Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 17 Number 1 2000 pp. 3-8

Editorial Introduction

Zwass, Vladimir


INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCHERS HAVE DEVOTED MOST OF THEIR EFFORTS to the hierarchy end of the hierarchy-markets spectrum of business governance. Having contributed significantly to our understanding of organizational management information systems, this work has more recently resulted also in a firmer conceptualization of the interorganizational systems that combine firms in supply and cooperation networks. This direction is and will remain vital to our field. Yet, the time has come to devote greater attention to the relationships between information systems and markets. There are many sides to these relationships. Information systems are deployed to create marketplaces with the desired participation and characteristics; Web auctions are probably the best example for today. Marketplaces for information goods are another area now being subjected to investigation. These markets have distinct properties, flowing, inter alia, from the near-zero marginal cost of the product and of its distribution. They are also subject to more or less subtle manipulation, both by illegal and legal means. In order to ensure efficient resource allocation in these markets, it is important to structure them with incentive compatibility in mind. Several papers that open the present issue of the journal do indeed address nodal issues at the intersection of information systems and marketplaces. The variety of methodologies that aim at the target is highly notable.

In the first article, Alok Gupta, Boris Jukic, Dale O. Stahl, and Andrew B. Whinston develop an incentive-compatible mechanism for pricing Internet services. Although until now the Internet operation has been relying on fixed-fee pricing for a relatively uniform service quality, it is widely expected that pay-for-service-quality regimes will be established in the very near future. It then becomes important to establish price levels that would allocate the scarce resource of higher-priority treatment to the users who value it highest. It is also necessary to design a value-revelation mechanism that would not provide an incentive for the users to "game" the system. Most of the Internet pricing mechanisms currently put forward assume that the users state the urgency of their demand, which is, of course, not incentive-compatible. It is the highly original contribution of the present paper to offer a method for estimating the cost of delay to a user from the actual on-line behavior of the user. This work can be expected to generate both scholarly and practical interest. It can also be applied in environments other than the Internet.

Using the approach of experimental economics, Y. Alex Tung and James R. Marsden study the impact of inside information on trading volumes in securities markets. Beyond that, the authors are able to design experiments that analyze the outcomes of potential regulatory changes. Since information systems are a principal means of market surveillance, this contribution presents, in effect, a workstation for developing regulatory and punitive mechanisms in security marketplaces.

Lawrence A. West Jr. investigates pricing policies that have been used by on-line database vendors. As purveyors of what economists call public goods, they need to develop efficient markets for the product that can be widely copied and circulated, for example, over the Internet. West finds that by adopting a combination of pricing strategies, the industry has been able to create a well-functioning market for computer-readable information. With service enhancements, incentives have been created to protect products from unauthorized reuse. Moreover, market participants have been continuously adapting their behavior to drastic technological change, with mutual benefit: The invisible hand has been guided properly.

Another aspect of creating a market for information goods is studied by Srinivasan Raghunathan. The author investigates the profitability of introducing simultaneous multiple software editions, as well as upgrades, to serve the needs of multiple market segments. The near-zero marginal production cost results in specificities here as compared to the well-established segmentation strategies in the markets for physical goods. Some of the results are quite surprising. The author is able to make definite recommendations to the managers responsible for marketing software packages. The work is capable of extension in several directions, including the provision of application services on a rental basis.

A related, if largely nefarious, software marketing practice is investigated with the use of an entirely different methodology by John A. Hoxmeier. Product preannouncements long before the ship date, or in lieu of shipments that never take place, have been an industry practice for decades. Are they a breach of trust, or is a long lead time to delivery a helpful means of signaling to the potential customer and other vendors meant to enable them to prepare for the release? It appears that the specificity of software as a product asserts itself again. In the perceptions of the managers surveyed, it is only the final functionality that counts-another guideline to the marketers.

The distribution of multimedia objects, such as high-resolution images, video, audio, and various combinations thereof, over computer networks is what we see ever more of. Sandeep Purao and Tae-Dong Han present here a formal model and a more pragmatic approach to the distribution of multimedia content over intranets. The approach taken by the authors makes it possible to offer a spectrum of service quality at a corresponding cost for the initial distribution of multimedia content. A prototype design is offered as a proof of concept.

It has been widely argued that a flexible information technology infrastructure, from which new business initiatives can be launched, is strategically important to organizations. However, no method to measure the flexibility construct has been available-until now. Here, Terry Anthony Byrd and Douglas E. Turner operationalize the construct and present a validated instrument for its measurement. This work is of obvious importance to the practitioners, who will be able to root their infrastructure claims in measurable dimensions. No doubt, it will also stimulate the interest of researchers in refining the factors presented by the authors.

Business-to-business (B2B) commerce dominates the present electronic commerce. This is well known. It is not equally well known that Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and private-network EDI in particular, dominates B2B e-commerce. The ubiquity of EDI in business practices leads Gregory E. Truman to conclude that its organizational disposition has moved from the strategic to the tactical level. Accordingly, he studies how the integration of EDI with other corporate systems affects corporate performance. In addition, Truman finds the influence of integration among the internal systems themselves to be salient to the way EDI deployment influences financial outcomes.

Management information systems in the public sector are a weighty component of the overall MIS engagement. It is also a vastly understudied one. Here, James Y.L. Thong, Chee-Sing Yap, and Kin-Lee Seah present a case study of business process reengineering (BPR) in a large public organization in Singapore. Relative absence of market pressures, combined with more elaborate internal processes, distinguishes public organizations from private firms and affects organizational change. Although some of the findings apply to both private and public companies, the authors are able to offer detailed guidelines for conducting public-sphere BPR, which cannot be easy, even in Singapore. Of particular interest is the role of an information system pilot in promoting the goals of the reengineering effort.

This issue opens our seventeenth year of publication. It has become customary to thank at such time our readers, members of our Editorial Board and, crucially, the JMIS referees, who all collaborate in the success of the Journal. Here are our reviewers, the primary guarantors of the quality of our papers:

William Acar

Dennis A. Adams

Niv Ahituv

Murugan Anandarajan

Lynda M. Applegate

Paul Attewell

Sulin Ba

Barbro Back

Yannis Bakos

P.R. Balasubramanian

Dirk Baldwin

Dinesh Batra

Salvatore Belardo

Michael Benaroch

Francois Bergeron

Sudip Bhattacherjee

Bijoy Bordoloi

Carol V. Brown

Jeffrey Butterfield

Terry A. Byrd

Edward G. Cale, Jr.

Judith Carlisle

Sven Carlsson

Erran Carmel

Houston H. Carr

William J. Carroll

Robert P. Cerveny

Namsik Chang

Patrick Chau

Hong-Mei Chen

Hsing Kenneth Cheng

Robert T.H. Chi

Roger Chiang

William C. Chismar

Jong-min Choe

H. Michael Chung

Roger Clarke

Sue Conger

Randy Cooper

Timothy P. Cronan

David C. Croson

Paul Cule

Ronald Dattero

Michael J. Davern

Donald L. Davis

Sarv Devaraj

Ali Dogramaci

Peter Duchessi

Omar A. El Sawy

Hyun B. Eom

Gerald E. Evans

Steven Feiner

Kirk Fiedler

Edmond P. Fitzgerald

Jerry Fjermestad

Steven W. Floyd

Edward Fox

Dennis Galletta

Edward J. Garrity

Bezalel Gavish

Erol Gelenbe

Mark Ginsburg

Janis L. Gogan

Dale Goodhue

Sanjay Gosain

Martin D. Goslar

Paul Gray

Saul Greenberg

Robert K. Griffin

Michael D. Grigoriades

Mary-Liz Grise

Tor Guimaraes

Alok Gupta

Barbara Haley

Bill C. Hardgrave

Il-Horn Hann

Paul Hart

Stephen Hayne

Roxanne Starr Hiltz

Rudy Hirschheim

Lorin M. Hitt

Richard Hoffman

John A. Hoxmeier

Qing Hu

Cary T. Hughes

Ard Huizing

E. Gerald Hurst

Gretchen I. Irwin

Tomas Isakowitz

Bharat A. Jain

Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa

Murray E. Jennex

Per V. Jenster

Linda Ellis Johnson

Kailash Joshi

Charles Kacmar

Surinder Kahai

Timo Kakola

Ajit Kambil

P.K. Kannan

Jahangir Karimi

Michael Kattan

Mark Keil

Robert T. Keim

Chris Kemerer

Julie E. Kendall

William J. Kettinger

Omar E.M. Khalil

Melody Y. Kiang

Gary Klein

Stefan Koch

Esther Koster

Kenneth A. Kozar

Kenneth L. Kraemer

Ramayya Krishnan

Uday Kulkarni

Ram Kumar

Mary C. Lacity

Simon S.K. Lam

Gwynne Larsen

Tor J. Larsen

Kathy S. Lassila

Heeseok Lee

Ho Geun Lee

Jungwoo Lee

Dorothy Leidner

Richard Leifer

Mary Jane Lenard

Hugo Levecq

Ting-Peng Liang

Nancy Lightner

Yihwa Irene Liou

Astrid Lipp

Paulo J.G. Lisboa

Henry C. Lucas, Jr.

Kalle Lyytinen

William McCarthy

Jane M. Mackay

Roy McKelvey

Ephraim R. McLean

Poppy L. McLeod

Gregory Madey

Simha R. Magal

Mo A. Mahmood

David Maier

Ji-Ye Mao

Salvatore T. March

Anne P. Massey

Charles H. Mawhinney

Jerrold H. May

Karon Meehan

Roberto J. Mejias

Shaila Miranda

Rajesh Mirani

William H. Money

Ali R. Montazemi

Ramiro Montealegre

Janette Moody

Ajay S. Mookerjee

Scott Moore

Jolene Morrison

Michael D. Myers

Kathleen Mykytyn

Peter P. Mykytyn, Jr.

Barin N. Nag

Murli Nagasundaram

R. Ryan Nelson

Boon Siong Neo

Fred Niederman

Rosalie Ocker

Lorne Olfman

James Oliver

Levent Orman

Richard Orwig

Jonathan W. Palmer

Raymond R. Panko

Lee Papayanopoulos

Michael Parent

Diane Parente

Kenneth Peffers

Norman Pendegraft

Mark Pendergast

Roger A. Pick

Leo L. Pipino

Robert Plant

Steven Poltrock

Gerald Post

John H. Prager

Jayesh Prasad

G. Premkumar

Sandeep Purao

S. Raghunathan

Arik Ragowsky

T.S. Ragu-Nathan

Arun Rai

Rex Kelly Rainer, Jr.

K.S. Raman

B. Ramesh

Richard G. Ramirez

H.R. Rao

R. Ravichandran

T. Ravichandran

Sury Ravindran

Amy W. Ray

Louis Raymond

Paul Resnick

William B. Richmond

Frederick Riggins

Daniel Robey

Michael C. Row

Young U. Ryu

Sherry D. Ryan

Timo Saarinen

Rajiv Sabherwal

Sharon Salveter

G. Lawrence Sanders

Tuomas Sandholm

Radhika Santhanam

John Satzinger

Carol Saunders

Naveed Saleem

George Schell

K.D. Schenk

Irmtraud S. Seeborg

Kishore Sengupta

Vikram Sethi

Kenneth C. Sevcik

Dennis G. Severance

Theresa M. Shaft

Steven Sheetz

Jim Sheffield

Olivia Sheng

Michael Shields

J.P. Shim

Siew Kien Sia

Mark S. Silver

Atish P. Sinha

Sumit Sircar

Charles A. Snyder

William E. Spangler

Rajendra P. Srivastava

Eric W. Stein

John M. Stevens

Veda Storey

Girish Subramanian

Ramesh Subramanian

Ephraim Sudit

Robert T. Sumichrast

Shankar Sunarajan

Arun Sundararajan

Tae Kyung Sung

Edward J. Szewczak

Paul P. Tallon

Kar Yan Tam

Bernard C.Y. Tan

Mohan R. Tanniru

Alfred Taudes

David P. Tegarden

James T.C. Teng

Hock-Hai Teo

Thompson Teo

Matthew Thatcher

Ron Thompson

James Y.L. Thong

John Tillquist

Leon van der Torre

Jonathan K. Trower

Duane Truex

Gregory E. Truman

Ilkka Tuomi

Jon A. Turner

Brad Tuttle

Craig K. Tyran

N.S. Umanath

Yaniv Vakrat

Alfredo Vellido

Boris S. Verkhovsky

Ajay Vinze

Steven Walczak

Michael S. Wang

Shouhong Wang

Y. Richard Wang

Carol Watson

Richard Watson

Mary Beth Watson-Manheim

Bruce Weber

Chih-Ping Wei

Peter Weill

Charles E. Wells

Larry West

J. Christopher Westland

Seungjin Whang

Michael E. Whitman

George Widmeyer

Fons Wijnhoven

Kristoff K. Wolyniec

Hans Wortmann

Chee Sing Yap

Evangelos Yfantis

Ilze Zigurs

Moshe Zviran