INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY HAS ENABLED A GREAT VARIETY of organizational workspace arrangements by offering communication, coordination, and collaboration capabilities to knowledge workers. The authors of the three papers in this issue's Special Section explore such issues as the organizational factors of satisfaction in telecommuting arrangements, the emergence of trust in global virtual teams, and the community-building experience using Web-based groupware. You may note the key notions of satisfaction, trust, and community in high profile. The Guest Editor of the Special Section, Magid Igbaria, introduces the papers in greater detail.
In the first paper of the general section, Paul J. Hart and Carol S. Saunders investigate rather similar issues, but they use a radically different unit of analysis. Hart and Saunders study the roles of trust (largely on the supplier's side) and power (mostly that of the customer) in the information partnerships emerging from the use of bilateral electronic data interchange (EDI). Among other results, trust was found to be related to a more diverse use of EDI, a finding of importance to both researchers and practitioners.
Software reuse is currently on the very top of information-technology agendas. In their broad analytical survey of the area, Yongbeom Kim and Edward A. Stohr accentuate the organizational, economic, behavioral, and legal issues that may lead to the success or failure of a technologically best conceived program. The authors derive from their framework a specific research program for the area.
The creation of IS-based organizational memory is a vital component of the recent drive toward knowledge management by many leading organizations. In many of these firms, project teams have emerged as a basic unit of work. Mark Weiser and Joline Morrison present a design of project memory system that helps capture and make accessible for future use the comprehensive history of the project, incorporating the history of both the process and the product. The availability of such memories can shorten the learning time and increase performance level on future projects in the owner firm. The experience with a prototype system is evaluated.
John W. Satzinger and Lorne Olfman discuss the unexpected results of their laboratory experiments concerning the interface consistency of end-user applications. The consistency of such interfaces is, of course, touted as an absolute good. The authors, however, find that inconsistent visual appearance of the applications resulted in a greater accuracy of user performance. Satzinger and Olfman provide a theoretical explanation of their results and offer suggestions for interface designers.
Human resource management in the information-systems area, with the high demand it places on well-performing professionals, is a challenge. Proper organizational socialization can lead to a more stable work environment and higher levels of performance, including innovation. Ruth C. King and Vikram Sethi show empirically which socialization tactics lead to desirable behaviors of information-systems professionals. Their work opens a rich field for future research and has direct implications for practice.
In the concluding paper of the issue, Mary Jane Lenard, Gregory R. Madey, and Pervaiz Alam present the design and discuss the validation of a hybrid information system developed to support a semistructured decision process. The system combines a statistical decision-support type of model with an expert system in order to achieve a greater requisite variety of responses. The hybrid system has been developed for the auditors' need to assess the ability of a firm to continue as a going concern. The validation suite has shown the effective synergy of the hybrid approach in an exploratory use by novice auditors.
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