Crisis as Opportunity, Disruption and Exposure: Exploring Emergent Responses to Crisis Through Digital Technology
Information and organization 31(1) (2021)
Posted: 9 Mar 2022
Date Written: March 4, 2021
We live in a technologically advanced era with a recent and marked dependence on digital technologies while also facing increasingly frequent extreme and global crises. Crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, are significantly impacting our societies, organizations and individuals and dramatically shifting the use of, and dependence on, digital technology. The way digital technology is used to cope with crises is novel and not well understood theoretically. To explore the varied uses and impact of digital technologies during crises, we propose to view crisis as (1) opportunity, (2) disruption, and (3) exposure. Examining crisis as opportunity reveals how digital technologies enable experimentation and accelerate innovation while raising coordination challenges and risky implementation. Viewing crisis as disruption highlights how digital technologies enable the rapid shifting of organizational and occupational practices to new digital spaces, allowing work continuity, yet potentially distorting work practices and raising challenges of over-dependence. Finally, crisis exposes the societal implications in making visible and exposing digital inequalities and producing moral dilemmas for us all. We use these three perspectives to shed light on the varied uses of digital technologies in the COVID-19 crisis and suggest new avenues for research on crises more broadly.
Keywords: Crisis, Covid, Digital Technologies, innovation
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