The mutual understanding, shared knowledge, or cognition between business and IT units has been discussed frequntly and in wide range of fields in IS research. On the other hand, we are still lacking a consistent and comprehensive conceptualization of what shared business/IT understanding is actually about, and previous studies have usually only taken some aspects of it into account. These often single-dimensional determinations represent an incomplete picture of shared business/IT understanding and thus can potentially lead to wrong or incomplete findings and implications. This research in progress steps into this gap and develops a comprehensive construct of shared business/IT understanding to provide future research with a unified concept that can be applied to various IS research contexts. In this paper, we discuss current conceptualizations of shared business/IT understanding and integrate them to a unified multidimensional construct, which will be validated and adjusted in future empirical research.
Researchers have acknowledged that shared understanding between business and IT is a crucial factor to achieve high performing teams, well aligned units, and superior business valu of IT. In addition, they agree, that this determinant of social alignment is very complex and difficult to govern. However, a goal-oriented governance will only be possible if the target is clearly and adequate defined. In this paper, we will provide a structured review of the IS literature addressing the qustion how shared business/IT understanding has been conceptualized and used in the various fields of our research community. We identify strong differences between and within these research domains regarding the conceptualization. Primarily, we find that most of the papers just analyze single aspects of shared understanding but miss the "big picture". Our findings can point researchers to potential lacks of conceptualization of Business/IT Shared Understanding in their research domain and will help to cross borders among different research strands, which all will potentially profit from a more holistic and comprehensive investigation of shared business/IT understanding and its role for effective collaboration among business and IT.