Tension in the Data Environment: How Organisations Can Meet the Challenge

Maureen Meadows, Alessandro Merendino, Sally Dibb, Alexeis Garcia-Perez, Matthew Hinton, Savvas Papagiannidis, Ilias Pappas, Huamao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Big Data is becoming ubiquitous - widely applied across organisations, industry sectors and society. However, the opportunities and risks it presents are not yet fully understood. In this paper we identify and explore the tensions that Big Data can create at multiple levels, focusing on the need for organisations to meet the challenges that can arise. We draw on insights from twelve papers published in the Special Issue of Technological Forecasting & Social Change entitled “Tension in the Data Environment: Can Organisations Meet the Challenge?” in order to build a ‘Multi-Layer Tensions Model’ that highlights key pressures and challenges in the BD environment. We find evidence of tensions of three types, which we summarise as “Organisational Learning”, “Organisational Leadership” and “Societal” tensions. We contribute, first, by identifying and developing a nuanced understanding of the tensions faced in the Big Data environment; and second, by elaborating on the capabilities that can be developed and the actions taken to maximise the benefits of Big Data. We end with a “Learning, Leading, Linking” framework, which points to implications for practice and a future research agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121315
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date30 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • big data
  • tensions
  • digital
  • organisations
  • society
  • challenges
  • Tensions
  • Organisations
  • Challenges
  • Digital
  • Big data
  • Society


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