How Users Perceive and Actualize Affordances: An Exploratory Case Study of Collaboration Platforms

Tim Lehrig, Oliver Krancher, Jens Dibbern

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The success of collaboration platforms depends on the degree to which users incorporate generic platform features into their particular collaborative actions. Yet, little is known about the processes through which users perceive and actualize the potentials for action, or affordances, offered by collaboration platforms. We report the results of an explora-tory case study in which we accompanied collaboration platform users over a period of over two years. We find that users perceive affordances through three alternative pro-cesses: imitating, exploring, and transferring. After perceiving affordances, users often need to arrange for configuration to enable the perceived action potential. Configuration can be found in three forms: delegated, guided, or autonomous configuration. Our emerg-ing theory suggests that these perception and actualization processes depend in complex ways on individual-level (knowledge, self-efficacy, perceived complexity) and on higher-level factors (advice networks, collective knowledge). Our study helps open the black box of affordance perception and actualization processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Thirty Eighth Conference on Information Systems
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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