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PhD Graduates

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Vitali Mindel

Completed : 2018
Dissertation Chair: Drs. Lars Mathiassen and Arun Rai
Current Placement: Virginia Tech
Initial Placement: Virginia Tech

Vitali employs a multidisciplinary approach to theorize and empirically research decentralized information systems online, including Wikis, crowdsourcing and social media. In addition, he researches the use and implementation of IT in healthcare on the administrative side of revenue management and the clinical side of care delivery. Vitali uses various research methodologies, including literature review-based theory building, qualitative case studies and action research, as well as quantitative survey-based research and experiments.

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Jessica Pye

Completed : 2017
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Arun Rai
Current Placement: Arizona State University
Initial Placement: Arizona State University

While information technology (IT) has been established as a key element for firm performance, it is unclear how firms can use various IT capabilities to achieve a diverse set of often conflicting performance outcomes, as well as how firms can successfully encourage IT-enabled innovations in the context of a changing institutional environment. The objective of this three-essay dissertation is to develop an in-depth perspective of the business value of IT in large institutional settings with changing regulatory conditions. Drawing on a diverse set of theories, two of the essays, one situated in the U.S. electric utility context and the other situated in the U.S. healthcare context, investigate how firms use IT capabilities to achieve simultaneous outcomes that are in tension, while also experiencing significant change in their institutional environment. The third essay, again situated in the U.S. healthcare context, focuses on identifying the influence of performance aspiration shortfalls in two areas—Patient Quality of Care and Patient Cost of Care— on IT-enabled Clinical Process Management Innovativeness, and by identifying how the nature of these relationships change based on the progression of a federal regulation. For each of the three essays, multi-source archival databases were constructed for multiple years (2005-2014 for essay 1, 2008-2014 for essay 2, and 2007-2014 for essay 3). Multiple methods were also employed to analyze the data and test hypotheses (stochastic frontier analysis for essay 1, panel data analysis for essay 2, and multi-level modeling for essay 3). All together, these three essays contribute to the IS field by elaborating our understanding of the business value of IT – the impact of IT innovations, resources, and capabilities – under a changing institutional environment and suggests new directions for research in the antecedents and consequences of IT innovations, resources, and capabilities.

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Liwei Chen

Completed : 2016
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Arun Rai
Current Placement: University of Cincinnati
Initial Placement: University of Cincinnati

Information technology (IT) is empowering consumers, service providers, and inventor teams with superior services. Various IT innovations are enabling diverse groups of people to search, exchange, and learn from information. In healthcare services, the context of the three essays of this dissertation, information resources are often not equally accessible to consumers, not transparent between patients and physicians, and hard to locate across technological domains that may be relevant to the development of breakthrough innovations. Focusing on empowering roles of IT in healthcare services, I develop a three-essay dissertation to study how IT can enable information access to (i) address health inequalities in developing regions of the world, (ii) strengthen the physician-patient relationship where patient trust in the physician has atrophied, and (iii) energize inventor teams in the development of medical device innovations. Essay 1 examines consumers’ awareness and use of mobile health that can empower consumers to access health advice information. Essay 2 investigates how online health consultation communities can empower physicians to build trust with patients, and gain social and economic advantages in competitive healthcare services. Essay 3 studies the role of digital capabilities to empower inventor teams in medical device companies by converting expertise of inventor teams into broad and deep knowledge capital and expanding knowledge production regarding medical device innovations. I adopt a pluralistic approach to collect data (surveys administered in multiple languages for Essay 1, scraping web data from online communities for Essay 2, and constructing a multisource archival panel dataset for Essay 3) and analyze data (multivariate analysis for Essay 1, multilevel modeling and econometrics for Essay 2 and Essay 3). The essays contribute to our understanding about the acceptance of empowering IT innovations, the empowering role of user-generated content in online communities for providers of credence services, and the empowering role of IT for inventor teams of healthcare innovations.

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Chaitanya Sambhara

Completed: 2015
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Arun Rai
Current Placement: Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
Initial Placement: Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)

There have been significant advances in the information systems (IS) literature about the business value that can be realized through information technology (IT) investments and the mechanisms through which IT creates different facets of business value. We identify three important gaps in understanding the literature on IT business value. First, it is unclear how risk arising from deficiencies in a firm’s information environment, along with internal and external contextual factors, affects a firm’s IT implementation choices. Second, it is unclear how IT resources in a focal domain need to be combined with knowledge resources in the same domain and IT resources in other domains to develop process capabilities and create process-level benefits. Third, it is unclear what risks IT-enabled process innovations create for different process stakeholders and what controls can be applied to mitigate these risks. My dissertation addresses the above three gaps in three essays. The first essay examines the influence of a firm’s information risk on its prioritization of accounting enterprise systems (AES) relative to complementary enterprise systems and the moderation of this relationship by the weaknesses of internal controls and environmental uncertainty characteristics. The second essay focuses on the impact of AES implementation on a firm’s internal controls process, and the complementary roles of managerial competence and enterprise systems implemented in other domains related to the internal controls process of the firm. The final essay explores the risk factors that can arise for buyers and suppliers due to the use of reverse auctions, and the controls that can be applied to mitigate the key risk factors. In terms of research methods, the first two essays apply econometric analysis to panel datasets constructed from multiple sources and the third essay uses a combination of Delphi studies and semi-structured interviews. Collectively, the essays advance our understanding of (1) the factors underlying a firm’s prioritization of IT investment choices; (2) the mechanisms through which IT resources, in combination with human expertise, create business value; and (3) the risks introduced for different stakeholders by the adoption of IT-enabled process innovations and the controls that can be used to effectively mitigate them.

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Tom Gregory

Completed: 2014
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Lars Mathiassen
Dissertation Title: Traveling of Requirements in the Development of Packaged Software – An Investigation of Work Design and Uncertaint
Current Placement: Indiana University
Initial Placement: University of Georgia

Software requirements, and how they are constructed, shared and translated across software organizations, express uncertainties that software developers need to address through appropriate structuring of the process and the organization at large. To gain new insights into this important phenomenon, we rely on theory of work design and the travelling metaphor to undertake an in-depth qualitative inquiry into recurrent development of packaged software for the utility industry. Using the particular context of software provider GridCo, we examine how requirements are constructed, shared, and translated as they travel across vertical and horizontal boundaries. In revealing insights into these practices, we contribute to theory by conceptualizing how requirements travel, not just locally, but across organizations and time, thereby uncovering new knowledge about the responses to requirement uncertainty in development of packaged software. We also contribute to theory by providing narrative accounts of in situ requirements processes and by revealing practical consequences of organization structure on managing uncertainty.

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Darryl Romanow
Completed: 2013
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Arun Rai and Dr. Mark Keil (Co-chair)
Current Placement: Duquesne University
Initial Placement: Duquesne University

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has earmarked 27 billion dollars to promote the adoption of Health Information Technologies (HIT) in the US, and to gain access to these funds, providers must document “Meaningful Use” during the care process. While individual HIT use according to lean measures, including meaningful use, is prevalent in the IS literature, few studies have incorporated rich measures to account for the task, the technology, and the user in a team context. This dissertation conceptualizes Team Deep Structure Use of Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) as an IT- enabled coordination mechanism, and Relational Coordination as the inherent ability of clinical teams to coordinate care spontaneously using informal, relationship based mechanisms. IT-enabled and Relational Coordination mechanisms are each evaluated across five maximally different patient conditions to simultaneously examine their impact on our outcome measure, Patient Satisfaction with the clinical care team. This dissertation contributes to the growing Health IT literature, and has practical implications for clinicians, hospital administrators and Health IT professionals. This dissertation is the first to operationalize a rich measure of use of an HIT by clinical teams, and to simultaneously measure the impact of IT enabled and Relational Coordination mechanisms on Patient Satisfaction. Secondly, through the introduction of Adaptive Structuration constructs, our model establishes a methodology for predicting rich, nuanced use in teams well after the initial shake down phase associated with recent HIT implementation. Through the juxtaposition of the impact of IT-enabled and Relational Coordination mechanisms across patient conditions, practitioners can design interventions and adjust the level of resources applied to process improvement accordingly.

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Rob Hornyak
Completed: 2012
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Arun Rai
Current Placement: Arizona State University
Initial Placement: Arizona State University

The three essays that comprise my dissertation are drawn from a longitudinal field study of the work process innovation of sourcing professionals at a large multinational paper products and related chemicals manufacturing firm. The focus of this study is an examination of how characteristics of the work process innovation context impact enterprise system (ES) acceptance, rich ES use behavior and the resulting individual-level job outcomes realized by knowledge workers in a strategic business process. The ES, an enterprise sourcing application, was introduced to innovate the work processes of employees who perform the sourcing business process. Over a period of 12 months, we collected survey data at four points in time (pre-implementation, immediately following training on the new system; following six months of use; and, following 12 months of use) to trace the innovation process as it unfolded. The three essays that comprise my dissertation focus on three key gaps in understanding and make three corresponding key contributions. The first research essay focuses on the transition from an emphasis on behavioral intention to mental acceptance in mandatory use environments. This essay contributes to the technology acceptance literature by finding that work process characteristics and implementation characteristics are exogenous to beliefs about the technology and that these beliefs are important to understanding mental acceptance as well in mandatory use contexts. The second and third research essays emphasize the transition from lean use concepts to conceptualizing, defining and measuring rich use behaviors and show that use must be captured and elaborated on in context. This is pursued through the development of two rich use constructs reflective of the sourcing work context and the complementary finding of countervailing factors in the work process that may impede the positive impact of rich use behaviors on job benefits.

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Timothy Olsen

Completed:  2012
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Richard Welke and Dr. Lars Mathiassen
Current Placement: Arizona State University
Initial Placement: Arizona State University

IT services are increasingly being offered via a shared service model. This model promises the benefits of centralization and consolidation, as well as an increased customer satisfaction. Adopting shared services is not easy as it necessitates a major organizational change, with few documented exemplars to guide managers. This research explores a public IT unit’s realization of shared services with the intent to improve the transparency of its value proposition to their stakeholders. An ethnographic field study enabled in-situ data collection over a 24-month period. We analyzed the resulting, rich process data using the Punctuated Socio-Technical IS Change (PSIC) model. This resulted in several contributions: an explanatory account of shared services realization, an empirically grounded punctuated process model with seventeen critical incidents, and twelve key lessons for practitioners. Several extensions to extant process research methods are developed. These contributions combine to form a detailed and nuanced understanding of the process of realizing IT shared services at a large public university over a multi-year period.

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Rajendra Singh
Completed: 2011
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Lars Mathiassen
Current Placement: University of South Carolina (Columbia)
Initial Placement: University of South Carolina (Columbia)

This research takes steps towards developing a new theory of organizational information management based on the ideas that, first, information creates ordering effects in transactions and, second, that there are multiple centers of authority in organizations. The rationale for developing this theory is the empirical observation that hospitals have great difficulty in managing information relating to transactions with patients. The research illustrates the detailed workings of an initial conceptual framework based on an action research project into the revenue cycle of a hospital. The framework facilitates a deeper understanding of how information technology can help to transform information management practices in complex organizations, such as hospitals. At the same time, this research adds to the literature on Polycentricity Theory by linking its two core concepts—multiple nested centers of decision making and context-dependent governance—with Transaction Cost Theory and information management theories to establish a new foundation for understanding the role of information technology in organizational contexts.

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Brett Young
Completed: 2011
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Lars Mathiassen
Current Placement: Georgia Gwinnett College
Initial Placement: Georgia Gwinnett College

The literature emphasizes the important role played by stakeholder perceptions in explaining success and failure of IT-enabled change efforts. However, our knowledge of how stakeholder perceptions evolve and interact with outcomes during change processes is still limited. Consequently, this study adapts technological frames of reference (TFR) to explore the dynamics of stakeholder perceptions based on action research into an IT-enabled sales process innovation project at VoiceTech. The study attempts to answer the following research questions: How can TFR be adapted and applied to support action research into IT-enabled change efforts? What was the role of stakeholder perceptions during IT-enabled sales process innovation at VoiceTech? How do stakeholder perceptions evolve and interact with outcomes during IT-enabled change efforts? The study develops TFR as a theory for investigating stakeholder perceptions during IT-enabled change and it offers a process model of how frame interactions, incongruencies, and inconsistencies contribute to frame shifts and change outcomes over time. In addition, the study provides detailed insights into how the IT-enabled sales process innovation at VoiceTech shaped and was shaped by shifts in stakeholder perceptions over time.

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Mark Lewis
Completed: 2008
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Arun Rai and Dr. Lars Mathiassen
Current Placement: Appapachian State University
Initial Placement: Bentley University

The outsourcing literature has offered a plethora of perspectives and models for understanding decision determinants and outcomes of outsourcing of business processes. While past studies have contributed significantly to scholarly research in this area, there are an insufficient number of studies that are provider centric. Consequently, there is a need to understand how service providers address a core challenge: to achieve scalable growth by developing standardized offerings that can be sufficiently customized to meet the unique demands of individual customers. This study explores how patterns of collective action within and between a provider and two of their largest customers relate to the tension between standardization and customization of information technology (IT)-enabled service provisioning. Specifically, it investigates the relationship between such behavioral patterns and the development of an enterprise architecture designed to address the tension between standardization and customization. A socio-cognitive sensemaking framework consisting of six core properties provides the analytical lens through which the relationship is investigated. The study adopts an interpretive case study methodology guided by the assumption that distinct dimensions of the social world exist, but understanding them comes from inter-subjective interaction between researcher and subject. The approach adopts a combination of literal and theoretical replication strategies (Yin 1994) to help identify similarities and dissimilarities during cross case comparison. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews, direct observations, participant observations, and analysis of documentation and archival records. Our findings suggest that localized action at the expense of global coordination exacerbates the tension between standardization and customization. Furthermore, attempts to address the tension through the logics of spatial and temporal separation proved largely ineffective, as these initiatives put added pressure on the sensemaking processes responsible for guiding collective action. Our findings further suggest that a paradigm modification might be useful for service providers, where they shift their focus from reducing equivocality to improving their internal ability to respond to it. The results of this study contribute to a large body of outsourcing literature that has too often neglected a provider centric perspective. By uncovering key factors that exacerbate the tension within and between organizations, and providing practical methods for addressing them, this study also offers valuable insight for practicing managers.

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Xinlin Tang
Completed: 2007
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Arun Rai
Current Placement: Florida State University
Initial Placement: Florida State University

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Sunyoung Cho
Completed: 2007
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Lars Mathiassen
Current Placement: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Initial Placement: Georgia Gwinnett College

A Contextualist Approach to Telehealth Innovations By Sunyoung Cho Abstract Healthcare is considered one of the most important social issues in the U.S. as well as in other societies with ever-increasing costs of medical service provision. The information-intensive nature of the healthcare industry and the perception of information technology (IT) as a way to ease up healthcare costs and improve quality have lead to increased use of and experiments with IT-based innovations. These activities present interesting research opportunities for IS researchers and they have led to an increasing body of knowledge on healthcare information systems. This research aims at contributing to this line of research by adopting a contextualist approach to examine the adoption, use, and further diffusion of telehealth innovations. A contextualist approach provides a particularly interesting and relevant perspective to study adoption and diffusion processes of healthcare innovations. The adopted contextualist approach is process-oriented, it applies multiple levels of analysis, and it accommodates different theoretical lenses to make sense of the two telehealth innovations under investigation. A key assumption is that innovations should be understood as ongoing processes of change, not just technologies, or isolated change events with clear boundaries. Healthcare innovations have in this view much broader connotations, including development of IT-based applications, their adoption and diffusion over time, and the interactions between many stakeholders and organizations that shape the innovation in a specific context. The contextualist approach suggested by Pettigrew is adopted as an overarching framework for multiple studies based on empirical investigation of two telehealth innovations; the main focus is on a telestroke innovation in the U.S. while a radiology innovation in Sweden serves as a complementary case. Each study is documented as an independent research publication with its own theoretical perspective and contributions. The overall contextualist approach and the related findings are then summarized across the individual studies. Telehealth innovations are particularly interesting examples of healthcare information systems. They leverage contemporary network infrastructures and interaction devices to allow provision of healthcare services, clinical information, and education over distance, thereby reducing the costs and improving the availability of medical services. The two telehealth innovations are investigated through in-depth case studies. This theses summary presents the theoretical background for the studies; it motivates and details how the qualitative case studies based on critical realist assumptions were designed and conducted; it outlines the resulting research publications; and it discusses the contributions of investigating telehealth innovations from a contextualist approach.

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Vijay Kasi
Completed: 2007
Dissertation Committee Member: Dr. Arun Rai
Current Placement: A.T. Kearney
Initial Placement: Georgia-Pacific

Information technology (IT) projects are prone to failure. One explanation for the high failure rate among IT projects is that managers overly commit to a failing course of action, a phenomenon referred as escalation of commitment. While the notion of goals and commitment are central to the phenomenon of escalation, very few prior studies have investigated their impact on escalation. In this study, a research model rooted in goal setting theory is advanced to better understand escalation of commitment of IT project managers. A role-playing experiment with 350 IT managers was used to test the proposed research model. The results of the study suggest that IT managers are more willing to escalate their commitment under the influence of easy and vague goals compared to difficult and specific goals. Initial goal commitment of IT managers and the level of project completion were found to have a significant effect on IT manager’s willingness to continue. Initial goal commitment of IT managers was also found to moderate the relationship between goal difficulty and willingness to continue. In other words, when there is a higher level of goal commitment, an easy goal will have a greater effect in terms of promoting an individual’s willingness to continue.

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