Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Information Systems

First Advisor

Richard L. Baskerville and Christophe Elie-Dit-Cosaque

Second Advisor

François-Xavier De Vaujany

Third Advisor

Mark Keil

Fourth Advisor

Likoebe M. Maruping

Fifth Advisor

Jessie Pallud

Sixth Advisor

Cécile Godé

Seventh Advisor

Carine Dominguez-Péry


Despite the wide literature on the consequences of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) use, the literature still lacks understanding about the societal consequences, positive or negative, intended or unintended. ICTs can yield the good and the bad. Consequences of technology usages on society are paradoxical. The paradoxical outcomes can be ta threat to the sustainability of society. Because interactions spread beyond the online space and its outcomes are paradoxical, societal challenges are complex problems. But not only complex problem, rather social complex problem. To harvest society, we need a better understanding of social complex problems. To do so, we adopted a multi-study dissertation model. To achieve that goal, the three studies of this doctoral work adopt a qualitative approach and a critical realist philosophy.

This dissertation focuses on the societal implications of online phenomena that spillover offline. We look at a first case: The Arab Spring and aim at understanding how an online community that started on Facebook materialized in urban space, changing the political landscape (Study 2). Addressing these kind of contemporaneous events does not come without analytical challenges. Therefore, we use and extend a semiotic analytical tool to face the representational complexity of the data collected (Study 1) with a discussion of the underlying philosophical assumptions. Finally, online communities can also have social costs by providing an echo chamber to socially undesirable behaviors. We aim at offering a conceptual explanation of how these online interactions turn into offline behaviors with negative spillovers (Study 3).