Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 35 Number 3 2018 pp. 717-718

Editorial Introduction

Zwass, Vladimir


The titles of the two special sections that open this issue of JMIS refer to the digital transformation that can be accomplished by the deployment of information technologies. There is no exaggeration in this. Cloud computing, the subject of the first of these two sections, has enabled new levels of organizational performance, inexpensive and fast startups owing to lower entry barriers, new effective business models, and the rapid creation of ecosystems on ever-new platforms. The new ways IT-enabled organizational ecosystems are able to function is the subject of the second special section that addresses vertical organizational relationships based on the supply-chain arrangements between and among firms.

In the Special Section on The Transformative Value of Cloud Computing, the Guest Editors, Alexander Benlian, William J. Kettinger, Ali Sunyaev, and Till J. Winkler, present three papers. They deal, respectively, with the strategic value appropriation derived from moving to the cloud, key affordances of the platform-as-a-service in cloud computing, and the allocation of the benefits of cloud computing among potential beneficiaries in the consideration of social welfare. The Guest Editors introduce the problematic of transformation occasioned by cloud computing and present individual papers regarding the theoretical foundation, which they develop in their extensive introduction.

The Special Section on The Digital Transformation of Vertical Organizational Relationships is guest-edited by Robert J. Kauffman and Thomas A. Weber. The papers presented analyze, respectively, the inter-border labor flows as transformed by the Internet-enabled IT and the transformed relationships between e-book publishers and retailers as a notable exemplar of the transformation of content markets. The Guest Editors provide detail in the introduction regarding the significance of these papers.

Online user-innovation communities are an important aspect of sponsored co-creation, through which firms involve the users of their products along with their employees in product innovation. In their empirical work presented here, Jie (Kevin) Yan, Dorothy E. Leidner, and Hind Benbya focus their analysis on the effects of interaction with users on the innovation by firm’s employees, as the ideas are presented and built upon within the online communities. The researchers find marked effects of the user–employee interaction on the idea generation by employees and the influence of the employees’ promotion behaviors on the fate of the ideas offered by the users. Furthermore, the diversity of the ideas and the codification of their content significantly affect the generation and promotion of ideas. These results not only amplify the awareness that these communities are a garden that needs tending, they also tell you what to tend.

Digital piracy has been with us for decades, as its objects are intangible and nonexcludable goods and as the Internet facilitates ubiquitous access to them. These goods are also nonrival in nature, which makes it easy to rationalize theft or breach of ethics as a victimless crime or transgression. Matthew J. Hashim, Karthik N. Kannan, and Duane T. Wegener use this insight to study the individuals’ perception of moral obligations with respect to digital property rights, the ability of this perception to be influenced in the direction of ethical behavior, and the effectiveness of an antipiracy message as an incentive for such behavior. The paper provides another avenue toward piracy mitigation.

In the presence of the widely accessible Internet, the disintermediation of publishers of digital content is a distinct, and often enacted, opportunity. The creators can, at a low cost and the potential gain of the almost entire revenue stream, self-publish. However, as with the Internet disintermediation in general, things are not as simple and predetermined as they first appear. Ho Cheung Brian Lee and Xinxin Li present a formal economic model to prescriptively analyze the role of electronic word-of-mouth (eWoM) in the decision to self-publish or to use a publisher after the initial reputation is established by the vox populi. Counterintuitively, the model shows that positive eWoM may lead some types of creators to use publishers, which is another example of reintermediation that we see in various areas of e-commerce.