Researchers often hold a romantic view of theory, which they feel should be a complete, flawless, deep, and exhaustive explanation of a phenomenon. They also often hold a romantic view of theory building, which they envision either as emerging from trancelike writing or as the product of a straightforward deductive process. The perspective I offer is more realistic and pragmatic. I espouse the view that the outcomes of a researcher’s theorizing efforts are often incomplete explanations of a phenomenon, which, given a chance, may develop into rich theories. I propose a highly iterative spiral model that portrays theory building as a craft, which calls for care and ingenuity, and requires patience and perseverance. I also propose design principles that can contribute to the quality of the outcome of theorizing.
MIS Quarterly À paraître
Emmanuelle Vaast, Alain Pinsonneault
Occupations are increasingly embedded with and affected by digital technologies. These technologies both enable and threaten occupational identity and create two important tensions: they make the persistence of an occupation possible while also potentially rendering it obsolete; and, they bring about both similarity and distinctiveness of an occupation with regards to other occupations. Based on the critical case study of an online community dedicated to data science, we investigate longitudinally how data scientists address the two tensions of occupational identity associated with digital technologies and reach transient syntheses in terms of “optimal distinctiveness” and “persistent extinction.” We propose that identity work associated with digital technologies follows a composite life-cycle and dialectical process. We explain that people constantly need to adjust and redefine their occupational identity, i.e. how they define who they are and what they do. We contribute to scholarship on digital technologies and identity work by illuminating how people deal in an ongoing manner with digital technologies that simultaneously enable and threaten their occupational identity.
Evidence shows that older users have lower performance levels for IT-enabled tasks than younger users. This is alarming at a time when the workforce is rapidly aging and organizational technologies are proliferating. Since the explanation for these lower performance levels remains unclear, managers are not sure how to help older users realize their full potential as contributors to organizational success. The research model presented here identifies the declining
information-processing speed of older workers as the cause of their reduced capacity to perform IT-enabled tasks. According to the model, IT experience and IT self-efficacy reduce the negative impacts of this decline, whereas IT overload and the effort cost of IT use aggravate them. To test the model, data were collected using three complementary studies. The results supported the model and indicated five ways that organizations can help older users improve their
capacity to perform IT-enabled tasks. Additional data collected in interviews with human resources directors confirmed the relevance of these solutions.
MIS Quarterly À paraître
Inmyung Choi, Sunghun Chung, Kunsoo Han, Alain Pinsonneault
Despite the importance of information technology (IT) innovation in today’s digitalized world, little research attention has been paid to examining how firms can incentivize IT innovation. To fill this gap, the current study investigates the impact of managerial incentives provided to chief executive officers (CEOs) on IT innovation, measured by the number of IT patents. In particular, we examine the role of risk-taking incentives provided to CEOs, captured by the sensitivity
of CEO wealth to stock return volatility (i.e., Vega). Vega can motivate CEOs to engage in risky IT innovation projects by aligning their wealth with firm-specific risk. In so doing, we focus on how CEOs’ IT-related human capital (i.e., IT education and IT experience) moderates the relationship between Vega and IT innovation. Our empirical analyses reveal that a higher Vega encourages CEOs to support more IT innovation; more importantly, the impact of Vega on the amount of IT patents is stronger for firms with CEOs who have higher levels of IT education and IT experience. Our study contributes to research and practice by conceptualizing a CEO’s IT-related human capital and validating its moderating role in the relationship between risk-taking incentives provided to the CEO and the amount of IT innovation.
MIS Quarterly À paraître
Yinan Yu, Warut Khern-am-nuai, Alain Pinsonneault
Several online review platforms offer monetary incentives to motivate individuals to write reviews and keep them engaged with the platforms. While existing studies have examined the effects of completion-contingent monetary incentives (which uniformly reward users as long as they write reviews on the platform), we know little about the effectiveness of performance-contingent monetary incentives (which reward platform users based on the quality of their reviews). In this paper, we examine the effects of receiving performance-contingent rewards on users’ continued contribution in terms of the quantity, quality, and valence of the reviews they generate. We leverage a quasi-experiment research design to analyze a large dataset that we obtain through a collaboration with a large restaurant review platform in Asia. Our evidence shows that after receiving performance-contingent rewards, individuals write more reviews and write reviews that are of better quality. Interestingly, receiving rewards does not significantly affect the valence of subsequent reviews. Our study extends past research by being one of the first to examine how receiving performance-contingent rewards affects subsequent behaviors of reviewers. Our results can also guide platform managers to design efficient and effective incentive policies.
Information Systems Research
Accepté pour publication (2021)
Saggi Nevo, Dorit Nevo, Alain Pinsonneault
Goals are the prism through which actors perceive the affordances of technological artifacts. Yet, personal goals have not been differentiated conceptually and the learning mechanism through which they shape individuals’ perception of affordances has not been examined. This paper addresses these gaps theoretically and empirically. Drawing on achievement goal theory, we conceptualize IT affordances as goal-oriented learning outcomes. We then develop a research model that describes several mediated pathways, in which the impact of personal goals on IT affordance perceptions passes through IT-focused learning strategies. The results of the empirical study support the theoretical model and depict three distinct pathways. Specifically, performance-avoidance goals are positively associated with surface processing, which leads to perceptions of common in-role IT affordances. Performance-approach goals are positively associated with surface processing and effort regulation and these learning strategies lead to perceptions of common and specialized in-role IT affordances. Mastery goals are associated with deep processing, effort regulation, and peer learning, which are positively associated with perceptions of specialized in-role and extra-role IT affordances. The paper offers new insights on how and why employees perceive different IT affordances. The affordances we study are conceptualized and operationalized at a level of abstraction that can be used to study affordance perception across actors, technologies and contexts. The paper opens new avenues for future research on affordances and on related post-implementation phenomena.