Our information systems (IS) faculty research the best ways to use IT in the ever-evolving work environment. In particular, our faculty are making headway in artificial intelligence, chatbots, and virtual agents, IT implementation and adoption, IT-enabled decision-making, design of IT systems, information goods, IT and social media platforms, and computer-mediated collaborative work, among other specific areas of study.
AI-driven virtual agents are becoming more common in technical support, marketing, and customer service, and may soon emerge as key members of business teams. Our faculty have examined how customers and employees react to chatbots and more sophisticated AI virtual agents and whether they see them as trustworthy, have affinity for them, and enjoy interacting with them. We have also examined whether putting a human realistic face on AI agents changes how we interact with them and perceive them.
This area focuses on research related to technology implementation in organizations with a particular focus on adoption, use, and impact of technology. An important question in IS research is why individuals, teams, business units, and organizations adopt and use a new technology—and this area seeks to find an answer to this broad research question using a variety of theoretical lenses and methodological approaches. Our faculty have explored how computer adoption affects individuals' income mobility and how mobile applications can influence investors' stock portfolios.
This research examines cognitive processes in developing software and in human-computer interaction. Our faculty have examined the behavioral effect of recommendation systems on users’ preferences and their willingness to pay. Our faculty have also examined cognitive processes that analysts undertake as they design and develop systems. Finally, they have also explored the effect of subconscious on the use of information systems. For example, carefully designed advertisements and background images can “nudge” people to pay more for a product, engage in more creative problem-solving, and even eat less junk food so they can lose weight.
The design-science paradigm of IT systems refers to understanding of a problem domain and building IT design artifacts. Our faculty have examined the science of IT design to propose approaches and tools that can, for example, elicit temporal and geospatial data requirements, integrate data from multiple heterogeneous databases, and design a recommendation algorithm that provides consistent predictions.
Information goods—for example, software, e-books, product reviews—refer to a type of commodity whose market value is derived from information it contains. Our faculty examine different strategies for reducing the impact of fake news and deceptive product reviews, as well as curbing online piracy of digital goods. It also includes research on how to improve information security by implementing good security policies and increasing employee policy compliance. Our faculty investigate the impact of piracy on a manufacturer-retailer supply chain to discover a possible positive aspect of piracy. We also have a broad interest in supply-chain related issues in the context of e-books.
Social media platforms can play a transformational role in healthcare, contributing to the overall goal of improving healthcare quality and reducing healthcare costs. Our faculty are interested in understanding how and why IT implementations in healthcare organizations influence important healthcare outcomes. In addition to linking traditional healthcare IT systems, such as electronic health record systems, to healthcare outcomes, our faculty members have interests in the role of other types of technologies, such as social media, in healthcare delivery and outcomes.
This area examines how knowledge is shared across organizational and geographic boundaries, how communication via email and IM (instant messaging) is adopted into organizational practices, understanding the drivers for participation in large distributed IT projects, and how the use of IT can influence the nature of interactivity in collaborative work. We are also interested in the determinants of success of online peer productions such as open-source project and wiki projects.
Examples of Research in Information Systems
Organizations increasingly use virtual groups for many types of work, yet little research has examined factors that make groups perform better across multiple different types of tasks. Previous research has proposed that groups, like individuals, have a general factor of collective intelligence, an ability to perform consistently across multiple types of tasks. Alan Dennis and his colleague studied groups that used computer-mediated communication (CMC) to investigate whether collective intelligence is similar or different when groups work using CMC. A collective intelligence factor did not emerge among groups using CMC, suggesting that collective intelligence manifests itself differently depending on context. This is in contrast to previous findings. The findings suggest that managers should take care when organizing virtual group work because groups that perform well on one type of task will not necessarily be the groups that do well on other tasks.
- J.B. Barlow and Alan R. Dennis, “Not As Smart As We Think: A Study of Collective Intelligence in Virtual Groups.” Journal of Management Information Systems, 33(3): 684-712, 2016.
Developing countries, such as India and China, are the fastest growing economies in the world. The successful implementation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in these countries is likely to hinge on a set of institutional factors that are shaped by the environmental tension between two competing forces, emergent catalysts, such as new economic policies and reform programs, and traditional challenges, such as infrastructure and traditional value systems. To unearth the temporal dynamics underlying the success and failure of ICT implementations in organizations in developing countries, Hillol Bala and his colleagues conducted a two-year multimethod study of an ICT implementation at a large bank in India. Based on data collected from over 1,000 employees and over 1,000 customers, the authors found, relative to preimplementation levels for up to two years postimplementation, that they characterized as the shakedown phase (1) operational efficiency did not improve, (2) job satisfaction declined, and (3) customer satisfaction declined. In-depth interviews of approximately 40 members of top management, 160 line employees, and 200 customers indicated that these outcomes could be attributed to the strong influence of a set of institutional factors, such as ICT-induced change, labor economics, Western isomorphism, parallel-manual system, and technology adaptation. The interplay between these institutional factors and the environmental tension posed a formidable challenge for the bank during our study that led to the poor and unintended outcomes.
- V. Venkatesh, Hillol Bala, T. Sykes, and V. Sambamurthy, “Implementation of an Information and Communication Technology in a Developing Country: A Multi-Method Longitudinal Study in a Bank in India.” Information Systems Research, 27(3): 558-579, 2016.
Social networks have been shown to affect health. Because online social networking makes it easier for individuals to interact with experientially similar others in regard to health issues and to exchange social support, there has been an increasing effort to understand how networks function. Nevertheless, little attention has been paid to how these networks are formed. Lucy Yan and her colleagues examine the driving forces behind patients’ social network formation and evolution. The authors argue that patients’ health-related traits influence their social connections and that the patients’ network layout is shaped by their cognitive capabilities and their network embeddedness. By studying longitudinal data from 1,322 individuals and their communication ties in an online healthcare social network, firsthand disease experience, which provides knowledge of the disease, was found to increase the probability that patients will find experientially similar others and establish communication ties. Patients’ cognitive abilities, including the information load that they can process and the range of social ties that they can manage, however, limit their network growth. In addition, patients’ efforts to reach out for additional social resources were found to be associated with their embeddedness in the network and the cost of maintaining connections.
- Lucy Yan, J.P. Peng, and Y. Tan, “Network Dynamics: How Can We Find Patients Like Us.” Information Systems Research, 26(3), pages 496-512, 2015.
In contemporary society, many people move away from their personal networks for extended periods to reach professional and/or educational goals. This separation can often lead to feelings of loneliness, which can be stressful and sometimes debilitating for the individual. Hillol Bala and his colleagues seek to understand how a person’s use of online social networks (OSNs)—technology-enabled tools that assist users with creating and maintaining their relationships—might affect their perceptions of loneliness. Prior research has offered mixed results about how OSNs affect loneliness—reporting both positive and negative effects. The authors argue in this study that a clearer perspective can be gained by taking a closer look at how individuals approach their relationship management in OSNs. Building on theoretical works on loneliness, the authors develop a model to explain the effects of relationship characteristics (i.e., relationship orientation, self-disclosure, and networking ability) and OSN features (i.e., active or passive) on perceived loneliness. Their findings show that OSN can be linked to both more and less perceived loneliness, that is, individuals’ relationship orientation significantly affects their feelings of loneliness, which are further moderated by their degree of self-disclosure within the OSN. Furthermore, how users engage in the OSN (either actively or passively) influences their perceptions of loneliness. This implies that mobile workers should utilize OSNs when separated from others, for education providers to connect with their new students before they arrive, and for users to utilize OSNs as a social bridge to others they feel close with.
- S. Matook, J. Cummings, and Hillol Bala (2015) “Are You Lonely? The Impact of Relationship Characteristics and Online Social Network Features on Loneliness.” Journal of Management Information Systems, 31(4): 278-310.
How do characteristics of a firm’s labor-flow network affect firm productivity? Using employee job histories, Fujie Jin and her colleagues construct inter-firm labor-flow networks for both IT-labor and non-IT labor and analyze how a firm’s network structure for the two types of labor affects firm performance. They found that hiring IT workers from a structurally-diverse network of firms can substantially improve firm productivity, which is likely due to the novel and non-redundant information provided in such networks. Interestingly, the authors found the opposite effects for hiring non-IT labor, which is likely due to a structurally- cohesive network enabling frequent and repeated exposure to a common knowledge base that is beneficial for implementing complementary organizational practices especially when they are often complex and tacit. Together, these results demonstrate the importance of incorporating a network perspective in understanding the full impact of spillover effects from organizational hiring activities.
- L. Wu, Fujie Jin, and Lorin Hitt “Are All Spillovers Created Equal? A Network Perspective on IT Labor Movements.” Management Science, forthcoming.
Antino and his coauthors study the economic impact of piracy on the supply chain of information goods (e.g., music, movies, TV shows, video games, ebooks, and software). When information goods are sold to consumers via a retailer, a moderate dose of piracy may have a surprising positive impact on the manufacturer’s and the retailer’s profits, while simultaneously enhancing consumer welfare. Such a "win-win-win" situation is not only good for the overall supply chain but is also beneficial for the society. The authors explain that the economic rationale for this surprising result is rooted in how piracy interacts with the problem of double marginalization and provide useful insights for management and policy.
- Antino Kim, D. Dey, and A. Lahiri (forthcoming) “The ‘Invisible Hand’ of Piracy: An Economic Analysis of the Information-Goods Supply Chain.” MIS Quarterly.
How do individuals understand the domain semantics ascribed to representations? Cognitive research suggests that understanding the semantics, or the meaning, of representations involves both ascension from concrete concepts denoting specific observations (that is, extension) to abstract concepts denoting a number of observations (that is, intension), and vice versa. Consonantly, extant conceptual schemas can encode the semantics of a domain intensionally (e.g., ER diagram, UML class diagram) or extensionally (e.g., set diagram, UML object diagram). However, prior IS research has exclusively focused on intensional representations and the role they play in aiding domain understanding. Based on their laboratory experiments, ODT’s doctoral alum, Binny, and Vijay and Ramesh find that understanding with an extensional representation was (1) at least as good as that with an intensional representation for mandatory cardinality constraints and (2) significantly better for optional cardinality constraints. Overall, this research suggests that the tradition in IS research of exclusively focusing on intensional encoding of domain semantics should be reexamined.
- B. Samuel, Vijay Khatri, and Ramesh Venkataraman (forthcoming) “Exploring the Effects of Extensional Versus Intentional Representations on Domain Understanding.” MIS Quarterly.
Teams use a wide range of communication media, such as email, text messaging, web conferencing, audio conferencing, and face to face meetings. Some of these media (e.g., face to face communication) highlight physical differences among team members (e.g., age, gender, race) and can promote stereotyping, while other media push such physical differences into the background (e.g., email) and may reduce stereotyping. Alan and his colleagues studied 46 teams to see if text-based communication was more or less effective for teams with different amounts of gender and racial diversity. Their results show that the type of diversity matters. Text communication improved both knowledge sharing and knowledge integration in racially diverse teams but impaired both in gender diverse teams. Knowledge integration was more important to decision quality when both racial and gender diverse teams used text communication (but the importance of knowledge sharing was not affected by the communication medium).
- L. Robert, A.R. Dennis, and M. Ahuja (forthcoming) “Differences are Different: Examining the Effects of Communication Media on the Impacts of Racial and Gender Diversity in Decision-Making Teams.” Information Systems Research.
Our faculty serve on various editorial boards, including:
- Information Systems Research (Associate Editors: Ramesh Venkataraman, 2008-2011; Vijay Khatri, 2011-2014; Hillol Bala, 2015-2017)
- MIS Quarterly (Associate Editor: Vijay Khatri, 2012-2015)
- Journal of the Association for Information Systems (Editorial Review Board: Vijay Khatri, 2012-2017; Hillol Bala, 2015-present)
- Foundations and Trends in Information Systems (Editor: Alan Dennis, 2013-2016)
- IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management (Editorial Review Board: Lucy Yan, 2016-present)
- AIS Transactions on Replication Research (Editor: Alan Dennis, 2013-present)
- MIS Quarterly Executive (Publisher: Alan Dennis, 2001-2015; Alex Barsi Lopes 2018-present).
Recent Selected Publications
- J. Mejia, S. Mankad, and A. Gopal (forthcoming) “A for Effort? Using the Crowd to Identify Moral Hazard in NYC Restaurant Hygiene Inspections.” Information Systems Research.
- R.K. Minas and A.R. Dennis (forthcoming) “Visual Background Music: Creativity Support Systems with Priming.” Journal of Management Information Systems.
- K. Larson, K. Hovorka, A.R. Dennis, and J. West (forthcoming) “Understanding the Elephant: The Discourse Approach to Boundary Identification and Corpus Construction for Theory Review Articles.” Journal of the Association for Information Systems.
- A. Kim and A.R. Dennis (forthcoming) “Says Who? The Effects of Presentation Format and Source Rating on Fake News in Social Media.” MIS Quarterly.
- J. Zhang, Adomavicius, G., Gupta, A., and Ketter, W. (forthcoming) “Consumption and Performance: Understanding Longitudinal Dynamics of Recommender Systems Via an Agent- Based Simulation Framework.” Information Systems Research.
- J. Whitaker, S. Mithas, and C. Liu (forthcoming) “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder: Toward a Contextual Understanding of Compensation of IT Professionals Within and Across Geographies.” Information Systems Research.
- R. Agarwal, C. Liu, and K. Prasad (forthcoming) “Personal research, second opinions, and the diagnostic effort of experts.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
- A. Kim, P. Moravec, and A.R. Dennis (forthcoming) “Combating Fake News on Social Media with Source Ratings: The Effects of User and Expert Reputation Ratings.” Journal of Management Information Systems.
- K. Larsen, D. Hovorka, J. West, and A.R. Dennis (forthcoming) “Understanding the Elephant: The Discourse Approach to Boundary Identification and Corpus Construction for Theory Review Articles.” Journal of the Association for Information Systems.
- A.C. Johnston, M. Warkentin, A.R. Dennis, and M. Siponen (forthcoming) “Speak their language: Designing effective messages to improve employees’ information security decision making.” Decision Sciences Journal.
- A. Kim, D. Dey, and A. Lahiri (2018) “The ‘Invisible Hand’ of Piracy: An Economic Analysis of the Information-Goods Supply Chain.” MIS Quarterly 42(4):1117-1141.
- A. Kim (2018) “Doubly-Bound Relationship Between Publisher and Retailer: The Curious Mix of Wholesale and Agency Models.” Journal of Management Information Systems 35(3):840- 865.
- A. Bhagwatwar, A.P. Massey, and A.R. Dennis (2018) “Priming and the Design of 3D Virtual Environments.” Information Systems Research 29(1): 169-185.
- L. Robert, A.R. Dennis, and M. Ahuja (2018) “Differences are Different: Examining the Effects of Communication Media on the Impacts of Racial and Gender Diversity in Decision-Making Teams.” Information Systems Research 29(3): 525-545.
- J.W. Cummings, and A.R. Dennis (2018) “Virtual First Impressions Matter: The Effect of Enterprise Social Networking Sites on Impression Formation in Virtual Teams.” MIS Quarterly 42(3): 697-717.
- D. Dey, A. Kim, and A. Lahiri (2018) “Online Piracy and the ‘Longer Arm’ of Enforcement.” Management Science 65(3): 955-1453.
- B. Samuel, V. Khatri, and R. Venkataraman (2018) “Exploring the Effects of Extensional Versus Intentional Representations on Domain Understanding.” MIS Quarterly 42(4): 1187-1209.
- J. Barlow, M. Warkentin, D. Ormond, A.R. Dennis (2018) “Don’t even think about it! The effects of anti-neutralization, informational, and normative communication on information security compliance.” Journal of the Association for Information Systems 19(8): 689-715.
- R. Mejias, B. Reinig, A.R. Dennis, and S.B. MacKenzie (2017) “Observation versus Perception in the Conceptualization and Measurement of Participation Equality in Computer Mediated Group Decision Making.” Decision Sciences Journal 49(4): 593-624.
- R.K. Minas, A.R. Dennis, R. Potter, and R. Kamhari (2017) “Triggering Insight: Using Neuroscience to Understand How Priming Changes Individual Cognition during Electronic Brainstorming.” Decision Sciences Journal 49(5): 788-826.
- A.M. Curtis, A.R. Dennis, and K.O. McNamara (2017) “From Monologue to Dialogue: Using Performative Objects to Promote Collective Mindfulness in Computer-mediated Team Discussions.” MIS Quarterly 41(2): 559-581.
- H. Bala, A.P. Massey, and M.M. Montoya (2017) “The Effects of Process Orientations on Collaboration Technology Use and Outcomes in Product Development.” Journal of Management Information Systems 34(2): 520-559.
- H. Bala and A. Bhagwatwar (2017) “Employee Dispositions to Job and Organization as Antecedents and Consequences of Information Systems Use.” Information Systems Journal 1-34.