Business Information Systems - Journal Articles

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    The dark side of digitalization and social media platform governance: a citizen engagement study
    (Emerald, 2023-01-09) McCarthy, Stephen; Rowan, Wendy; Mahony, Carolanne; Vergne, Antoine
    Purpose: Social media platforms are a pervasive technology that continues to define the modern world. While social media has brought many benefits to society in terms of connection and content sharing, numerous concerns remain for the governance of social media platforms going forward, including (but not limited to) the spread of misinformation, hate speech and online surveillance. However, the voice of citizens and other non-experts is often missing from such conversations in information systems literature, which has led to an alleged gap between research and the everyday life of citizens. Design/methodology/approach: The authors address this gap by presenting findings from 16 h of online dialog with 25 citizens on social media platform governance. The online dialog was undertaken as part of a worldwide consultation project called “We, the internet”, which sought to provide citizens with a voice on a range of topics such as “Digitalization and Me,” “My Data, Your Data, Our Data” and “A Strong Digital Public Sphere.” Five phases of thematic analysis were undertaken by the authors to code the corpus of qualitative data. Findings: Drawing on the Theory of Communicative Action, the authors discuss three dialogical processes critical to citizen discourse: lifeworld reasoning, rationalization and moral action. The findings point toward citizens’ perspectives of current and future issues associated with social media platform governance, including concerns around the multiplicity of digital identities, consent for vulnerable groups and transparency in content moderation. The findings also reveal citizens’ rationalization of the dilemmas faced in addressing these issues going forward, including tensions such as digital accountability vs data privacy, protection vs inclusion and algorithmic censorship vs free speech. Originality/value: Based on outcomes from this dialogical process, moral actions in the form of policy recommendations are proposed by citizens and for citizens. The authors find that tackling these dark sides of digitalization is something too important to be left to “Big Tech” and equally requires an understanding of citizens’ perspectives to ensure an informed and positive imprint for change.
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    Open e-learning platforms and the design–reality gap: an affordance theory perspective
    (Emerald, 2021-12-22) McCarthy, Stephen; Rowan, Wendy; Kahma, Nina; Lynch, Laura; Ertiö, Titiana Petra; Horizon 2020
    Purpose: The dropout rates of open e-learning platforms are often cited as high as 97%, with many users discontinuing their use after initial acceptance. This study aims to explore this anomaly through the lens of affordances theory, revealing design–reality gaps between users' diverse goals and the possibilities for action provided by an open IT artefact. Design/methodology/approach: A six-month case study was undertaken to investigate the design implications of user-perceived affordances in an EU sustainability project which developed an open e-learning platform for citizens to improve their household energy efficiency. Thematic analysis was used to reveal the challenges of user continuance behaviour based on how an open IT artefact supports users in achieving individual goals (e.g. reducing energy consumption in the home) and collective goals (lessening the carbon footprint of society). Findings: Based on the findings, the authors inductively reveal seven affordances related to open e-learning platforms: informing, assessment, synthesis, emphasis, clarity, learning pathway and goal-planning. The findings centre on users' perception of these affordances, and the extent to which the open IT artefact catered to the goals and constraints of diverse user groups. Open IT platform development is further discussed from an iterative and collaborative perspective in order to explore different possibilities for action. Originality/value: The study contributes towards research on open IT artefact design by presenting key learnings on how the designers of e-learning platforms can bridge design–reality gaps through exploring affordance personalisation for diverse user groups. This can inform the design of open IT artefacts to help ensure that system features match the expectations and contextual constraints of users through clear action-oriented possibilities.
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    Shared and fragmented understandings in interorganizational IT project teams: An interpretive case study
    (Elsevier, 2021-08-05) McCarthy, Stephen; O'Raghallaigh, Paidi; Fitzgerald, Ciara; Adam, Frédéric
    Shared understanding is essential in interorganizational projects to integrate the divergent knowledge of individual team members and support collaborative knowledge building. This can nevertheless be a challenging undertaking in interorganizational projects as team members must continuously negotiate differences in their organizational and professional backgrounds during project work. In this paper, we explore how interorganizational IT project teams deal with sources of ‘fragmentation’ in their understanding, explicating the theoretical and practical implications that these have for project management. Our study is needed to explore the increasingly complex and emergent nature of interorganizational project management today where neither goals nor the means of attainment are known with precision at a project's launch. We analyze interpretive case study findings from an 8-month IT project involving diverse organizations from industry, academia, and healthcare. Based on our findings, we develop a framework which highlights the relationship between three sources of fragmentation of understanding (interpersonal, technical, and contextual) across key project activities. We contribute towards project management literature by revealing how these sources of fragmentation might be overcome through framing project activities (the problem, method, and solution formulation) differently. While fragmentation may characterize any, or all, of these key activities, it is not without remedy.
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    The research method we need or deserve? A literature review of the design science research landscape
    (Association for Information Systems, 2022-04-27) Nagle, Tadhg; Doyle, Cathal; Alhassan, Ibrahim M.; Sammon, David
    Senior Scholars have made a concerted effort to help researchers adopt and top-ranked IS journals publish design science research (DSR). However, DSR continues to underperform, and the support that Senior Scholars have provided to it in editorials and exemplars has created both confusion and clarity. In this study, we report on a descriptive literature review that we conducted to bring empirical context and insight to the many discussions that Senior Scholars have had on presenting, implementing, and contributing to DSR. In particular, we reviewed 111 papers in the AIS Senior Scholars’ basket of eight journals and found significant transparency issues that have led to methodological slurring. We also found that, while DSR has produced research with a strong focus on utility and usefulness, it has done so through generalized problems and solutions and, thus, overlooked the messy complexity of real IS problems and the actual use of proposed solutions. Finally, we found little evidence to support theory obsession in DSR, a topic of concern for the wider IS research community.
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    Ontology Summit 2021 Communiqué: Ontology generation and harmonization
    (IOS Press, 2022-05-04) Baclawski, Ken; Bennett, Michael; Berg-Cross, Gary; Dickerson, Leia; Schneider, Todd; Seppälä, Selja; Sharma, Ravi; Sriram, Ram D.; Westerinen, Andrea; Horizon 2020
    Advances in machine learning and the development of very large knowledge graphs have accompanied a proliferation of ontologies of many types and for many purposes. These ontologies are commonly developed independently, and as a result, it can be difficult to communicate about and between them. To address this difficulty of communication, ontologies and the communities they serve must agree on how their respective terminologies and formalizations relate to each other. The process of coming into accord and agreement is called “harmonization.” The Ontology Summit 2021 examined the overall landscape of ontologies, the many kinds of ontology generation and harmonization, as well as the sustainability of ontologies. The Communiqué synthesizes and summarizes the findings of the summit as well as earlier summits on related issues. One of the major impediments to harmonization is the relatively poor quality of natural language definitions in many ontologies. The summit surveyed the state of the art in natural language definition development, based on lexicographic principles, as well as examples of ongoing projects that are explicitly dealing with harmonization and sustainability.