The Special Issue on Immersive Systems is introduced to you by the Guest Editors, Huseyin Cavusoglu, Alan R. Dennis, and Jeffrey Parsons. The Issue focuses on an increasingly technologically and economically feasible, as well as increasingly valuable, component of information systems (IS). Immersive systems are deployed to change the user’s perception of reality, and in our discipline we study this capability with the objective of reaching organizational goals. A virtual reality system may afford a superior capability to plan surgeries or market real estate; an augmented reality component of a plane maintenance IS may help to bring knowledge to the technicians at the point and time of application; a serious game may instruct employees in a newly appealing and effective way. Technologically demanding in their most attractive versions, immersive systems will spread more widely and to a greater effect with the cumulative deployment of prominent new technological advances. Thus, 5G telecommunications can carry the benefits of these systems to remote locations at an economically justified cost, often bringing the benefits of advanced technology to underserved populations. In reciprocity, the greater utilization of immersive technologies can lead to the spread of 5G cellular technology. The works included in the Special Issue bring diverse methodologies to the analysis of the role and the possibilities of technological immersion as another aspect of the organizational use of IS.
The first paper of the general section compares analytically the benefits that can be garnered from information technology (IT) by the foreign versus the local firms in the emerging economies, notably in the BRIC countries (Brasil, Russia, India, China). The authors, Jiban Khuntia, Abhishek Kathuria, Terence J.V. Saldanha, and Benn R. Konsynski, focus on the comparative effects of the flexibilities borne by IT, specifically the flexibilities in customer and partner services, using India as the focal country. The authors find that complementing the foreign firms’ inherent capabilities with the use of IT faces much greater challenges on the customer side than on the partnering one. The findings for the local firms present the mirror image of this. While these results have their own weight theoretically and pragmatically, they also open an avenue to a future broadening of the scope to other capabilities and to other country categories.
Two subsequent papers offer together a Janusian view of social media, with a bright-side analysis followed by a study on the dark side. The first of the papers, by Yuheng Hu, Anbang Xu, Yili Hong, David Gal, Vibha Sinha, and Rama Akkiraju, presents a predictive model of brand personality, that is, the totality of association the brand evokes. The authors show how the brand personality can be extracted from the accumulation of the textual data contributed to the online media by consumers, employees, and firms. The elaborate model includes five dimensions (such as sophistication or excitement, for example), each with numerous traits (e.g., charming or imaginative). The model’s predictions match the ground truth of perceived brand personality with high accuracy. This deployment of the multifaceted archival data derived from social media also helps the authors to arrive at valuable insights regarding the relationships among people as consumers and employees, brands, and firms.
Fake news on social media have become highly disruptive to our social relationships and our governance on all levels. This is another proof of the dictum that as the potency of IT grows, so does the threat associated with it. Some remedies against mis- and disinformation have been already deployed by the offerors of social networks; yet, any observer of the scene knows that they are vastly insufficient. Here, our field is well equipped to help. In the next paper, Antino Kim, Patricia L. Moravec, and Alan R. Dennis examine how to fight the fake news at the source, so to say, by users and experts rating the reputation of the source of the online articulations in one of the three different ways. Using two different experimental designs, the authors arrive at robust findings: Yes, presenting the reputation of the source along with the “news” works; yes, the absence of ratings alongside articulations with rated sources works, too – to cause disbelief in the “news.” As algorithmic verification of posts has been found partly wanting, the findings here support the idea of human ratings by deploying expertise and crowdsourcing. Of course, the human ratings can complement the algorithmic ones.
Electronic word of mouth (eWoM) is on the other side of the coin when we assess the effects of the active participation of the users in generating online content, a part of user co-creation of value online. User reviews, discussions, blogs, and other articulations may drive the potential customers to a good or service, or drive them away. What does the adoption of an eWoM message by others depend upon? This question has been answered in many, often conflicting, ways by numerous researchers. The time is ripe for a methodologically reliable synthesis via meta-analysis. You will find it in the next paper, by Hamed Qahri-Saremi and Ali Reza Montazemi. Drawing on 87 independent empirical studies, the authors come up with a parsimonious model that the future researchers in the domain can build on. Moreover, the authors offer specific suggestions how the actual eWoM service providers can improve their offerings.
Two-sided online platforms are, among other applications, a common way of connecting content sellers with content buyers. They are also a common venue for content piracy and thus for the content protection from piracy. The protection has a positive effect of impeding piracy and increasing the (paid for) demand from the buyers, and the negative effect by making the platforms more costly and more inconvenient to use by the buyers. What is then the optimal level of protection? Guofang Nan, Lina Yao, Yi-Chun (Chad) Ho, Zhiyong Li, and Minqiang Li present a stylized economic model that allows them to recommend the optimal protection level in various circumstances. This can help in structuring a platform business model either under the content-selling strategy or under the advertising agency strategy when the content is offered free or as a freemium attraction. This work will no doubt be extended by the relaxation of some of the current assumptions and by generalization of the results.