Communications of the Association for Information Systems

Forthcoming Papers

Forthcoming papers have been accepted for publication at the Communications of the Association for Information Systems and are listed below in order of acceptance date. Copies of unedited manuscripts can either be obtained by clicking the manuscript title or contacting the corresponding authors listed below.

Note that the decision to provide a copy rests with the authors, not with the Communications of the Association for Information Systems.

The manuscripts listed here will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proofs before they are published in their final form. During the production process errors may be discovered, which could affect the content. All legal disclaimers that apply to the Communications of the Association for Information Systems pertain. For a definitive version of the works listed here, please check for their appearance online at http://aisel.aisnet.org/cais/.

Information Systems Development as Value Co-Creation

Kautz, Karlheinz (karlheinz.kautz@rmit.edu.au)


In this research we investigate information systems development (ISD) as value co-creation and how co-creation as an ISD approach is performed. For this purpose, we present a case study in a not-for-profit, intergovernmental environment of an ISD project of a digital game, which has the objective to raise attention concerning climate change. The project had limited resources and was performed with a number of youth utilizing a social media platform. Our study uses a taxonomic framework for Web-based co-creation, which originally was developed for a commercial context and has not been empirically validated before. Our study shows that the taxonomic framework also provides an in-depth comprehension of the project as value co-creation in a not-for-profit environment especially with regard to co-creators’ motivation and the types of value they created. We further discuss the findings of our study in reference to information systems (IS) literature on service innovation. This literature contributes to additional explanation and understanding what value co-creation is and how it can be performed as an instance of ISD practice. On this background, we offer some propositions for how future ISD research could benefit from adopting a value co-creation perspective. Although derived from a specific project in a particular setting we argue the two approaches combined can thus be used for (1) preparing any co-creation project (2) coping with co-creation during the development process by providing an understanding of co-creation as an approach to ISD; and (3) for after-the-fact reflection and understanding to derive some lessons learnt. While further empirical validation is needed for this claim we contribute to insight into co-creation in ISD with respect to participatory approaches to ISD beyond conventional environments, roles and types of participants and contributors.

Advancing Data Monetization and the Creation of Data-based Business Models

Rossi, Matti (matti.rossi@aalto.fi)


Although big data has been under discussion for years, research thus far has scarcely touched on directly selling and monetizing data assets. This aspect is of particular relevance given recent concerns about data privacy and security and the simultaneous explosion in the use of data for marketing and service-development purposes. In this paper we describe an empirical study on companies’ initiatives concerning the selling and monetization of data. We categorize the relevant business models based on the dimensions of their customer refinement and their scalability. The research reveals a number of constraints (organization type, business type, data characteristics, privacy, and security) that companies should address to move from the internal use of data and supporting existing customers to generating new business through selling data. Based on the findings, we propose for practitioners’ ways of benefiting from the data. For researchers, we provide directions for future studies that include developing strategies that foster compliance between companies’ aspirations and consumer and societal restrictions and facilitate data-based innovation and revenue generation.

Development and Measurement Validity of a Social Media Activity Instrument

Paul, Jomon A. (jpaul117@kennesaw.edu)


The potential impact of social media abetted by the exponential growth in the number of applications and platforms to engage online on social issues such as political discourse, social segregation, and academics has raised valid concerns among researchers. Availability of a valid instrument to measure an individual’s social media activity in facilitating a thorough investigation of these profound issues would be indispensable. We design, deploy, and validate a new survey instrument focused on social media activity. Our goal is to test the validity of the model from various perspectives (internal, construct, convergent, etc.) in the pursuit of creating a reliable instrument for researchers. A distinctive feature of this instrument is that it draws from the Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Identity theory, thereby providing a strong theoretical underpinning to dimensions of social media activity. Our results demonstrate our instrument to have reliability and discriminant validity.

Understanding the Whistle-Blowing Intention to Report Breach of Confidentiality

Ho, Shuk Ying (susanna.ho@anu.edu.au)


Our study examines the factors that encourage employees to whistle-blow wrongdoings in relation to confidentiality breach. We investigate how the evolution of anticipated regrets of remaining silent changes their whistle-blowing intentions, and the moderation of employee characteristics and organizational policies on this relationship. Drawing on attribution theory, we develop three hypotheses. Our experiment findings show that: (1) employees’ perceptions of the controllability and intentionality (but not stability) of the wrongdoing act affect the evolution of their anticipated regret; (2) anticipated regret increases employees’ whistle-blowing intentions; (3) the effect of anticipated regret on whistle-blowing intentions is stronger when organizations implement policies to promote protection of information confidentiality; and (4) employees who are equipped with information technology knowledge have a stronger intention to whistle-blow. Theoretically, our study extends the focus of the organization security literature to individuals’ whistle-blowing and highlights an IS research agenda around whistleblowing in relation to confidentiality breach. Practically, it informs organizations about how to encourage employees to whistle-blow when they observe breach of confidentiality.

Using Secondary Data to Tell a New Story: A Cautionary Tale in Health Information Technology Research

Petter, Stacie (stacie_petter@baylor.edu)


Through the growth of big data and open data, new opportunities have presented themselves for information systems (IS) researchers seeking to investigate phenomena that are difficult to study using primary data. As a result, many scholars are ‘retooling’ their skills to leverage the large amount of secondary data that is readily available for analysis. In this confessional account, we share the story of how two of the authors faced challenges when using secondary data for a research project within the domain of health information technology. Through additional analysis of the literature on health information technology that used secondary data, we identified several themes of potential pitfalls that can occur when collecting, appropriating, and analyzing secondary data for a research project. We share these themes, as well as exemplars, to help IS researchers that are new to using secondary data avoid the mistakes we made in our first attempt of using secondary data.

Robust Action Strategies in a Connected, but Unequal World: Revisiting American Pragmatism for Social Justice-Focused Research in Information Systems

Levy, Matt (matthew.levy@spawar.navy.mil)


This article elucidates Robust Action as a research framework for the Information Systems (IS) discipline. We contend Robust Action provides a suitable frame to conduct Pragmatist research in IS and can be useful in researching the multi-faceted terrain of social justice. The Robust Action frame is rooted in Pragmatism, and moreover, given the history of American Pragmatism as rooted in Social Justice, Robust Action can provide a suitable frame to confront broad-scale issues on a societal scale, of which there is currently very little research in the IS discipline. The article defines the components of Robust Action, illustrates its philosophical rooting in the Pragmatist tradition, and provides an example of how Robust Action can be used.

Towards Decolonization and Africanization of Computing Education in South Africa

van der Poll, Arthur (39475964@mylife.unisa.ac.za)


There has been a clarion call for the decolonization of South African universities. Decolonization focuses on the dismantlement of Western epistemological traditions and practices entrenched in the university culture and knowledge domains. In this paper, we explore decolonization as a site of struggle in national institutions of higher learning, not only politically, but also epistemologically. More specifically, we examine how the Africanization of Computing education is governed by hegemonic and neoliberal policies that work to the detriment of decolonization and indigeneity. We conclude with critical recommendations that can support Computing departments and faculties in enriching the syllabus with indigenous knowledge.

Image or Text: Which One is More Influential? A Deep Learning Approach for Visual and Textual Data Analysis in the Digital Economy

Song, Jaeki (jaeki.song@ttu.edu)


In a digital economy, different types of information about products communicate the product’s quality and characteristics to prospective consumers. However, it is still unclear which type of information plays the most important role in individuals’ decision-making processes. In this study, we explore the effects of unstructured data and the importance of congruence between textual and visual data in consumers’ purchase decisions. We apply a deep neural network model to rank the importance of different types of information and use a regression model to investigate the impact of information consistency on sales predictions. Based on the empirical analysis, we find that both image-based and text-based information influence consumers’ purchase decisions, but the former is more important for ‘search goods’, whereas the latter is more influential for ‘experience goods’. Furthermore, congruence between image- and text-based information is positively associated with purchase decisions, indicating that information congruence impacts products’ sales performance in the digital economy. This study demonstrates how to apply advanced deep learning techniques to measure the congruence between information of different types.

Blockchain Regulations and Decentralized Applications: Panel Report from AMCIS2018

Subramanian, Hemang (hsubrama@fiu.edu)


Blockchain is one of the 21st century’s most impactful inventions. In addition to creating cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, this technology enables smart contract functionality and supports decentralized, secure and private transactions. Blockchains by design, enable decentralized functionality for many of today’s business applications resulting in the transformation of traditional centralized information systems. This paper summarizes four research areas of interest to IS scholars, that were discussed in a panel at AMCIS 2018, namely, a) cryptocurrency regulation b) Etherisc - a smart contract-based application, c) decentralized blockchain applications in healthcare, and, d) Bitcoin as a blockchain application and issues with decentralization. To account for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation’s requirements to provide persons with the Rights to be Forgotten and Modify Personal Data, we modified the Pedersen et al.(2019) framework to accommodate off-chain data storage requirements. We deployed the modified Pedersen et.al. (2019) framework to evaluate the suitability of the use of blockchains for the three different applications. We summarize the research questions and present a research agenda that emerged from the issues highlighted during the panel discussion.

A Great Escape: The Effect of Negative Public Affiliation on Belongingness in Virtual Communities

Thatcher, Jason Bennett (jason.b.thatcher@gmail.com)


In this study, we study negative public affiliation, which we define as discomfort with being publicly linked to a potentially socially stigmatized group or interest. We investigate how users who feel negative public affiliation form feelings of belonging to a virtual community. We also consider the impact of brand congruity (how much a user identifies with an interest or brand) on feelings of belonging. To investigate negative public affiliation, we drew a sample from members of Twilight-themed virtual communities and evaluated the interrelationship between negative public affiliation, brand congruity, and belongingness (how well users feel they fit within virtual communities). Our results indicate that high negative public affiliation and high brand congruity with Twilight positively impacted feelings of belonging: users who felt Twilight reflected their identity but felt uncomfortable publicly discussing their interest felt a stronger sense of belonging in relation to their virtual communities. Our study offers practical implications for firms seeking to design and maintain virtual communities that support the broadest possible group of users. Of equal importance, our study provides a new direction for information systems research on virtual communities, suggesting a need to study users who participate in socially uncomfortable, stigmatized, or unacceptable communities.

Concerns and Trade-Offs in Information Technology Acceptance: The Balance between the Requirement for Privacy and the Desire for Safety

Ulrich, Frank (mail@frankulrich.org)


This paper constructs a new model of motivation by bridging Self-determination theory (SDT) with the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT). Using an explorative approach, we study how human motivational determinants influence the trade-off between safety and privacy in technology acceptance. We take the Scandinavian healthcare context as our empirical outset by exploring how older Danish adults perceive sensor-based E-health monitor technology that is designed to monitor their health status. Danish municipalities aim to use these technologies to identify early warning signs and thereby improve the quality of care and life by making people more self-reliant and reducing unnecessary hospitalization. However, ethical issues concerning privacy versus safety need to be taken into consideration when implementing these technologies. After monitoring 21 respondents (mean age: 85) living independently at home over 9 weeks, we interviewed them about their concerns regarding privacy and safety. Our findings show that the respondents were willing to compromise their privacy if their autonomy and personal integrity were respected and if the benefits of sensor-based monitoring outweighed health-related threats. We used these findings and the theoretical outset to create a novel model that takes human motivation into account when using UTAUT.

Determinants and Success Factors of IT Outsourcing in the Public Sector

Gantman, Sonia (sgantman@bentley.edu)


Public organizations often turn to the private sector for guidance and best practice examples when faced with technological or organizational change. However, private-sector business practices do not always translate neatly into the government domain. In this study, we analyze data from eighty-two collaborative projects in the public safety domain with the goal to establish whether public sector ITO practices match practices that have been documented in the private sector, focusing on the ITO decision process components and outcomes that have been identified as challenging for public sector ITO. Results show that (1) expertise gaps and cost considerations are the leading driver of ITO adoption; (2) availability of capital funding affects ITO decisions; (3) complex systems are outsourced more often; (4) there are multiple successful ITO configurations; and (5) like the private sector, knowledge sharing and involving the vendor in requirements definition are important factors for ITO success in public organizations. Our descriptive, exploratory study extends previous ITO research by providing a framing for the fragmented literature on ITO in the public sector and laying a foundation for more systematic and theory-based scholarship. Our observations will also guide governmental practitioners in their sourcing decisions.

Artificial Intelligence Meets IS Researchers: Can It Replace Us?

Loebbecke, Claudia (claudia.loebbecke@uni-koeln.de)


In the era of accelerating digitization and rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), increasingly more job tasks may be automated by AI. However, there is little critical analysis of how this will happen, if at all, and to what kind of professions to greater or lesser extents. A few studies suggest that highly creative and knowledge-intensive tasks cannot be substituted by AI. Yet, there have been examples of creative art pieces generated by AI algorithms that even art critics could not distinguish from human-drawn paintings. As IS (and most other) researchers, we pride ourselves on the scarcity, novelty, and creativity of our work. In this context, this panel debated the critical question for IS academics –whether AI can and will replace our major activity, IS research, – or even us IS researchers.

Integrating Explanatory/Predictive and Prescriptive Science in Information Systems Research

Seidel, Stefan (stefan.seidel@uni.li)


The scholarly Information Systems (IS) field has a dual role. As an explanatory and predictive science, the field contributes to the understanding of the pervasive IS that shape the digital age and in some cases allows to make predictions about those phenomena. As a prescriptive science, it participates in the creation of IS-related innovations by identifying means-ends relationships. The two can beneficially interact, for instance, when explanatory theory can be turned into prescriptions, or when applicable knowledge produces explanatory insights. In this commentary, we contribute to integrating these two roles by proposing a framework to help IS researchers navigate the field’s dualism to extend the cumulative scholarly knowledge created by IS in terms of justified explanations and predictions as well as justified prescriptions. The process we describe is based on ongoing, dynamic, iterative, and interrelated research cycles. We identify a set of integrative research practices that occur at the interface between explanatory/predictive and prescriptive research—the explanation-prescription nexus. We derive guidelines for IS research.

Discovering and Transforming Exhaust Data to Realize Managerial Value

Storey, Veda C. (vstorey@gsu.edu)


“Exhaust data” is “extra data” or “left over” data from “core data” digital transactions, collected, either intentionally or unintentionally, but for which there is no initial, specific purpose for its collection. This article differentiates core data from exhaust data, defines and describes exhaust data, and proposes how to turn it into core data to provide value for firms. We present a framework for discovering and transforming exhaust data and apply it to four case studies involving Internet search data, accounting entries and data security, social media disclosures, and Edgar use logs. From the cases, we extract five managerial challenges and generate five recommendations to help managers identify exhaust data applications for realizing potential value.

An Extended TOE Framework for Cybersecurity Adoption Decisions

Wallace, Steven A. (steve.wallace@utoledo.edu)


High-profile incidents, such as the 2019 Capital One data breach and the 2017 Equifax breach, have engendered doubts about firm trustworthiness, resulting in cybersecurity becoming a critical risk factor firms must address. Breaches can precipitate extreme consequences for managers, shareholders and customers of the affected firm. Unsurprisingly, data breaches are the biggest concern of IT leaders. This field study uses a qualitative approach by interviewing C-Level executives and IT consultants. With the use of semi-structured interviews, we investigate cybersecurity concerns and influencers of adoption decisions for cybersecurity. We find that the traditional Technology Organization Environment (TOE) framework does not fully capture the range of issues in the cybersecurity context and therefore propose a new extended TOE framework that is specific to cybersecurity adoption decisions. This extended framework includes new dimensions, cyber catalysts and practice standards, as well as new factors under the traditional dimensions of technology, organization, and environment.

Missing Impact of Ratings on Platform Participation in India: A Call for Research in G. R. E. A. T. Domains

Karhade, Prasanna P. (karhade@hawaii.edu)


The objective of this study is to propose that research conducted in western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (W.E.I.R.D.) domains does not necessarily generalize to the rest of the world. Growing, rural, eastern, aspirational, transitional (G.R.E.A.T) domains now account for a significant proportion of world economic output, thereby warranting special attention. We submit that a tolerant stance under which scholars investigate G.R.E.A.T. domains with an open mind that allows for theoretical plurality is likely to enrich IS theories. As an exemplar of this stance, we consider how online ratings affect ratee decisions to participate in financial transactions on a digital platform in a G.R.E.A.T. economy. The production and consumption of food affects every strata of society and thus, we choose to investigate our research question in the context of platform-enabled food delivery. We apply decision tree induction on a population level dataset of restaurants, their features, online ratings, and financial participation decisions from a major food discovery and delivery platform in India. Tree induction makes no distributional assumptions and makes no a priori assumptions on the combinations of factors, thereby enabling us to put forth the most lenient test for uncovering any impact of online ratings on the decisions tacitly made by ratees. After conducting multiple computational experiments, we consistently find that online restaurant ratings did not have a significant bearing on their decision to participate on the food delivery platform. Our counterintuitive finding serves as an exemplar of a W.E.I.R.D. domain logic that does not generalize to a G.R.E.A.T. domain and forms a credible basis for our call for additional research in G.R.E.A.T. domains.

Studying the Other or Becoming the Other: Engaging with Indigenous Peoples in IS Research

Myers, Michael D. (m.myers@auckland.ac.nz)


This article is based on a panel discussion at the 2019 International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) held in Munich, Germany. This panel was concerned with the ethics and politics of engagement with Indigenous peoples in information systems research. As members of a research team that have been studying the use of social media by Indigenous peoples to collaborate and further their cause, we have recently become aware of some of the unintended consequences of IS research. Since others could easily appropriate our findings for political purposes, we believe that we as IS researchers need to become more sensitive to the ways in which we study and engage with “the Other.” Hence, the panelists discussed and debated the nature and extent of a researcher’s engagement when studying Indigenous peoples and their uses of IS/IT. The panel, chaired by Michael Myers, included three panelists who have been studying Indigenous peoples’ use of social media (Liz Davidson, Amber Young and Hameed Chughtai), and one panelist who is an Indigenous scholar studying Indigenous theories in IS (Pitso Tsibolane).

Measuring Implicit Attitude in Information Systems Research with the Implicit Association Test

Serenko, Alexander (a.serenko@uoit.ca)


IS research has primarily focused on explicit perceptions, attitudes, and intentions of which users are largely aware. In this tutorial, we argue that this is a narrow view and present the concept of implicit attitude, defined as a stable subconscious evaluation of an IS that is developed a-priori, stored in memory, and triggered with limited or no awareness and intentional effort when users are exposed to system-related stimuli. We further discuss the theoretical aspects of implicit attitude toward IS and document a set of guidelines regarding a technique for implicit attitude measurement – the Implicit Association Test (IAT). We further present an overview of the FreeIAT software package and offer a practical example and configuration of the IAT including its administration and scoring. Overall, this tutorial builds methodological foundations for future inquiries into the role of implicit attitude in IS research.

Evaluating Topic Modeling Interpretability Using Topic Labeled Gold Standard Sets

Palese, Biagio (bpalese@niu.edu)


The paucity of rigorous evaluation measures undermines topic modeling results’ validity and trustworthiness. We contribute by advancing a method for model selection when the researcher’s objective is to assess the human interpretability of the identified topics. We show how to evaluate the performance of different topic models using gold standard sets labeled by humans. Our approach ensures that the topics extracted algorithmically from an entire corpus are in line with the themes humans would have identified in the same set of documents. By doing so we combine the advantages of human coding for topic interpretability with the analytical efficiency and scalability of algorithmic topic modeling. We demonstrate it is possible to rigorously identify optimal model parametrizations for maximum interpretability and to rigorously justify model selection. We also contribute three open access gold standard sets in the context of hotel reviews and make them available so other researchers can use them to benchmark their models or validate their results. Finally, we showcase a methodology for the design and development of gold standard sets for topic modeling validation. Such a methodology can be used by scholars interested in developing gold standard sets in domains and contexts appropriate for their research.

Semi-Confusing Information Systems Revisited: The Role of Inefficiencies in the Enactment of Ambidexterity

Magnusson, Johan (johan.magnusson@ait.gu.se)


Forty years ago, Bo Hedberg and Sten Jönsson proposed the notion of semi-confusing information systems as a desired state for organizations operating in dynamic environments. Core to the idea was that mere efficiency is not enough for long-term success, but that organizations also require a certain amount of inefficiency. These ideas resonate within the growing literature on organizational ambidexterity, in which the dynamic balancing of exploration and exploitation is deemed a prerequisite for long-term performance. This study utilizes the design characteristics of semi-confusing information systems as a lens for secondary analysis of a case of new product development in a global, automotive organization. The findings show that inefficiencies in the new product development process correspond to the proposed design characteristics of semi-confusing information systems, opening up for a new take on the role of inefficiencies in the enactment of ambidexterity. The identified inefficiencies are manifested in unsanctioned repertoires which result in increased variety. In addition, the level of compliance with semi-confusing information systems characteristics is found to impact both the ambidextrous balance and the decentralization of the enactment of ambidexterity.

Reviewing the Contributing Factors and Benefits of Distributed Collaboration

O'Leary, Kevin (olearyk@umail.ucc.ie)


Distributed collaboration has become increasingly common across many domains, ranging from software development, to information processing, to the creative arts, to entertainment. At the time of writing, the adoption of Distributed Collaboration has thrust into the limelight as organizations across the globe are forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, researchers have applied a myriad of terms to define these operations, we first addressed this issue by developing a definition of Distributed Collaboration which is representative of all its forms. Existing research has identified several factors that contribute to the success of Distributed Collaborations. Yet these factors are typically discussed in modular theoretical terms, meaning researchers and practitioners often struggle to identify and synthesize literature spanning multiple domains and perspectives. This research performs a systematic literature review to bring together core findings into one amalgamated model. This model categorizes the contributing factors for Distributed Collaboration along two axes (i) whether they are social or material (ii) whether they are endemic or relational. The relationships between factors is also explicitly discussed. The model further links these contributing factors to different collaborative outcomes, specifically mutual learning, relationship building, communication, task completion speed, access to skilled personnel, and cost savings.

At the Crossroads between Digital Innovation and Digital Transformation

Drechsler, Katharina (katharina.drechsler@ggs.de)


The paper presents the report of a Professional Development Workshop (PDW) that addressed questions at the intersection of digital innovation and digital transformation at ICIS 2019 in Munich, Germany. The PDW was designed to share insights into (a) the current state of research on digital innovation, (b) the current state of research on digital transformation, and (c) the methodological and theoretical challenges in conducting research on digital innovation and/or digital transformation. Accordingly, the PDW featured three keynotes on digital innovation and digital transformation as a basis for interactive roundtable discussions where ongoing research projects presented by accepted author groups were discussed. Across the three keynotes and the roundtable discussions, some common patterns emerged. In particular, reoccurring themes included the challenge of balancing new and old elements of organization and technology in digital innovation and transformation as well as methodological challenges related to empirical research design and choice of theories. In this paper, we present a synthesis of ideas developed prior to, during, and after the PDW. This synthesis also results in a couple of suggestions for future research.