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Management Information Systems

Here are the current working papers in MIS. To learn more about MIS programs in the School of Business Administration at Oakland University, visit the Decision and Information Sciences Web site.


Replaced by 2007-3

Using IT Volunteers: A Conceptual Framework

Kieran Mathieson

Volunteer organizations (VOs) offer important services the private and public sectors cannot or will not provide. VOs tend not to use information technology (IT) to the extent they could, and so don't receive the benefits it offers. This paper examines the challenges using IT volunteers creates, including limits in availability, expertise, commitment, organizational knowledge, and equipment ownership. A framework for thinking about the effectiveness of IT volunteers is presented.

Dioptra: An Ethics Decision Support System

Kieran Mathieson

Ethical decision making is difficult. Decision makers with cognitive, emotional, social, and philosophical limits have incomplete information about ambiguous, dynamic situations, where the consequences of action are uncertain. This paper describes Dioptra, a decision support system that can help people become more effective ethical decision makers. Dioptra adds structure to the decision process, supports various communication modes from face-to-face to fully distributed teams, helps DMs avoid cognitive and other biases, and addresses dysfunctional group behavior. Dioptra is a flexible system, potentially useful for many other applications besides ethical decision support. However, Dioptra is intended to be used by mindful people in organizations with an ethical culture. The system will be of limited use if these conditions are not met.


Towards a Design Science of Ethical Decision Support

Kieran Mathieson

Poor ethical decisions can destroy firms, jobs, and even lives. Ethical decision making involves complex emotional, cognitive, social, and philosophical challenges. It is truly a "wicked problem." The first step towards a design science of ethical decision support is to develop a theoretical base on which first-generation systems can be built. This paper brings together work in cognitive, social and moral psychology, information systems, and philosophy relevant to ethical decision making. Attributes of a system that would support ethical decision making are described.

Labeling the Summum Bonum for Business Students

Kieran Mathieson

The most basic question in ethics is that of the summum bonum, the final end, the ultimate purpose of action. If instructors want to introduce the summum bonum to business students, how do they do it? Discussions of standard philosophical terms like "the purpose of life" might be resisted by students, if they think the terms are inappropriate for business courses. This study examined whether the term "personal success" would be acceptable. A survey of undergraduate business students found that on average they thought about the summum bonum more than expected. The data also showed that students found standard philosophical terms inappropriate for a business class. "Personal success" was judged appropriate, though not as much as pure business terms like "strategy" or "leadership." Analysis also suggested that thinking about ethics and the summum bonum was not driven entirely by interest in religion or spirituality. Implications of the results for business ethics education are discussed.


Examining the Takeoff of Digital Technologies in Developing Countries

Balaji Rajagopalan, Derek Hillison, Roger Calantone, and Vallabh Sambamurthy

In an increasingly global economy, information and communication technologies (ICT) are critical for nations to participate in trade and reap the benefits of access to world markets. Economists call for investments that generate new innovations to spur economic development in the country. In addition to being the source of innovation, economic growth also depends on the ability of nations to absorb and apply new innovations that germinated elsewhere. Despite accumulating evidence that several factors play an important role in the assimilation of new technologies, the drivers of adoption of digital technologies are not well understood and the findings remain inconsistent. Based on theories of economic growth and innovation diffusion theory and using the well known takeoff phenomenon as the underpinning, we hypothesize and empirically examine the relationships between human capital (literacy, life expectancy), cost, international trade (foreign direct investment), communications infrastructure (Television and Telephone) and the takeoff of digital technologies. Our findings confirm that important differences exist among the high, medium and low income countries with respect to the takeoff times for digital technologies. In addition, our study reveals the differential impact of the covariates on takeoff for the three income groups. In sum, we find partial support for the influence of the covariate factors we modeled. Policy implications include the need for tailoring the adoption programs based on country income group, technology type and adoption stage (before or after takeoff).

Using Volunteers for IT Work: Research Questions

Kieran Mathieson

Voluntary organizations (VOs) offer important services the private and public sectors cannot or will not provide. Unfortunately, VOs tend not to use information technology (IT) to the extent they could, and so don't receive the benefits IT offers. One problem is that many VOs must rely on volunteers for IT support. This paper examines the challenges using IT volunteers creates, including limits in availability, expertise, commitment, organizational knowledge, and equipment ownership. A framework for discussing the effectiveness of IT volunteers is presented. Research questions arising from the framework are identified.

Factors Influencing Intentions to Maintain Web Content in Voluntary Organizations

Kieran Mathieson

Many voluntary organizations (VOs) use Web sites to help them raise funds, recruit volunteers, and so on. Content management systems (CMS) simplify Web site maintenance, letting IT novices update Web sites. However, some VOs find it difficult to recruit volunteers for this role, even though it requires little IT expertise. This study will use the theory of planned behavior to examine factors influencing volunteers' intentions to help maintain Web site content. The results could help software designers make CMS use more attractive, and VO leaders find people willing to maintain content.

Competition among Virtual Communities and User Valuation: The Case of Investor Communities

Bin Gu, Prabhudev Konana, Balaji Rajagopalan, Hsuan-Wei Michelle Chen

Virtual communities are becoming a significant source of information sharing for consumers and businesses. This research examines how users value virtual communities and how virtual communities grow and compete with each other. In particular, the nature of trade-offs between network size and information quality, and the sources of positive and negative externalities are examined. We address these issues based on over 600,000 postings from three large virtual investingrelated communities (VICs) for 14 different stocks. We developed an algorithmic methodology to process textual data and to categorize messages as noise or signal to evaluate information quality. The results provide interesting insights into competition among virtual communities. There is a trade-off between network size and information quality. We find support for the hypothesis that the value of VICs increases with useful postings demonstrating positive network externalities but the marginal contribution decreases with the size. On the contrary, the cost associated with using VICs increases with size, while the marginal cost increases with each additional posting indicating negative externalities. The negative externality due to consumer information processing thresholds leads to a bounded network size. Our analysis also suggests that the community network size depends on two important dimensions: the degree of integrated service offerings (e.g., email services, complementary information) and characteristics of the context (e.g., stock characteristics such as speculative or stable stock). The contributions of the study include extending our understanding of the virtual community evaluation by consumers, the exposition of role of network externalities in virtual community networks, and the development of an algorithmic methodology to evaluate the quality of textual data. The results provide useful guidance for practice on the design and control of VICs.


Conceptualization of User Acceptance and Resistance in System Implementation Research: A Re-examination of Constructs

Thomas Lauer and Balaji Rajagopalan

Information systems research has focused on studying system implementation using two important constructs: user acceptance and resistance. Most prior studies have conceptualized these constructs as being at two ends of a continuum. As such, models have been developed primarily to explain user acceptance with the underlying assumption that non-acceptance would be tantamount to resistance and hence, understanding acceptance can help alleviate resistance. We argue that this simple conceptualization of the acceptance-resistance relationship is inadequate for a thorough examination of user behavior in system implementation. Using several vignettes of user resistance we examine the relationship between acceptance and resistance. Towards further understanding this relationship we propose a framework that is based on the premise that under certain circumstances apparent acceptance may in fact be resistance and resistance may signal serious problems and serve as constructive criticism. Implications for IS researchers include the need to re-examine the conceptualizations of acceptance and resistance constructs. For information systems managers a better understanding of resistance can lead to better strategies for managing system implementation.

Key words: Systems implementation, user acceptance, user resistance, information technology adoption

Date added: November 21, 2003

File size: 412K

Using Fine-Grained Likert Scales in Web Surveys

Kieran Mathieson and David Doane

Online surveys permit item types that are not feasible on paper surveys. This paper examines the fine-grained Likert scale. Unlike the usual Likert scale, respondents can select points between the anchors, yielding non-integer responses. The paper (1) presents code implementing the scale on a Web-based survey, (2) tests the effect of the scale on power, and (3) presents data on respondents' use of the scale in practice. We conclude that the extra effort needed to implement the scale is worthwhile.

Key words: Measurement, empirical, simulation, psychometric, ASP

Date added: August 27, 2003

File size: 1,423K


Patterns of Change in Perceptions of Information Systems: A Longitudinal Case Study

Dan Braunstein and Kieran Mathieson

Abstract: When a firm makes a significant investment in an information system [IS], there will be pressure to measure user perceptions fairly quickly after the introduction of the system. Will perceptions be stable at that time? Galleta and Lederer (1989) showed that beliefs about an IS can be unstable, although they did so in an artificial environment in the context of instrument development. But how could we describe the change of user perceptions during the months following the introduction of a complex IS in a complex, functioning, real organization? This paper reports on a six month longitudinal study using four repeated measurements of user perceptions of an IS introduced throughout a comprehensive state University with approximately 14,000 students.

Keywords: Implementation, perceptions, EOU, U, ease of use, usefulness

Comments: Presented at AIS, 1997, in Baltimore

Date added: March 12, 1999

File size: 15K

Choosing in the Fourth Dimension: Web Support for Long Purchase Decisions

Kieran Mathieson

Abstract: Examines situations where consumers take a relatively long time to choose one product, such as a car or a home. Proposes Web-based decision support tools for these cases.

Keywords: Marketing, Web, retail, design, navigation, time, high involvement, decision support.

Comments: Appeared in WebProfession, the International Webmasters Association journal, in April, 1998.

Date added: March 12, 1999

File size: 64K, including images


Web-Based Consumer Decision Tools: Motivations and Constraints

Kieran Mathieson, Mukesh Bhargava and Mohan Tanniru

Abstract: This paper examines the motivations for the construction of consumer decision tools (CDTs). CDTs are Web-based decision support systems aimed at improving the quality of consumer decisions. They are organized around the decisions themselves, rather than around the content being presented.

Keywords: Marketing, Web, decision support system.

Comments: Appeared in Electronic Markets, Vol 9, No 4, 1999.

Date added: April 14, 1999

File size: 82K, including images