University of Oulu

Väyrynen, Karin; Lanamäki, Arto; Laari-Salmela, Sari; Iivari, Netta; and Kinnula, Marianne, "Policy Ambiguity: a Problem, a Tool, or an Inherent Part of Policymaking?" (2022). ICIS 2022 Proceedings. 7.

Policy ambiguity : a problem, a tool, or an inherent part of policymaking?

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Author: Väyrynen, Karin1; Lanamäki, Arto1; Laari-Salmela, Sari1;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: International Conference on Informations Systems, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-12-20


It has been acknowledged that the Information Systems (IS) discipline needs to pay attention to policymaking. However, the IS field has not yet sufficiently acknowledged complexities of policymaking and the resulting ambiguity. We present two worldviews that underlie how IS research has approached policymaking and, indirectly, policy ambiguity. In the dominant “representationalist” view, a policy is planned and implemented in a linear manner, and ambiguity is seen as problematic. The “enactivist” view sees a policy and its implementation as mutually constitutive: a policy does not exist without its implementation but it also guides the implementation. This can result in unresolvable paradoxes that manifest as ambiguities. Based on our review of the extant IS research we present existing perspectives to policy(making) and ambiguity. We call for IS researchers invested in policy/regulation-related research to be aware of and explicit about the views to policy(making) and ambiguity guiding their research.

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Series: Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems
ISSN: 1026-1079
ISSN-L: 1026-1079
Article number: 7
Host publication: ICIS 2022 proceedings
Conference: International Conference on Information Systems
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This research has received financial support from the Academy of Finland, project “Regulating future AI systems - enabling future AI innovation through an increased level of legal certainty in technology neutral regulation (AI-REG)”, Grant Number 347221. It is also connected to the GenZ project, a strategic profiling project in human sciences at the University of Oulu, supported by the Academy of Finland (grant agreement No. 318930, Profi4) and the University of Oulu.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 347221
Detailed Information: 347221 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
318930 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © Association for Information Systems (AIS) 2022. The Definitive Version of Record can be found online at: