François-Xavier de Vaujany, Université Paris-Dauphine (Paris, France)
Information Technology performativity in the pre-adoption phase: why tradeshows, industry and society matter. Performativity is at the heart of numerous works in management and organization studies. In this article, we focus on the way that information technologies are performed through discourses during their pre-adoption phase. During this phase, organizations have very little information and experience in regards to IT, which subsequently appears as a highly abstract and equivocal artifact. As such, during this phase it is all the more important to imbue IT with both a shape and power, i.e. to materialize what it is and what can be done with it. Through three case studies of IT tradeshows, we explore the modalities of IT performativity in regards to practitioners seeking information about the new technologies that they are looking to adopt. Our findings reveal that (i) performing IT is a key strategic stake for all external stakeholders of the industry, (ii) that modes of IT performativity are adapted to each industry (focusing either on typical material artifacts, processes and activities, or integrative managerial concepts) and (iii) that the felicity conditions of IT performativity differ from those described in the literature on performativity (i.e. they are much more “liquid”). In continuation to these three findings, we elaborate a theoretical framework about IT performativity at the pre-adoption stage, which combines three levels of analysis (society, industry, organizations) and three key components (discourses, IT performativity, material and symbolic artifacts). We then discuss the contributions and limitations of this study and avenues for further research.