Pierre Hadaya & Philippe Marchildon, Département de management et technologie / UQAM
Understanding the Constraining Effect of History on Information System Evolution: a Comparison of Path Dependency, Imprinting and Structural Inertia Theories. Making changes to an information system (IS) in order to respond to the growing and changing needs of the organization and maintain the strategic alignment of the IS can be a double-edged sword. Indeed, IS changes that initially provide benefits to the organization may later become barriers to future IS changes. As such, “history matters” in the evolution of an IS. Within the IS literature, the importance of history is most often conveyed via the concept of path dependence. Unfortunately, this usage is more metaphorical than theoretical in nature, devoiding the concept of its meaning and making path dependence theory (PDT) easily confused with two other theories, namely structural inertia theory (SIT) and imprinting theory (IMPT), that each portray a different understanding of history and its influence on how and why evolution and changes occur. In an attempt to clarify and distinguish PDT, SIT and IMPT as well as to go past the use of a single theoretical perspective to explain the complex phenomena of IS evolution (ISE), this research proposes to study the interplay between these three theories in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of ISE and the constraining effect of history that accompanies it. To do so, we conduct a congruence case study and analyze, over a 34 year period, the evolution of the IS supporting the management of patient information at a major Canadian university hospital. Results show that the evolution of an IS is characterized by three type of changes (complementary, substitutive, and independent) and that each theory explains the constraining effect of history for only one type of changes: PDT explains complementary changes, SIT explains substitutive changes and IMPT explains independent changes.
Geneviève Bassellier, Faculté de gestion Desautels / Université McGill
The Impact of Price Anchoring on Consumers’ Valuation of Digital Goods. This study examines the role of reference prices as set by different sources in influencing users’ motivation to pay for digital goods. Prior research has shown that a firm can best capture the heterogeneous product valuations of buyers through the implementation of a flexible payment model such as Pay What You Want (PWYW). In the digital goods context, where a user may choose to not pay for a good at all (i.e. pay 0), the use of an external reference price can motivate payment by anchoring one’s decision about the price to pay. This study tests the influence of the source and the level of reference prices on consumers’ willingness to pay in a controlled lab experiment with 864 participants, in the context of purchasing digital songs. Through a series of t-test, ANOVA, and regressions, we show that as expected, a low (high) reference price lead to a lower (higher) willingness to pay than no reference price. Interestingly, when the reference price is socially determined—when it represents the price paid by other users—it decreases one’s willingness to pay as compared to when the price is determined by the site—when it represents the site’s recommended price. Moderation effects are also reported.
Forough Alagheband-Karimi & Suzanne Rivard, Chaire de gestion stratégique des TI, HEC Montréal
Look what They’ve Done to my Song – Revising a Manuscript on the Strategic Role of IT Outsourcing. In line with the GReSI tradition of members’ presentations being aimed at receiving feedback on on-going research, we will seek advice from the audience on a manuscript that we are currently revising. Grounded in the dynamic capabilities perspective, our study addresses the question of how IT outsourcing capabilities can interact with IT architecture capabilities to provide, on an ongoing basis, IT solutions that contribute to the firm’s strategic objectives. We adopt and build on the notion of microfoundations that support the high-level dynamic capabilities of sensing, seizing, and reconfiguring. Adopting a theory building approach, we studied the unique, extreme case of a firm that had evolved in a highly turbulent environment and outsourced the quasi-totality of its IT services. We propose a model that explains how interactions between the microfoundations of high-level dynamic capabilities contribute to the ongoing reconfiguration of IT solutions that, in turn, contribute to reaching the firm’s strategic objectives. The manuscript was submitted to a first-tier journal. Unfortunately, the review team did not deem it worthy of publication, and commented abundantly on its many weaknesses.
Corey Angst, Mendoza College of Business / University of Notre Dame
Just What the Doctor Ordered? Physician Mobility After the Adoption of Electronic Health Records. Although significant research has examined the effect of enterprise information systems on the behavior and careers of employees, the majority of this work has been devoted to the study of blue and grey collar workers, with little attention paid to the transformative effect IT may have on high status professionals. In this paper, we begin to bridge this gap by examining how highly skilled professionals react to the increasing presence of technology within their organizations. Specifically, we investigate how the implementation of electronic health record systems (EHRs) affects physician mobility and the decision to continue practicing at their current hospital. Results from a census of physicians in the state of Florida suggest that when these enterprise systems create complementarities for the physician, their tenure at the focal organization increases significantly. However, when technologies are disruptive to the physician’s routines, there is a pronounced exodus from the organization. Interestingly, despite recent claims, results do not suggest that such technology adoption is associated with accelerated retirement on the part of physicians or strategic poaching of talent on the part of competing hospitals. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed within.
Nigel P. Melville, Ross School of Business / University of Michigan
Sustainable Enterprise in the Fourth Industrial Age: Implications for Low-Carbon Operations. At the dawn of the fourth industrial age, boundaries between biological, digital, and physical systems are blurring, enabling previously unthinkable possibilities such as real-time spoken language translation. What are the implications for environmental sustainability? In this presentation we focus on one aspect of this question: systems that enable low-carbon operations within organizations. We explore the thesis that system quality and accuracy matter to achieving low-carbon operations using two approaches. First, a generic systems model is developed and three alternative technical architectures are described, thereby illustrating that accuracy varies across architectures but can also be attended to outside system boundaries. Second, an empirical analysis of 220 global organizations examines the association between system accuracy, managerial incentives, emissions targets, and low-carbon impacts. Results suggest that firms attending to accuracy tend to have managerial incentives to reduce emissions and emission reductions targets in place. They also tend to exhibit reduced carbon emissions for the same level of economic output. One implication is that new technical architectures enabling low-carbon operations and exhibiting much higher quality emerging in the fourth industrial age may yield significantly reduced carbon emissions.
Hasan Cavusoglu, Sauder School of Business / University of British Columbia
Bloatware and Jailbreaking: Investigating the Role of Consumer-Initiated Modification. Today, many firms in consumer electronics market sell their devices bundled with unwanted applications, called bloatware, which provide additional revenue stream to firms, but deteriorate the value of purchased devices for consumers. Consumers, in response, find technical means to modify purchased devices, called jailbreaking, to remove those applications, thereby reducing the anticipated bloatware revenue for firms. From the perspective of a monopolistic firm that preinstalls an app of a third party for a fee, we investigate whether bloatware inclusion is a viable strategy and how the firm should price its product with bloatware given that consumers can remove bloatware from the product after the purchase. We show that it is not always optimal for the firm to sell a bloatware-included product. Furthermore, our analysis reveals that even if the firm can make it harder for consumers to jailbreak, the firm is not always better off by doing so. Surprisingly, consumers do not necessarily benefit from the reduced cost of jailbreaking either. Since the firm passes part of the bloatware revenue to consumers in the form of a lower retail price, bloatware inclusion always results in a win-win situation for the firm and consumers. Finally, we show that our results are robust to alternative modeling specifications.
Using Perspective Taking To De-escalate Launch Date Commitment for Products with Known Software Defects. In the development of products involving software, managers often choose to honor the original product launch schedule, launching a product as scheduled even when there are known software defects. Prior research has conceptualized this phenomenon as escalation of commitment to a previously chosen launch schedule. In this study, we propose perspective taking as a de-escalation tactic for reducing decision makers’ commitment to the original product launch schedule when there are known software defects. In a laboratory experiment, we found strong support that de-escalation of commitment can be promoted by asking decision makers to take the perspective of individuals who can be negatively affected by the launch of a product that has software defects. Furthermore, we found that the experiences of anticipated guilt mediate the relationship between perspective taking and de-escalation, and this mediation effect is greater when decision makers are more customer oriented.
Guy Paré*, Chercheur du GReSI, & Marie-Claude Trudel*, Chercheure du GReSI, *HEC Montréal
A Research Program on EMR System in Primary Care Settings: Key Empirical Findings and Current Efforts at Theorizing. There has been indisputable growth in adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems in the recent years. In this seminar, we will present the results of a series of empirical studies we conducted since 2014 to better understand EMR usage and its outcomes in primary care medical clinics. It appears that only a minority of family physicians use the advanced features available in an EMR system, which can explain the lack of performance benefits perceived after system deployment. The key notions of “extended use” and “ceiling effect” were investigated both quantitatively and qualitatively and we identified some conditions that prevented family physicians from using the system more extensively. Finally, we are currently working on adapting one of the core theories in our field to explain our key empirical observations.
Simon Bourdeau, Chercheur du GReSI, UQAM / Dragos Vieru, Chercheur du GReSI, TÉLUQ
Sourcing strategy changes in an SME: “Ça va de soi” in the cloud with diamonds – A teaching case. This case study presents the information technology (IT) sourcing decisions made by a Canadian small and medium enterprise (SME) specializing in knitwear called Ça va de soi during the implementation of an IT project meant to enable the second phase of a two-phase organizational strategy based on a “Bricks and Clicks” business model. Phase two, the “Clicks”, represented the development of an online e-commerce solution and the deployment of a new sourcing strategy. After the initial IT project based on a mix of “in-house” and IT outsourcing approach fell apart, the company decided to adopt a new IT sourcing strategy based on a cloud computing approach. Information technology (IT) development and deployment can be challenging for any organization, but it can be even more problematic for small and medium organizations (SMEs) because of their specific characteristics, such as small management teams, limited financial resources, influence of the owner’s personality and greater dependency on external IT expertise. In such a context, the IT sourcing strategy adopted by an SME can affect the success of its IT projects as well as the organization overall performance. This case study focuses on: 1) specific characteristics of SMEs and how these characteristics affect the IT adoption decisions; 2) the role played by strategic IT vision on sourcing orientations and its alignment with IT projects; and 3) the key drivers that have influenced CVDS management decisions to adopt a cloud-based IT sourcing strategy. The teaching notes’ underlying logic is to, first, sensitize students to the specific challenges faced by an SME when it comes to IT investment and sourcing decisions. Second, students will reflect on the importance of aligning IT sourcing decisions with the overall organisation’s vision. Finally, the students should identify factors that affected the IT sourcing decisions and reflect on how an SME should adopt and deploy a cloud-based IT sourcing strategy.
Modern IT Meets an Old Workforce: A Moderated Mediation Model of Age, Information Processing Resources, and Computerized Task Performance. Given that age is considered a key demographic variable for IS research, recent work has accumulated overwhelming evidence that older workers perform worse on computerized tasks than their younger counterparts. This finding is alarming given the facts that the workforce is rapidly growing older and, at the same time, organizational technologies are proliferating. However, the reasons for the finding that older workers perform worse on computerized tasks remain unclear, limiting managers’ understanding of what can be done to assist older employees in realizing their full potential. The research presented here explores a pertinent reason why: the speed with which people process information. Based on the importance of information processing for IT-related work, we present a research model theorizing that older workers perform worse on computerized tasks than their younger counterparts due to differences in processing speed between older and younger individuals. The model, thus, aims to explain precisely how and why older workers demonstrate lower computerized task performance (i.e., mediation analysis). A related issue concerns the question of what can be done to help older workers remain productive members of the workforce despite declining processing speed. To examine this question, the model specifies computer experience and self-efficacy as potential buffers against the negative impacts of declining processing speed (i.e., moderated mediation analysis). Data from a laboratory experiment and a survey of knowledge workers supported the model. The study concludes that effective managerial interventions are needed to address the adverse effects of declining processing speed for IT-related work. For example, computer training could simultaneously increase computer experience and self-efficacy.
Incorporating elements of software complexity in ISD research: the paradox of structural complexity. In research and in practice, information systems development (ISD) is acknowledged as a complex activity. Research in information systems has studied many of the elements that drive this level of complexity based on the nature of the interactions that occur among the multiple categories of stakeholders involved in an ISD project (e.g., users, developers, vendors). In parallel to this dominant view, we argue that the number and the interactions among the technological components involved in the construction of a software artifact contribute to its structural complexity. Building on this notion, we explain how current technologies reveal an interesting paradox: while it has become easier to develop software due to the genericity, the modularity, the accessibility and the immateriality of software artifacts, the software that result from the assemblage of those other artifacts will often be extremely complex. Contributing to discussions on the role of complexity in ISD, this paper aims at fostering future research on the role of technical components of complexity, i.e., structural complexity, during the development, delivery and the evolution of software.
Benoit Aubert, Chercheur du GReSI, Victoria University of Wellington, N.Z.
Towards a better understanding of IT enable frugal effectuation. Frugal innovation consists in the creation of “good-enough,” affordable products that meet the needs of resource-constrained consumers. Affordable improvisation to solve grass-root level problems in resource scarce environment distinguishes frugal from traditional innovation, which relies on resource abundance. This paper examine how entrepreneurs following the principles of effectuation (often addressed as effectuators in the literature) can leverage IT to seek opportunities in the context of frugal innovation. Our primary contribution is to extend effectuation theory to acknowledge the role of Information Technology in frugal contexts. The unit of analysis for our proposed model is the frugal entrepreneur who employs digital technologies to enact the effectual method as a way to transcend constraints in the design of creative and profitable solutions.