“The Internet changes everything” was the mantra of the early 1990s, when the Web and the browser opened the global network to a myriad users — a quarter century ago already. Well, the Internet has not changed the law of supply and demand as a leading business-focused daily claimed at the time, yet has indeed impacted profoundly the way our lives are lived, the way we produce, consume, gain and share information and knowledge, entertain ourselves, and relate to others and influence them. Passive consumers of products and information have become active co-creators, in multifaceted social relationships with others. The Internet has made other information technologies (IT) impactful, with diverse first- and higher-order effects. Much of the research agenda of our field consists in studying these impacts in order to better understand and, as much as possible, affect them in a positive direction. The study of the last aspect, that of relationships and influence, is the subject of the papers included in the Special Section on Social Influence and Networked Business Interaction, guest-edited by Robert J. Kauffman and Thomas A. Weber. The papers present the investigations of the influence of the ride-hailing services on the markets for new cars; of the impact of the physicians’ adherence to clinical guidelines on their online reputation (and thus on the helpfulness of the reviews the physicians garner online); and of the influence of the cascades of similar content items on social media platforms on the diffusion of a given content. The Guest Editors introduce the papers and the innovative methodologies they deploy.
A multiplicity of IT impacts, as enabled and leveraged by the Internet-Web, ought to be considered negative. Three papers in the regular part of the issue throw an inquiring light on the dark side of IT use. Cyberharassment, technostress, and obsessive online gambling are the cyber-ills investigated by the authors with the aim of offering effective remedies. In the first paper, Paul Benjamin Lowry, Jun Zhang, Gregory D. Moody, Sutirtha Chatterjee, Chuang Wang, and Tailai Wu offer a comprehensive theory of cyberharassment by integrating two well established sociological theories and viewing them with a technological lens. The authors have dichotomized the online harassers into two categories, more and less experienced offenders, and have shown the ways in which addressing the behavior of the two has to differ. The sociotechnical approach of the authors foregrounds the role of technology in enabling cyberharassment, which should lead to design-theory studies of its technological prevention.
Henri Pirkkaleinen, Markus Salo, Monideepa Tarafdar, and Markus Makkonen deploy the literature on coping with stressful situations to consider two types of preventive behavior and adapt this knowledge to coping with technostress. Proactive coping involves preparation and marshaling of resources, while reactive coping encompasses the cognitive measures and behaviors emerging in response to stressors. The two are interrelated, with the proactive coping affecting the reactive response to technostress. The model developed and empirically validated by the authors includes the examination of the coping measures’ effect on IT-related productivity.
Habitual online gambling may (but does not have to) become a pattern that needs to be controlled. Jinghui (Jove) Hou, Keehyung Kim, Sung S. Kim, and Xiao Ma validate a conceptual framework that shows how IT may be deployed to disrupt negative gambling habits. The authors differentiate between the increasingly popular online sports games and the casino games, and address them differentially. The disruption of the regularity of gambling emerges as a weighty means of intervention. This third paper aiming at controlling the undesirable effects of IT shows again that the IT has to be a large part of the solution to the IT-induced problems, and we can turn to the design-science methods of our discipline to develop these technological means.
Multi-sourcing of interrelated IT and business services is a frequent mode of procurement, out of necessity or in the pursuit of the most favorable economic and technological outcomes. Owing to the interdependence of the sourced components, the architectural arrangement is generally difficult to establish and to manage. Recourse by the client firm to a guardian vendor in managing the multi-sourcing may be desirable. Should the guardian firm assume full responsibility for the governance or should it be co-responsible along with the client firm? Ilan Oshri, Jens Dibbern, Julia Kotlarsky, and Oliver Krancher answer this question in the context of a broader inquiry into the role of guardianship in multi-sourcing. Based on the data from multiple organizations and adopting the information-processing view, the authors proffer actionable advice, as well as contributing to the outsourcing theory.
Creativity support systems have been used, inter alia, to stimulate idea generation. This may be done by exposing the individuals during the ideation to design examples, pictures, concepts, or analogies. Should the stimuli be related to the creative task at hand or should they be at some cognitive distance from it? Ideation authorities differ. In the next paper, Kai Wang and Jeffrey V. Nickerson answer this question with an interesting empirical approach. The researchers design a program to go down the Wikipedia links from the focal concept to the ever less related ones and are thus able to establish a spectrum of relatedness of the potential stimulants. The ingenious method allows the authors to draw the conclusions as to the novelty, quantity, and usefulness of ideas generated with exposure to the stimuli of differing relatedness to the focal task. The method itself will find a broader use.
Online reviews are the domain of the ever more sophisticate studies, of which two are presented here. Naveen Kumar, Deepak Venugopal, Liangfei Qiu, and Subodha Kumar have devised and tested a method of detecting anomalous (read, probably fake) reviews. They use unsupervised learning in a combination with a more extensive classification of reviewer behavior than the categorizations available heretofore. The method is shown to yield superior performance. The authors also argue against the use of supervised learning for the detection task, subject as it is to the rapid aging of the training data, and to the labeling costs and errors. In the concluding paper, Michael Siering and Christian Janze study the response seen on the review platforms in consequence to a major event. The reviews studied are on a restaurant platform and the events are critical restaurant health inspection reports. The perspective taken by the authors is that of the efficient market hypothesis as modified by the adaptive market hypothesis, with the response of the market player to the report either by quality improvement (reflected by the starred online evaluation) or by a flurry of potentially fake positive reviews. The authors’ findings show the presence of both reactions and are refined by the consideration of the environment where the restaurants find themselves. Collectively, the two papers enhance our understanding of the detection of deception in online reviews and will help to enhance the trustworthiness of the electronic word-of-mouth.