ORGANIZATIONS EXIST TO CREATE VALUE for their stakeholders that the stakeholders could not create for themselves as individuals. Information systems (IS) exist so organizations can better create value using their intellectual capital. The goal of an IS designer is to present timely, accurate, and complete information to decision- makers and knowledge workers while minimizing cognitive and economic costs. As such, IS is a broad, eclectic field that must address issues touching on hardware and software, politics, economics, psychology, engineering, and aesthetics. Designers and design methodologies for IS must embrace and address all of these dimensions.
The papers in this special issue of JMIS all focus on topics of importance to IS designers and methodologists. The first and second papers in this issue address meta-methodological issues. One discusses the integration of quality assurance activities into all phases of design methodologies; the other integrates theoretical and methodological issues into a design approach for computer-supported learning. The third and fourth papers present field-tested design methodologies, one for requirements elicitation and one for collaborative business process reengineering. The fifth and sixth papers present theoretical arguments about phenomena that are mirror images of one another: trust and deception detection during online interactions. The importance of these topics grows with the rise of e-commerce. The seventh paper argues a cognitive model for creative problem solving that has implication both for the design of IS and for the design of design methodologies. The eighth and final paper describes a technical approach to designing IS to support simultaneous access to data across an extreme diversity of platforms, a design issue whose importance grows with the rise of ubiquitous mobile computing.
This special issue on Information Systems Design was derived from the best paper competition at the 2003 Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). There were 897 papers submitted to HICSS last year, and 517 papers were accepted. Of those, 65 papers were nominated for the best paper competition in all of the tracks exclusive of the software track. A team of five reviewers evaluated the 65 best paper nominees and selected 32 papers for consideration in this special issue. These 32 papers were sent out for review and 15 of the 32 papers were then invited to submit a revised, journal-quality paper to the special issue on Information Systems Design. After another round of reviews, the eight papers in this issue were accepted for publication. One of the accepted papers, entitled “A Comparison of Classification Methods for Predicting Deception in Computer-Mediated Communication,” by Zhou, Burgoon, Twitchell, Qin, and Nunamaker was the Best Paper Award winner for the Collaboration Systems and Technology Track. This issue, like the conference, brings together a wide diversity of perspectives, all of which address the subject of Information Systems Design.
In their paper “Integrating Collaborative Processes and Quality Assurance Techniques: Experiences from Requirements Negotiation,” Grünbacher, Halling, Biffl, Kitapci, and Boehm integrate current methods for requirements negotiation with new repeatable collaborative techniques for quality assurance (QA). The approach described in the paper includes QA techniques to be used before requirements negotiation begins, techniques to be used during requirements negotiation, and post-negotiation inspection techniques. The techniques are designed to reduce complexity and to mitigate risks stemming from defects in requirements. The paper reports qualitative data about user experiences with the techniques presented in the paper.
The paper by Sharda, Romano, Lucca, Weiser, Scheets, Chung, and Sleezer, “Foundation for the Study of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Requiring Immersive Presence,” provides a framework for the integration of technologies for distance learning. This framework provides guidelines for system development, empirical testing, and research that will aid in the understanding of distance learning. The authors discuss research strategies to improve distance learning in three learning domains: the cognitive domain, which focuses on intellectual content and problem solving; the affective domain, which focuses on learning emotions and values; and the psychomotor domain, which focuses on learning the characteristics of physical movement.
In the paper “A Unified Model of Requirements Elicitation,” Hickey and Davis extend the requirements elicitation model proposed by Loucopoulos and Karakostas by adding a process for selecting among requirements elicitation techniques based on situational specifics, and by incorporating the role of knowledge throughout the requirements process. The paper goes on to demonstrate that the unified model it proposes can be used to analyze the assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses of existing requirements elicitation models to represent existing requirements negotiation methodologies, and to develop or tailor new methodologies for specific situations.
In their paper “Collaborative Business Engineering: A Decade of Lessons from the Field,” den Hengst and de Vreede analyze nine business process reengineering (BPR) projects conducted over a 10-year span and identify 87 potential points of failure. They organize those points of failure into 12 best-practice categories, and then formalize collaborative business engineering, a BPR methodology that addresses the critical issues they discovered working with BPR teams in the field. They then report their field experience with the methodology they developed.
Brown, Poole, and Rodgers, in their paper “Interpersonal Traits, Complementarity, and Trust in Virtual Collaboration,” offer the interpersonal circumplex model (ICM) as a theoretical foundation for understanding the role of personal traits in collaboration in a virtual context. The model posits that individual tendencies can be understood in terms of the dimensions of power and affiliation. It posits that these factors influence trust, perceived trustworthiness, and communication, which in turn affect willingness to collaborate, and the sustainability and productivity of collaboration. This theory suggests an explanatory foundation for concepts in other theories of trust used in the IS literature.
The paper “A Comparison of Classification Methods for Predicting Deception in Computer-Mediated Communication,” by Zhou, Burgoon, Twitchell, Qin, and Nunamaker, discusses the theoretical foundations of deception and deception detection, and then compares four strategies for using technology to automatically detect deception in computer-mediated communication. The results of this study suggest that each of the tested automatic deception detection methods offers some value, and that an approach based on neural networks seems particularly promising. This research is particularly timely given the quick growth of e-commerce, e-mail, and other forms of online interaction.
The paper “Causal Relationships in Creative Problem Solving: Comparing Facilitation Interventions for Ideation,” by Santanen, Briggs, and de Vreede, surveys 100 years of creativity research, and then argues the cognitive network model (CNM), a causal model suggesting cognitive mechanisms that may give rise to creative ideas in the human mind. The paper reports an experiment to test the model. The experiment compares the creative output of people using for different ideation protocols. The results offer support for the model. The paper concludes with discussions of the implications of the model for research and practice.
Krebs, Dorohonceanu, and Marsic present a middleware approach to the growing requirement to access the same data set with an extreme diversity of hardware, operating system, and network environments in their paper entitled “Supporting Collaboration in Heterogeneous Environments.” The challenge addressed by this paper is driven by the rapidly rising use of wireless networks, and the convergence of handheld computing devices, wireless telecommunication, and mobile computing. This paper presents conceptual and technical details about the approach, and describes the development, deployment, and evaluation of an exemplar system.
Each of the papers in this issue makes a unique contribution to the understanding of one or more dimensions of IS design. We recommend them to you and trust that you will find the papers enjoyable to read and thought provoking.