Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 32 Number 4 2015 pp. 1-3

Editorial Introduction

Zwass, Vladimir

Big data analytics has prominently emerged as a tool on which many hopes have been pinned for moving to the next level of organizational performance. For these hopes to become reality, we need to understand the mechanisms through which the access to big data and the information systems built around it lead to enhanced outcomes and, in some cases, competitive advantage. Toward that weighty end, Daniel Q. Chen, David S. Preston, and Morgan Swink develop and test a model showing the antecedents of the organizational use of big data and the effects of big data on the key components of value creation, that is, asset productivity and business growth. The model is aptly based on dynamic capabilities theory because the effective deployment of the organization’s big data in combination with external data sources specializes organizational capabilities for marketplace competition. Heeding these research results will help in committing a firm’s resources to the big data initiatives.

App ecosystems and open source software are two of the defining phenomena in the present software environment. Apps are what makes platforms such as Android or iOS so highly valuable to users; a huge set of apps is a complementarity that needs to keep growing in order to keep the platform relevant. Conversely, desertion by app developers may lead to a platform’s collapse, as has been observed in several prominent cases. In the next paper, Amrit Tiwana offers an analysis, based on coordination theory as applied to modular systems, of why developers desert a platform. Empirically grounded, the work argues that micro-level design choices that improperly distribute decision rights within the ecosystem can lead to platform collapse owing to abandonment by app developers. Apparently, minor design solutions can have vast effects.

Two works address social media and social commerce. The first, by Liangfei Qiu, Qian Tang, and Andrew B. Whinston, presents a study of the growing format of user-generated content, namely, online videos. With the ever expanding telecommunications capacity, this highly expressive format can be expected to play an increased role in value co-creation by individuals. In an analytical model, the authors consider two mutually reinforcing factors of online diffusion of videos: network effects and the learning effects of the otherwise private information being shared. In possession of a unique YouTube data set, the authors are able to empirically identify the differential effects of each of these two factors, as well as relate these effects to different types of videos. They show how online video diffusion differs from that of movies and they make a novel contribution to our understanding of the specificities of social media.

Do “likes” sell? This question is answered in a nuanced fashion in the paper authored by Kyunghee Lee, Byungtae Lee, and Wonseok Oh. Their research is based on data acquired from a social commerce platform, and the answer is largely positive. The role played by the transparency of user identities on such platforms is stressed by the authors as a source of trust and enhanced sharing of experiences with products. At the same time, significant differences in the effects of “likes” exist across the spectrum of products and deals offered. The results contribute to the development of the theory of social commerce and, quite obviously, can improve its practice.

The next paper argues that the truly effective deployment of complex information technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, requires loyal use by a firm’s employees. HsiuJu Rebecca Yen, Paul Jen-Hwa Hu, Sheila Hsuan-Yu Hsu, and Eldon Y. Li devise and verify a model of loyal use built on two levels. The organizational level of analysis is couched in theories of social information processing. The authors’ individual level of analysis addresses both the behavioral aspects of continuing use and, notably, psychological buy-in and commitment to the system. The authors define loyalty as a deep psychological commitment leading to advocacy. They show how the success of the system emerges from the interaction of the organizational and individual factors at deeper levels than previously thought.

The following paper deals with the ever present issue of information security. It echoes the theme of commitment that is so prominent in the preceding work. Its authors–Clay Posey, Tom L. Roberts, and Paul Benjamin Lowry–investigate empirically the impact of the commitment of the insiders to an organization on their motivation to protect its information assets. Indeed, it is the firm’s employees who are frequently the agents of security breaches; conversely, we can look to them to enhance the protection of these assets. Technology is by far not enough: it is people who are at the core, if properly motivated. Here, the authors present the model of what “properly motivated” means. The work provides a new lens for our research on information security and will be generative.

By combining the knowledge of technology and of its use in design science, our field has much to contribute to the protection of various spaces, from organizational to national or international. Deception detection is an exemplar here. The authors of the next paper in the issue, Nathan W. Twyman, Jeffrey Gainer Proudfoot, Ryan M. Schuetzler, Aaron C. Elkins, and Douglas C. Derrick present a proof-of-concept study for an automatic deception-screening system relying on multiple indicators, such as pupil dilation and kinesic rigidity. The authors show experimentally the effectiveness and limitations of multi-indicator systems in combating the countermeasures that may be deployed by deceptive individuals. They also surface the need for more sophisticated classification algorithms that would combine the readings of the indicators.

Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) has become a key factor in online retailing. There is by now an ingrained faith in the effectiveness of eWOM in driving sales. Here, Zhijie Lin and Cheng-Suang Heng throw some cold water on this belief. They deploy the established behavioral theories to collect data from a large electronic mall and then present three paradoxical findings that might shake belief in the linearity of the effects of eWOM. The paper makes stimulating reading and challenges some of the established verities, which will undoubtedly be taken up in future research. For now, we have several useful recommendations for e-tail practice.

The concluding paper of the issue, by Benjiang Lu, Xunhua Guo, Nianlong Luo, and Guoqing Chen, is a study of the differentiated effects of corporate blogs on job performance. The authors find the distinction between work-related and nonwork-related blogging participation to be essential in the effects on job performance. The researchers draw on social network theory in teasing out the effects of social relationships sustained in blog networks. The relational, structural, and cognitive dimensions of social networks significantly differ in their effects in the two types of uses of corporate blogs. The authors’ use of digital traces collected from blogs is an interesting methodological contribution as well. Taken together, this and the preceding paper contribute fine-grained insights to our understanding of users’ articulations online that affect the way we now produce and consume.