BIS Seminar: Professor Suzanne Rivard
Keeping a Project under Control and Being in Control: The Ostensive and Performative Aspects of Information Systems Project Risk Responses
Authors: Suzanne Rivard & Yannik St-James
The information systems (IS) project risk management literature conceptualizes risk responses as actions that should be taken to counter IS project risk sources. This corresponds to an ostensive – ideal, abstract – view of risk responses. In this article, the authors interpret the career-history cases of five project managers to illuminate, in addition to their ostensive aspect, the performative aspect of risk responses – the specific actions of specific actors under specific circumstances – addressing the question of how IS project risk responses are performed and how different performances produce particular effects. Findings suggest that the ostensive aspect of risk responses represents a predictive mental model, wherein project managers select risk responses from a repertoire they possess to keep the project under control. Findings further suggest that the performative aspect of risk responses, referred to as responding, comprises three key elements: the character project managers assume, the scripts they enact, and the actors they mobilize. This performative aspect shapes the project manager’s and other project stakeholders’ perceptions of the project manager being in control. The ostensive and performative aspects work synergistically to produce both intended and unintended effects, through perceptions of keeping the project under control and of the project manager being in control.
Professor Suzanne Rivard holds the Chair in Strategic Management of Information Technology at HEC Montréal and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Association for Information Systems (AIS). She is also a member of the Research Group on Information Systems (GReSI), a Fellow of the Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organizations (CIRANO). She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS) and of Systèmes d’information et Management. In the past, she served as Associate Editor for Information Systems Research and the MIS Quarterly, Senior Editor for the Journal of the Association for Information Systems, and Senior Editor for the MIS Quarterly Theory and Review Department.
A pioneer in many areas and an avant-garde researcher, Professor Rivard is highly influential in her field, in particular risk management for IT projects, contracting out, business process transformation, and IT implementation and strategic management.
She has supervised 14 PhD dissertations and over 50 master’s theses.
For more information about this speaker, please see HEC Montreal University staff profile.