Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 34 Number 2 2017 pp. 307-309

Editorial Introduction

Zwass, Vladimir


The Special Section that opens this issue of the Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS) is titled “Technological Innovations for Communication and Collaboration in Social Spaces” and is guest edited by Eric K. Clemons, Rajiv M. Dewan, Robert J. Kauffman, and Thomas A. Weber. With a broad interpretation of its title, the section presents five studies that analyze how the online social spaces enabled by the Internet-Web have become host to new ways of value creation and customer interaction, with the attendant opportunities to be exploited and problems to be handled. The guest editors introduce the articles. They also offer an encompassing and penetrating framework that expands our understanding of the information-driven changes in our organizations and society. The framework lays a foundation for a research program that should enable us to affect these changes positively through information-based strategies.

The two articles that open the general section of the issue address the effects of the deployment of information technology (IT) in health care. For a great variety of reasons, we still have very much to do in this area, where the proper infusion of IT could yield great beneficial outcomes. MedTech, as it is now known, has much to offer all of us—not least owing to the long-time neglect of this domain. Indeed, the first of the studies empirically shows the impacts on the quality of care of the integration of IT across health-care providers, from physicians to hospitals and pharmacists. Alain Pinsonneault, Shamel Addas, Christina Qian, Vijay Dakshinamoorthy, and Robyn Tamblyn present a theory-driven analysis of an elaborate two-year-long natural experiment investigating the effects of IT integration in the ambulatory care setting. The researchers find that the quality of care has been positively affected, including the indirect positive impact via the continuity of care. This finding and the more granular results offered by the study showcase the urgency of health-care IT integration.

IT has also vastly expanded health-care delivery channels, which now include various forms of cocreation of value with recipients. In online health-care communities (OHC), physicians and other professionals share their knowledge with patients. Why should they? There are many and various motivators of cocreation [2]. Shanshan Guo, Xitong Guo, Yulin Fang, and Doug Vogel adopt a professional capital perspective and adapt the social exchange theory to explain the social and economic returns on physicians’ participation in these communities. The authors dichotomize the professional capital into its status and decisional components and proceed to show the nature of these gains through the empirics on a specific OHC.

The subject of our special section is echoed in the next study. Hillol Bala, Anne P. Massey, and Mitzi M. Montoya empirically study the effect of the use of collaboration technologies on the outcomes of this collaboration. Specifically, the researchers focus on the use of these technologies in new product development (NPD) in the setting of a major pharmaceutical company. They find that the process orientations adopted during the use of collaboration technologies (e.g., exploitation, exploration, or ambidexterity) significantly influence the outcomes, such as several capabilities conducive to high organizational performance. Based on these results, the authors offer helpful advice to NPD managers.

Online social network sites (SNS) exert a major influence on the way we live our lives, and on the way we perceive and express our identity. Our need to belong expresses itself in various ways in our social network activities, some of them confirming Immanuel Kant’s plaint about the “crooked timber of humanity,” from which nothing straight can be ever fashioned. In the next article in this issue, Tabitha L. James, Paul Benjamin Lowry, Linda Wallace, and Merrill Warkentin use Facebook data to study the interdependence between our need for belongingness and SNS addiction, which can be captured clinically as obsessive-compulsive disorder. By unpacking the gratification sought with SNS use, the researchers offer a detailed understanding of the factors that can lead to unhealthy SNS participation. The results obtained can help counteract ill use of SNS, not least by evolving the design of the sites. It is worth noting that the negative effects of obsessive-compulsive use of SNS have been analyzed as a result of imbalance between the two thinking systems (“fast and slow”) in work published in the preceding issue of JMIS [1]. That study has received wide coverage in the media, an indicator of the importance of the topic—and of the results.

In the concluding article, Matthew L. Jensen, Michael Dinger, Ryan T. Wright, and Jason Bennett Thatcher present and empirically verify a novel technique to improve the organizational training necessary to counteract phishing attacks. Aside from deleterious effect on the lives of the affected individuals, phishing attacks open systems to comprehensive security breaches. We have come to realize that a multipronged program is necessary—and long overdue—to establish information security as a mandatory attribute of all organizations. Information systems (IS) security should be considered a key part of IS functionality. Considering the prevalence and the regrettable effectiveness of phishing (the “crooked timber” again), new counteraction ideas are needed. In that vein, the authors show how mindfulness techniques can follow and go beyond rule-based training to forestall these attacks. The work can clearly be expanded to counteract social engineering in general and enhance broader behavioral security programs.

At this time, we all remember our colleague Ralph H. Sprague Jr., one of the founders of our field. Ralph was a founder of the domain of decision support systems that has now morphed into business analytics. For 40 years, he chaired the Hawaii Conference on Systems Sciences. He was the founding chair of the Information Systems Department at the University of Hawaii. He was also a guest editor of several special issues of JMIS, which contained some of the foundational studies in our discipline. It is obvious that we in the field of information systems owe much to the untiring work and mind of Ralph Sprague.