As the digitization of the global economy unfolds, information technology (IT) and information systems (IS) deploying IT are becoming ever more essential to the value delivery by organizations and by the webs of cooperating firms. The creation, appropriation, and measurement of the delivered value are far from simple. In fact, they are the principal subject of our academic discipline.
In the Special Section on Digital Economy and Information Technology Value, Guest Editors Eric K. Clemons, Rajiv M. Dewan, and Robert J. Kauffman have assembled and led into print after extensive reviews several papers that make a significant contribution to our understanding of the processes through which IT delivers value in the digital economy. Notable here is the complexity of interrelationships among the firms in value creation. Outsourcing, supply-chain effects, complementarities, and licensing-based innovation sharing are all the subject of analysis, to which the Guest Editors provide an extensive introduction.
Information overload is an epiphenomenon of the digital economy. In the first paper of the general section, Chih-Ping Wei, Roger H.L. Chiang, and Chia-Chen Wu present an approach to the categorization of electronic documents based on the personal preferences as expressed in the individual’s prior partial clustering. The empirical evaluation of the four proposed techniques shows their superiority to the traditional document-clustering methods. Further continuation of this research stream will be important to cognitive coping with the avalanche of electronic text, which may mirror more than traditional documents. Navigating social networks comes to mind.
Two subsequent papers address consumer behavior in e-commerce. The first investigates the consumers’ willingness to pay for online content. More specifically, at issue is extracting monetary gains from the content that may be interesting and enjoyable (and paid for when packaged into a paper-based magazine or newspaper), yet of no specific utilitarian value. The extent of the willingness to pay for such content has been, as we know, limited. Here, Alexandre B. Lopes and Dennis F. Galletta establish empirically that the willingness to pay is directly related to the benefit expected by the consumer from the access to information. The take-away to the practitioner is the need to clearly signal the value of the content to the potential consumers, with several practical suggestions offered by the authors.
The trust deficit inherent in e-commerce has led to a broad research stream on trust in our discipline. Kai H. Lim, Choon Ling Sia, Matthew K.O. Lee, and Izak Benbasat study the effectiveness of two online trust-building methods. These authors find that the endorsements by satisfied customers—and, crucially, peers perceived as similar—are effective in enhancing the trust by a first-time visitor to an e-tailer’s site. As in the previous paper, the authors offer practical suggestions to enable e-tailers to benefit from this insight.
It is important to the further progress of our discipline that the general models of information systems adoption, diffusion, and success be contextualized. Because contingencies are the way of management, the specialization of the general models is vital to the enactment of their insights. In the concluding paper of the issue, Randy V. Bradley, Jeannie L. Pridmore, and Terry Anthony Byrd examine the nomological network of the DeLone and McLean IS success model within the context of two different corporate cultures, dichotomized as entrepreneurial and formal, while including the impact of the IT plan in the empirical study. The results offer a textured understanding of the role of IT at various levels of decision making in the firms that largely explore or largely exploit.