Disruption and Legitimacy: Big Data in Society

Carlos Ferreira, Alessandro Merendino, Maureen Meadows

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    57 Downloads (Pure)


    The growing availability of data and the emergence of business analytics ecosystems offer possibilities for companies developing innovative business models. However, the disruptive impact of these business models on society is not always judged favourably. This paper explores the growing tensions in the relationship between disruptive Big Data companies and society through the lens of legitimacy – a judgement about the fit and propriety of an entity, such as a company, to society. The study is based on four instrumental cases where Big Data organisations were faced with challenges to their legitimacy. The findings elaborate how digital transformations require companies to understand and manage how much to disrupt and how much to conform to social norms and values. Big Data businesses face a dynamic and paradoxical tension between the potential costs and benefits of their disruptive business models. The topic of legitimacy management is also addressed, drawing out implications for practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1081-1100
    Number of pages20
    JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
    Issue number3
    Early online date22 Jun 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

    Bibliographical note

    The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1007/s10796-021- 10155-3
    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Big Data
    • Legitimacy
    • Disruption

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


    Dive into the research topics of 'Disruption and Legitimacy: Big Data in Society'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this