilitate dialectical decision processes and increase organizations’ ability to cope with variety in their environments. This paper formulates some principles for design of information systems that can destabilize organizations with planned confusion — in times when they ought to be confused.


Decision Maker Cognitive Style Cognitive Structure Cognitive Complexity Design Information System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Hedberg
    • 1
  • Sten Jönsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationUniversity of GothenburgSweden

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