ON INFORMATION SYSTEMS
HELSINKI, FINLAND December 13-16, 1998
Improving the Procurement Process: Humanizing Accountants with a Human Factors Education, Philip Scown, Manchester Metropolitan University
The purposes of this paper are to show how the development and procurement processes are affected by accountants and to consider what human factors knowledge accountants should have to facilitate the acquisition of systems that will make a genuine contribution and organizational improvement. Many systems are procured that do not provide a significant overall benefit to the acquiring organization. The process of acquiring significant systems almost always involves financial specialists who, by their training, focus on value for money. Findings of a study of accounting syllabi are reported with respect to human factors content. While accountants may have a large input into the decision making process with respect to system design and procurement, their awareness of all of the relevant human factors issues is limited. This is likely to negatively affect their decision-making capabilities. One body within the accounting profession that is redressing the balance is identified. Its use of the concept of human information processor is briefly described. Ways to further improve the training of accountants so that human factors practice can be better accommodated are considered.
Intangible Assets: How the Interaction of Computers and Organizational Structure Affects Stock Market Valuations, Erik Brynjolfsson, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Lorin M. Hitt, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Shinkyu Yang, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
An important theme in information systems research is that organizational factors are critical to the success of computer investments. This paper provides broad statistical evidence for this proposition. For our analysis, we have compiled a unique data set of over 1,000 firms which includes the total stock market value of firms, their installed base of computer capital, detailed measures of the organizational structures, and a battery of other factors.
Using a theoretically-grounded model, we find that a one dollar increase in a firm's installed computer capital is associated with an increase in the firm's stock market valuation of over five dollars, while controlling for all other tangible assets. For this to be equilibrium, the financial markets must believe that each dollar of computer capital is accompanied by an average of over four dollars of intangible assets. We then identify a candidate for these intangible assets: certain organizational characteristics, involving the structure of decision-making and the nature of job design, are highly correlated with computer investments. While these organizational characteristics do not appear on a firm's balance sheet, we find that they lead to higher stock market valuations.
Strikingly, firms that combine higher computer investments with these organizational characteristics have disproportionate increases in their market valuations. Our findings are quite robust to a variety of alternative models and the results are generally strengthened when we control for potential reverse causality. We conclude that the contribution of computers to a firm's market value is increased when they are combined with certain intangible assets, specifically including the cluster of organizational changes that we have identified.
Supporting Cooperation in a Virtual Organization, Markus Rittenbruch, Helge Kahler, and Armin B. Cremers, Institute for Computer Science III, University of Bonn
This paper describes the design of groupware for virtual organizations that share certain characteristics. First the concept of virtual organizations is introduced. Then our application partner, the "virtual" service company Sigma, and our empirical work at Sigma are described. The identified problems are categorized and discussed. Finally, we present the derived aspects for the design of groupware in the context of virtual organizations.
Knowledge Barriers to Diffusion of Telemedicine, Huseyin Tanriverdi, Boston University, and C. Suzanne Iacono, Computation and Social Systems, National Science Foundation
Telemedicine is one proposed solution to problems of accessibility, quality, and costs of medical care. Although telemedicine applications have proliferated in recent years, their diffusion has remained low in terms of the volume of consultations. In this study, Attewell's (1992) theory of knowledge barriers is extended to explain why diffusion of telemedicine remains low. In case studies of telemedicine programs in three world-renowned medical centers in Boston, Massachusetts, we find that, in addition to technical knowledge barriers, as suggested by Attewell, there are economic, organizational, and behavioral knowledge barriers that inhibit the diffusion of telemedicine. The lowering of these barriers entails intensive learning efforts by proponents of applications within adopter organizations. They need to develop technically feasible, medically valid, reimbursable, and institutionally supported applications in order to justify the value of telemedicine and engender frequent and consistent use by physicians.
IDM: A Methodology for Intranet Design, Seung C. Lee, Hofstra University
Organizations have been looking for efficient and effective information communication to create and sustain a competitive advantage. The recent surge in the Web has created new interest in intranets as an alternative for cost-effective and boundaryless information exchange. Amid the interest, one of the problems in developing intranets is a dearth of design methodologies. This article presents an intranet design methodology focusing on the navigation and user-interface designs. Based on various classification schemes such as attribution, the navigation design organizes information into global and local structures using the concepts of metainformation structure and information structure. The user-interface design utilizes Minsky's frame to map the elements of the metainformation structure and information structure onto the actual user-interface objects.
Method-ism in Practice: Investigating the Relationship Between Method and Understanding in Web Page Design, Edgar A. Whitley, London School of Economics and Political Science
This paper develops earlier theoretical work that raised doubts about the common perception that the proper use of information systems development methods is necessary and sufficient for obtaining a proper understanding of a problem domain. It provides a summary of this existing theoretical material before presenting new qualitative, empirical results, taken from the developers of successful web sites, which support the notion that methods are not being used in the way their developers intend them, but rather that pre-understanding is a necessary requirement for successful method use.
Environmental Scanning on the Internet, Sharon S. L. Tan, Hock-Hai Teo, Bernard C. Y. Tan, and Kwok-Kee Wei, National University of Singapore
This study investigates the important organizational task of environmental scanning in an Internet context. A theoretical model relating potential causal factors to effectiveness of environmental scanning was formulated based on a synthesis of environmental scanning literature that took into consideration the Internet context. A questionnaire was developed for data collection. Responses from 105 organizations were tested for convergent and discriminant validity before the theoretical model was assessed using PLS analysis. Results showed that smaller organizations tend to scan more frequently on the Internet, both use of external consultants and volatility of competitor sector tend to cause organizations to scan more frequently on the Internet, and both use of external consultants and scanning frequency on the Internet tend to result in effectiveness of environmental scanning. Additional insights on these results were obtained through telephone interviews with 10 respondents.
Examining Environmental Influences on Organizational Perceptions and Predisposition Toward Distributed Work Arrangements: A Path Model, Choon-Ling Sia, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Hock-Hai Teo, Bernard C. Y. Tan, and Kwok-Kee Wei, National University of Singapore
Uncertainty in the external environmental context has been shown to affect organizational change and innovation. Distributed work arrangement is an organizational innovation that has the potential to enable a firm to meet the challenges of an uncertain environment more effectively. This exploratory study employs a structural model to examine how environmental uncertainty affects organizational predisposition (adoption intention) toward distributed work arrangements through shaping organizational perceptions of distributed work arrangements (perceived relative advantage, compatibility and complexity). Environmental uncertainty is assessed in terms of environmental complexity and variability. Data analyses using partial least squares statistical technique revealed that environmental complexity is negatively associated with perceived relative advantage and perceived compatibility, which were in turn positively related to adoption intention for distributed work arrangements. Contrary to past findings, which suggest that distributed work arrangements could help organizations respond better to uncertain conditions in the environment, our study found that decision-makers operating in complex environments do not perceive distributed work arrangements as beneficial and compatible. The results suggest that these organizations could strive to develop expertise to deal with their complex environments by increasing their information processing capacity, thereby enhancing their perceptions of the benefits and compatibility of distributed work arrangements.
An Empirically-grounded Framework for the Information Systems Development Process, Brian Fitzgerald, Executive Systems Research Centre, University College Cork
It is generally taken as axiomatic that systems development methodologies play a useful role in guiding the systems development process, and that their increased adoption would improve the process and product of systems development. This paper summarizes the arguments and pressures which support the use of methodologies. However, the problems associated with the use of methodologies have not perhaps received as much attention in previous research. A number of factors are identified in the paper which question the value of methodologies. These dichotomous arguments--in favor of and against the use of methodologies--bring about a dilemma for systems developers as to whether to adopt a formalized development methodology or not. This research study was therefore concerned with investigating the nature of systems development and the use and role of systems development methodologies in actual practice. The study adopted a comprehensive multi-phased and pluralist research strategy. First, the researcher's commercial experience as a systems developer, coupled with a detailed examination of the literature, and a pilot study involving personal interviews with experienced developers in five organizations were drawn upon to validate and refine the research objective. The next stage of the research involved a postal survey of developers in 776 organizations. Quantitative statistical techniques were used to analyze the survey responses. Following this, the final phase of the research involved a field study comprising personal interviews with 16 experienced practitioners in eight organizations. The field interview data was analyzed in a qualitative manner so as to elucidate and elaborate on the survey findings. Based on the research findings, the paper presents an empirically-grounded framework which describes the development process as it pertains to modern organizations. The components of the framework are discussed in detail and relevant implications are identified.
Analysts and Clients in Conversation: Cases in Early Requirements Gathering, Cathy Urquhart, Sunshine Coast University College
This paper discusses a number of interviews with analysts and clients about their aims in early requirements gathering, carried out as part of three case studies in analyst-client interaction. Analysts and clients were asked about their aims, their professional role, and other issues that arose in their interactions with each other. The paper explores themes that emerged from these case studies that can be seen to be embedded in the social context of early requirements gathering--how the issues to be discussed were put forward, professional relationships, and the overall organizational context in which the interaction takes place. Some observations are made about the varying social contexts of early requirements gathering and the role of individual differences, and the possibility of using typical contexts as "repertoire building research."
Trust: The Panacea of Virtual Management? D. Sandy Staples and Pauline Ratnasingham, The University of Melbourne
As more and more information systems (IS) development teams work in distributed arrangements, concerns about enhancing virtual workers' effectiveness will become more common and important for IS management. Trust between managers and employees can potentially enhance employee effectiveness by reducing uncertainty and increasing satisfaction and commitment. To study this, employees' perceptions of interpersonal trust between themselves and their manager in both a virtual management and a non-virtual management environment were quantitatively examined (n = 631). Contrary to suggestions in the literature, it was found that trust had a larger impact on key outcome variables such as job satisfaction and job stress for non-virtually-managed workers than it did for virtual workers. The results also suggest that cognition-based trust is more important than affect-based trust in a virtual workplace. Managers should concentrate on activities that demonstrate their competence, responsibility and professionalism, since this increases cognition-based trust. Although trust is an important determinant of effectiveness for organizations to manage, it does not appear to be any more important in a virtual setting than it is in a non-virtual setting.
Virtual Organizations: Two Choice Problems, Daniel E. O'Leary, University of Southern California
This paper reviews some virtual organizations and the costs and benefits of being in a virtual organization. Particular emphasis is given to those costs and benefits deriving from the information technology and processes required to facilitate communication and transaction processing in virtual organizations. Using analytic models, this paper analyzes two problems faced by companies joining virtual organizations and by virtual organizations:
Under what circumstances should a firm join a virtual organization and when should they do extensive information search regarding joining that virtual organization?
Is it possible to chose a set of standards that are optimal for each company and the virtual organization? Arrow's impossibility theorem is used to find that there is no standard that meets the optimal needs of the virtual organization and each individual company in the virtual organization.
Competing Dichotomies in IS Research and Possible Strategies for Resolution, Brian Fitzgerald, Executive Systems Research Centre, University College Cork, and Debra Howcroft, Information Systems Research Centre, University of Salford
The debate between "hard" positivist and "soft" interpretivist research approaches has been the subject of much discussion in the IS field. Typically, the debate is framed in issues central to the philosophy of science, an area where relatively few IS researchers are truly competent. This paper attempts to illuminate the issue, particularly for students and researchers not entirely familiar with the arguments. The opposing positions are caricatured in two anecdotes which illustrate the futility of research conducted at the cul de sac extremes of each approach. The main dichotomies characteristic of each research tradition are then summarized and categorized according to various levels, namely, paradigmatic, ontological, epistemological, methodological, and axiological. Finally, the paper considers a number of strategies for resolving the debate.
The IS Effectiveness Matrix: The Importance of Stakeholder and System in Measuring IS Success, Peter B. Seddon, D. Sandy Staples, Ravi Patnayakuni, and Matthew J. Bowtell, The University of Melbourne
The value added by an organization's IT assets is a critical concern to both research and practice. Not surprisingly, a large number of IS effectiveness measures can be found in the IS literature. What is not clear in the literature is what measures are appropriate in a particular context. In this paper, we propose a two-dimensional matrix for classifying IS effectiveness measures. The first dimension is the type of system studied. The second dimension is the stakeholder in whose interests the system is being evaluated. The matrix was tested by using it to classify IS effectiveness measures from 186 empirical papers in three major IS journals for the last nine years. The results indicate that the classifications are meaningful. This, in turn, means that the IS effectiveness matrix provides a useful guide for conceptualizing effectiveness measurement in IS research, and for choosing appropriate measures.
Shifting Boundaries and New Technologies: A Case Study in the UK Banking Sector, Susan V. Scott, The London School of Economics, and Geoff Walsham, The Judge Institute of Management Studies, University of Cambridge
This paper describes case study based research on the use of innovative computer-based decision support systems introduced into corporate lending processes in a major UK bank. It describes how the new technology was implicated in shifting boundaries: within the sector as a whole and in specific organizational de-layering; between local/global dimensions of the loans process; and in the status of expertise and personal/professional risk. The case study is connected to broader debates in IS and social transformation through an analysis that relates aspects of the empirical material to themes from social theories of reflexive modernization. Some implications and conclusions are drawn for both the banking sector and IS research.
Technology as Traitor: Emergent SAP Infrastructure in a Global Organization, Ole Hanseth and Kristin Braa, University of Oslo
This paper discusses IT infrastructure development and use in the European fertilizer division of Norsk Hydro. The main element of the infrastructure discussed is a new SAP-based solution for this division. However, this solution is not an isolated artifact. Its important aspects are emerging as it is becoming an integrated part of a larger infrastructure.
This infrastructure is designed and controlled by managers and IT personnel, but also an actor shaping its environment as well as its own future. Like any actor, the technology builds alliances with others. However, the alliances might change over time. In the case reported here, SAP was first allied with top management, playing the role as a powerful change agent. Later on, SAP was allied with local managers and users, helping them bringing the change process under their influence and to the speed they preferred. Currently, SAP is changing its role as it is installed and integrated into a larger corporate infrastructure. As such, it becomes everybody's enemy by resisting all organizational change
Developing a Successful Information and Communication Technology Industry: The Role of Venture Capital, Knowledge, and the Government, T. Vinig, University of Amsterdam; R. Blocq, J. Braafhart, and O. Laufer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Study of the factors that have lead to the development of a flourishing information and communication technology (ICT) industry is often based on the Silicon Valley development in the U.S. Given the globalization of the ICT industry, there is a need to understand the factors which contribute to the development of a successful ICT industry and to determine whether a generic model can be used to gain a better understanding of the forces that shape ICT development in other regions of the world. This study examines the phenomenal growth of the Israeli ICT industry in recent years, growth that is referred to as the "New Silicon Valley." A generic model for the development of ICT industry is presented. We use the model to compare the development of the Israeli ICT industry with that of Silicon Valley and with the current state of the Dutch ICT industry. The results indicate that the model holds for both (historical) review of the development of Silicon Valley and for the current state of the Dutch ICT industry. The implications of the findings are discussed.
Patterns in the Organization of Transnational Information Systems, William R. King, Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, and Vikram Sethi, College of Business, Southwest Missouri State University
The objective of this study is to understand the organization of information systems and technology in organizations whose activities cross national boundaries. Access to new markets for products, services, raw materials, and skills has always been a powerful incentive for organizations to expand internationally. The establishment of global alliances to leverage core competencies has led organizations to seek new ways of conducting business which have demanded a rethinking of organizational structures, processes, and culture. One of the fundamental tasks has been the establishment of appropriate information technology platforms to coordinate business processes for global business.
The study uses a previously-developed taxonomy that is based on five dimensions of transnational strategy: the configuration of value chain activities, the coordination of value chain activities, centralization, strategic alliances, and market integration. These dimensions define the manner in which the value-added activities of the firm are dispersed and coordinated across nations, the hierarchical structures responsible for decision making, the strength of the external alliances of the firm and the managerial philosophy of global business conduct. These dimensions have been shown to be a valid basis to identify a comprehensive taxonomy of transnational strategy.
A basic proposition of this study is that a firm's transnational strategy will be reflected in the design of its information systems. In order to address this proposition, a two-stage questionnaire study was conducted. Respondents included 150 multinational corporations from 20 countries and 25 industries.
The study proposes hypotheses to examine the alignment of information technology in the various types of firms that are identified by the transnational strategy taxonomy. The study empirically determined the existence of three types of transnational information systems strategies. These are:
1. A low dispersal-high centralization strategy which is adopted by export-oriented and portfolio firms,
2. A high dispersal-low centralization strategy which is primarily used by parent-child firms, and
3. A high dispersal-high centralization strategy which is most suitable for global firms.
The study has implications for practitioners in critically evaluating existing transnational business strategies and designing effective transnational information systems. It should also help researchers in determining factors that impact on the design of transnational information systems.
Framing Design: A Social Process View of Information System Development, Susan Gasson, Binghamton University
This paper discusses a social process model for design activity in organizational IS development projects, based upon the findings of an interpretive, participant observation study of information system design processes in a mid-sized UK telecommunications equipment manufacturing company. The form of the proposed model is a dual-cycle dialectic between opening up the design problem and narrowing down design solutions; it is also a dialectic between individual and group design activity in the context of participation in a social community of design practice. A social cognition perspective was used to analyze the activities of design in context; implications of the findings of the study for a process model of design activity are contrasted with managerial assumptions and practices imposed by the use of the traditional, decompositional model of design.
The paper has important implications for theory and practice. From a theoretical perspective, it is suggested that design team intersubjectivity regarding the goals and legitimacy of the process of design is a better measure of progress and design "completeness" than intersubjectivity regarding the form and requirements of the target information system. From a practical perspective, the adoption of a dual-cycle, convergence model of design might facilitate the management of detailed design activities between project milestones. The findings also have implications for the management of organizational "learning": if organizational problem-solving processes are seen as involving distributed and emergent knowledge, then an explicit goal of intersubjective understanding is not only inappropriate, it is not attainable.
Using a Positivist Case Research Methodology to Test a Theory About IT-enabled Business Process Redesign, Suprateek Sarker
Washington State University, and Allen S. Lee, Virginia Commonwealth University
We derive a process theory, the "technology-oriented theory of business process redesign," from the business process reengineering (BPR) literature and test it in a positivist case study of a corporation that implemented BPR. Our evidence refutes the theory. The future direction we suggest for researchers and practitioners is to adopt, from the beginning, an orientation that is not technocentric or overly technological, but gives equal consideration to social dimensions and the interactions between the social and the technological.
Dissolving Firm Boundaries Through Surveillance: Incomplete Contracts, Information Assets, and Process Integration, Jonathan Wareham, Copenhagen Business School
This paper addresses the issue of interorganizational governance and process integration. Specifically, we are concerned with IOSs characterized by shared processes, joint control, yet divergent incentive structures. The analysis is inspired by the Grossman, Hart, and Moore theory of incomplete contracting, which forms a framework of vertical and lateral integration based upon residual rights of control over physical assets. In this study, we explore the application of a derivative of this framework, which allows for the separation of physical and information-based assets. As a consequence of this separation, we demonstrate how the acquisition of information can shift the locus of decisions in integrated processes as well as affect pricing and the distribution of rents within a value chain.
The empirical setting is a high-tech manufacturer that implemented a Lotus Notes application which tracks the flow of products across several legal entities within its sales channel. We conduct a simple regression analysis for transactions with one distributor, where we find significance in the price differential for products traded within vs. outside of the system, demonstrating a shift in the distribution of rents via information appropriation. We conclude with a discussion of how a managerial perspective would benefit from viewing supply and value chains that span organizations as single systems, not merely competing agents, and suggest how an incomplete contracts perspective is beneficial to this challenge.
Toward a Contingency View of Infrastructure and Knowledge: An Exploratory Study, Claudio U. Ciborra, Università di Bologna, and Ole Hanseth, Universitetet i Oslo
IT infrastructures coupled with BPR initiatives have the potential of supporting and enabling new organizational forms and helping firms face the challenges of globalization. The management literature gives prescriptions of how to set up, implement, and use infrastructures to reach a new IT capability; diminish transaction costs; and obtain competitive advantage. However, the scant empirical basis of such literature goes hand in hand with the lack of a theory linking the deployment of infrastructure to the nature of the business and the industry. This study of the deployment and use of infrastructures in six large multinationals sets the ground for a contingency approach to the whole issue. The different implementation processes and applications reported by the case studies suggest that there is much more variety than the "one best way" recommended by the literature. The economic theories of standards and of the firm as a repository of knowledge are good candidates to explain qualitatively the empirical evidence.
Energizing the Nexus of Corporate Knowledge: A Portal Toward the Virtual Organization, Alexander Y. Yap and Niels Bjørn-Andersen, Copenhagen Business School
In the age of virtual organizations, managers and experts cease to be lone custodians of the corporate knowledge base. Knowledge must be shared across cultural and time-space boundaries to create strategic frontiers in global and virtual enterprises. However, we believe that organizations have barely scratched the surface of the "knowledge sharing game" played across virtual environments. In technology-based organizations, for example, technical knowledge must be meticulously captured and conveyed in a highly cognitive manner to have substantive benefits in raising the competence and productivity of globally-dispersed workers. In this light, we contend that richer forms of knowledge/media representations, such as virtual reality (VR) and 3D imagery, could be creatively utilized to enable improvements in knowledge management, especially within virtual workspace. We further argue that organizational learning evolves to a higher level only when knowledge management is radically improved and effectively exploits "organizational memory" with the aid of IT . This paper explores how a technology-based firm, APV Anhydro, has extracted technical knowledge from its experts and creatively presented such knowledge in rich media representations using VR/3D technologies. This enabled APV to share rich technical knowledge across its global marketing operations, and as a consequence, accelerated its organizational learning process.
Research in Progress
IT Value Contingencies: Moderating Effects of Market Responsiveness and Business Stratgy, Kristina Setzekorn and Arlyn Melcher, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; and Arun Rai, Georgia State University
The fundamental questions regarding whether and how information technology (IT) contributes to firm performance have been answered in different ways, with some studies reporting negative impacts, some finding no overall effect, and some finding positive impacts. To reconcile these findings, several studies suggest that contextual effects moderate IT's performance effects. Firm effects reportedly account for roughly half the productivity benefits attributed to IT--i.e., firm capabilities may leverage investments in IT. Our research question is, "To what extent do market responsiveness and business strategy moderate the relationship between IT infrastructure and firm performance?" We will test these ideas using moderated regression analysis with data from the latest Global Manufacturing Research Group (GRMG) survey.
Electronic Markets and Intelligent Agents: An Experimental Study of the Economics of Electronic Commerce, Khim-Yong Goh
Hock-Hai Teo, and Kwok-Kee Wei, National University of Singapore
The increasing popularity of the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) has been fueling the rise and development of a global electronic marketplace. Electronic commerce applications in such a global electronic marketplace typically encompass business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and intra-business activities.
This research focuses on WWW-based, business-to-consumer retailing. Electronic retailing on the Internet is typically performed through standard online storefronts (e.g., Absolutely Fresh Flowers), specialized online retailers (e.g., Amazon.com), and online megastores (e.g., NetMarket). Standard online storefronts offer direct sales of an individual vendor's range of products. They are similar to "single-source electronic sales channels" as defined by Malone, Yates and Benjamin. Specialized online retailers and online megastores offer cross-organizational or cross-national connections such that they include product offerings from a number of competing sellers. These specialized online retailers and the online megastores correspond to electronic markets as discussed by Malone, Yates and Benjamin. Unlike traditional retailing, WWW-based retail commerce provides consumers with a unique ability to use intelligent agents (comparison-shopping agents) to automate the search for price and other product information across multiple merchants simultaneously. The use of such agents has been touted to reduce buyers' search costs across standard online storefronts, specialized online retailers, and online megastores, and to transform a diverse set of offerings into an economically efficient market.
Applying Component Technology to Improve Global Supply Chain Network Management, Gek Woo Tan and Michael J. Shaw, Beckman Institute for Advances in Sciences and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
A key requirement of supply chain management strategies is information sharing. Component technology facilitates information sharing by providing a means for integrating heterogeneous information systems into virtual information systems. The component environment makes possible new strategies to reshape and improve supply chain networks. These strategies include modularization and encapsulation, plug-and-play component development, enterprise specialization, dynamic supply chain network configuration, and cross-industry enterprise integration. We show how these strategies can be applied to the supply chain network management using the order fulfillment process as an illustration.
Linking the European Monetary Union and the Information Systems Strategy of Financial Institutions: A Research Approach to Understand the Changeover, Manuel João Pereira, Catholic University of Portugal, and Luís Valadares Tavares, Technical Institute of Lisbon
Over the past century, Europe as a geographical and political region faced many cultural, geographical, territorial, and growth changes. After two world wars, where the continent was devastated, the European Union (EU) is trying to create a powerful economic group in the world: the European Monetary Union (EMU). The economic benefits and costs (as well as risks) expected are indicated in the following topics . Other researchers indicate that the financial industry in EU will be significantly and negatively affected by EMU in the short and medium run. So, the study of information systems strategy in financial institutions assumes an important role in a microeconomic context in the paradigm shift to the EMU.
Adoption of IS Development Methods Across Cultural Boundaries, Gezinus J. Hidding, Loyola University Chicago
In IS practice as well as in the literature, IS development methods are prominently espoused. IS development methods are used around the world and globalization of business stimulates their harmonization. To our knowledge, no empirical research has been reported regarding the effect of national cultures on the actual (non-)adoption of IS development methods, which is the focus of this research project. The study is based on Hofstedes well-known research (conducted within IBM), which has provided a conceptual foundation for cross-national research over the past two decades. Data encompassing approximately 40 countries were collected within one global consulting firm. The outcomes of this study are expected to have implications for how global organizations can introduce new development methods more effectively.
The Adoption and Use of National Information Infrastructure: A Social Network and Stakeholder Perspective, Satish Nambisan, National University of Singapore, and Ritu Agarwal, Florida State University
This study draws upon stakeholder theory and social network analysis to examine the diffusion of national information infrastructure (NII) among two key stakeholders--the end users (or customers) and application/ service providers. The context chosen is Singapore ONE. The study also investigates the types of mechanisms utilized by network participants for resolving their concerns with respect to NII adoption.
Influencing the Success of Spreadsheet Development by Novice Users, Timothy G. Babbitt, Dennis F. Galletta, and Alexandre B. Lopes, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh
Spreadsheets have become commonplace, facilitating decision-making at all levels in most organizations. Their ease of use is unfortunately accompanied by an abundance of errors, which some researchers have discovered to reach the magnitude of billions of dollars. There are two main streams of research in this area. One focuses on the categorization of and extent to which errors are made, and the other focuses on detection of those errors. The error detection studies have found that errors are very difficult to detect, and spreadsheet builders fail to plan and test adequately. This study advances that work by testing the relative importance of instructing novices in spreadsheet planning and testing. To date, the data seem to indicate a significant effect of instruction in the planning phase. However, some inadequacies in the data lead us to draw only tentative conclusions, and further testing of this and a future, additional sample will provide a more substantial basis for our conclusions.
An Integrative Model of Information Systems Use in Mandatory Environments, Patrick Rawstorne, Rohan Jayasuriya, and Peter Caputi, University of Wollongong
The volitional nature of IS use in organizations is shifting to contexts of mandatory adoption. This has prompted a need for IS researchers to reassess current predictive models of IS use. In this paper we present our work on a theoretical framework for predicting IS use in a mandatory adoption environment. Issues specific to mandatory environments are raised and discussed, and a new model for predicting end-user behavior is proposed. Methodological considerations for testing the model are discussed.
Critical Success Factors for Software Reuse Projects, Marcus A. Rothenberger and Uday R. Kulkarni, School of Accountancy and Information Management, Arizona State University, Tempe; and Kevin Dooley, Department of Management/Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe
Systematic reuse is becoming an increasingly popular way to improve software development productivity and quality. The implementation of a software reuse methodology requires substantial investments for the company. The factors that contribute to the overall success of reuse for an organization have been examined in prior research. However, even in organizations that are successful in employing reuse, some projects may fail to achieve the targeted amounts of reuse. This suggests that there are other factors beyond the overall organizational factors affecting the success of software reuse in projects. This research explores the factors contributing to reuse success of individual projects in organizations that practice systematic software reuse methodologies. Structured interviews are conducted with software developers to identify the factors and project data is scrutinized to assess the impact of these factors. Reuse success is measured by the reuse percentage achieved. A large scale survey of software development firms will be used to empirically tests the relevance of the identified factors to systematic reuse in general. We believe that an organization that can identify the factors affecting potential software reuse will be able to better target investments in the improvement of reuse methodology and thus influence the software productivity and quality.
Managerial Control Over IT Projects: Control, Forms, Commitment, and Dominant Coalitions, Magnus Mähring, Stockholm School of Economics
This research in progress addresses how managers engage in controlling IT projects, which can be seen as an instance of a classical problem in organizational control: managing sensibly in situations where subordinates have superior task knowledge. Theories used in the study include control theory, theories on commitment and escalation, and theories on IS implementation. An in-depth, retrospective, interpretive case study forms the empirical basis of the study.
Preliminary results include the importance of input control as a control form and the role of a dominant coalition of controllers. The functioning of the dominant coalition, as it evolves, is closely associated with the organizational commitment to an IT project. Findings on the influence of the project leader (controllee) over managers (controllers) indicate limitations of management control.
An Activity Based Costing Approach to Systems Development and Implementation, Ginny Ooi, Christina Soh, and Pui Mun Lee, Nanyang Technological University
Many organizations are in the process of replacing legacy systems with large, integrated systems using new technological platforms. Accurate estimation of project resources required and appropriate allocation of actual development and implementation costs to users are two critical issues faced. This study proposes an activity based costing (ABC) approach to estimating and recovering system development and implementation costs.
We develop the model in the context of a bank, using a two-stage approach. A prototype is first developed using two systems projects. Development of the prototype requires us to identify the resource pools and attendant costs, the major development activities, the consumption of resource costs by activities, the primary cost driver for each activity, and the driver rates for allocating activity costs to the system being implemented. The prototype model is then refined and validated using additional data collected from another 20 projects.
The Life Cycle Effects of Software Process Improvement: A Longitudinal Analysis, Donald E. Harter and Sandra A. Slaughter, Carnegie Mellon University, and Mayuram S. Krishnan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Rapid innovation, intense competition, and the drive to survive have compelled information technology (IT) firms to seek ways to develop high quality software quickly and productively. The critical issues faced by these firms are the inter-relationships, sometimes viewed as trade-offs, between quality, cycle time, and effort in the software development life cycle. Some believe that higher quality can only be achieved with increased development time and effort. Others argue that higher quality results in less rework, with shorter development cycles and reduced effort. In this study, we investigate the inter-relationships between software process improvement, quality, cycle time, and effort. We perform a comprehensive analysis of the effect of software process improvement and software quality on all activities in the software development life cycle. We find that software process improvement leads to higher quality and that process improvement and quality are associated with reduced cycle time, development effort, and supporting activity effort (e.g., configuration management, quality assurance). We are in the process of examining the effect of process improvement and quality on post-deployment maintenance activities.
Effectiveness of Virtual Learning Environments in Basic Skills Business Education: A Field Study in Progress, Rami Ahmad, Gabriele Piccoli, and Blake Ives, Louisiana State University
This paper describes research investigating the effectiveness of web-based virtual learning environments by comparing them to traditional classroom environments. A conceptual framework is proposed contrasting the effectiveness of these two environments using both objectivist and constructivist learning models. Although technology may serve as a mediator that enhances the implementation of certain features of a learning model, it is evident that the learning model--not the technology--is the primary cause of learning. Theory predicts that a higher level of "learner control" leads to more effective learning. Control and flexibility, among other advantages offered to the learner in virtual environments, lead us to propose that such environments are more effective than the traditional environments regardless of the learning model employed. Furthermore, it is proposed that virtual environments are even more effective when the constructivist model is employed.
Learning effectiveness is measured based on performance, self-efficacy, and satisfaction. A field experiment was conducted to test the components of the proposed research model with about 200 business undergraduate students in an introductory MIS course. The findings will be of interest to both the education and business communities, who are striving to capitalize on information technologies to adequately meet the challenges of this information age.
Exploring the Role of Identification in the Privacy Decisions of Webmasters, Thomas Shaw, Management Science and Information Systems Department, University of Texas at Austin
This paper integrates identification and ethical decision making theories to understand how webmasters form moral judgments about the privacy of users on the World Wide Web. This integration is warranted because communication is fundamental to the role of webmaster, yet ethical decision making theories fail to acknowledge communication. The integrated theory will be tested using a scenario-based survey of webmasters.
Telecommuters and Work Groups: A Communication Network Analysis, France Belanger, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Today' workforce comprises an increasing number of telecommuters. At the same time, more and more of the work being performed by both telecommuters and office workers involves the manipulation of information, otherwise known as knowledge work. Most knowledge workers need substantial communications to perform their jobs. Before the advent of telecommuting, most communications were mediated by the physical proximity of workers. Today, however, communication technologies play an ever increasing role in supporting individual and organizational communications. In this research, telecommuting is defined as working away from the traditional office at least one day a week, while using computers and telecommunication facilities to maintain a link to the office.
Stakeholder Experiences with Conceptual Modeling: An Empirical Investigation, Arvind Patel, Marc Sim, and Ron Weber, The University of Queensland
During the design of an information system, a significant task that is sometimes undertaken is conceptual modeling. It involves designers building a representation called a conceptual schema that captures application domain features to be included in the information system.
For five reasons, conceptual modeling has become increasingly important: (1) conceptual schemas help clarify different assumptions that stakeholders hold about the domain being modeled; (2) integrating conceptual schemas is critical to organizations effectively re-engineering their business processes; (3) the quality of conceptual schemas affects the quality of database schemas that can be generated automatically; (4) the quality of conceptual schemas affects the usability of databases; and (5) stakeholders working with distributed, heterogeneous databases cannot effectively transcend boundaries without high-quality conceptual schemas.
While researchers have expended substantial effort on developing conceptual modeling methodologies, little empirical work has been done on stakeholder experiences with conceptual modeling. The meager results obtained suggest that organizations have found few benefits from conceptual modeling and that often it has fallen into disuse. Laboratory work indicates, however, that improved design outcomes occur when conceptual modeling is undertaken.
For two reasons, we expect that stakeholders will experience problems with using conceptual modeling in practice. First, we believe that many designers approach conceptual modeling with a functionalist view of the world. We believe that a social relativist view more accurately describes how stakeholders conceive the world. Second, many conceptual modeling tools provide only incomplete representations of the application domain to be modeled.
We are currently undertaking case-study research to document the conceptual modeling practices engaged in by a large public-sector organization. We are also seeking to identify the problems that stakeholders experience when they participate in conceptual modeling exercises. Our goal is to provide a taxonomy of problems that the stakeholders face and ultimately to develop theory to account for why these problems occur.
Disaggregating the Return on Investment to IT Capital, Vijay Gurbaxani, Nigel Melville, and Kenneth Kraemer, Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations, University of California, Irvine
Several firm-level empirical studies have found positive and excess returns to investments in information technology (IT) capital. Using a production function framework that typically includes such inputs as IT capital, non-IT capital, and labor, these studies estimate the return on investment in IT. Taken together, this body of research provides evidence of a payoff to investments in IT contrary to the often-cited productivity paradox. However, while these studies have provided an empirical foundation supporting the assertion that IT spending at the firm level pays off, the distribution of returns across different forms of IT capital remains unclear.
This study represents one of the first attempts at disaggregating the heterogeneous IT capital category into its salient constituents and examining their respective contributions to the value of the firm. Specifically, we focus on three hardware categories: mainframe computers, minicomputers, and microcomputers. Rather than simply reflecting different technological characteristics, these categories of computers also reflect the different kinds of applications that typically run on these systems. Moreover, we explicitly take into account the degree to which a company's employees are networked, since connectivity is likely to affect the payoff. We use new data on the capital stock of these categories of systems as well as the level of computer networking at the firm level for a nearly balanced panel of large firms spanning the eight year period 1987 to 1984, representing more than 3,600 observations.
We find strong evidence of positive returns to investments in mainframe computers and PCs, but mixed results in the case of minicomputers. The output elasticity of PC capital exceeds that of mainframes, and the degree to which a company's employees are networked positively impacts the overall efficiency of the production process. The results of this study are important for both research and practice. From a research perspective, the disaggregation of IT capital into constituent categories represents a logical next step in the small but growing literature that examines the returns to information systems spending. Our results, and in particular the estimates of the output elasticities and marginal products, have significant implications for determining the optimal level of investment in different technologies.
Buy the Book: Electronic Commerce in the Book Trade, Claudia Loebbecke, Copenhagen Business School, and Philip Powell, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Exploitation of the Web is a pipe dream for many businesses, as they do not or cannot analyze their motives for having a web site. There is more to a successful site than a corporate logo on a home page. Firms do not foresee the effort in maintaining a site, the increased competition from exposure to a "global market," or the impacts on the existing business.
This discussion case analyses the opportunities and risks of launching electronic commerce services at the Co-op Bookshop. The case describes Co-op's difficult progression to a profitable web presence. It will allow students to consider the strategic issues underlying any web presence. They will also have the opportunity to discuss the type of site, timing, and content appropriate to the firm and the economics of being on-line.
Dow Corning Corporation: Reengineering Global Processes, Jeanne Ross, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Dow Corning case examines the role of information technology and the information technology function in enabling large international organizations to transform a functionally-oriented, regionally-organized business into a customer-oriented, global firm. Specifically, the case explores the dilemma posed by enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, which would appear to offer a useful tool for integrating global processes but have proved to be extremely difficult to implement. The case is divided into two parts. Part A describes the history of information technology at Dow Corning and presents management's rationale for designating IT a strategic resource in late 1994. Part B presents Dow Corning's plans for global implementation of SAP and reviews its progress immediately following the pilot implementations. Designed for discussion (as opposed to problem-solving), the case asks students to assess Dow Corning's objectives for, and approach to, SAP implementation and to consider the efficacy of using an ERP as a catalyst for organizational change.
Nortel: Reinventing IS, Olga Volkoff and E. F. Peter Newson, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario
This discussion case presents various issues which arise when an organization must change the structure of the IS function to support a new (and, in this case, process-oriented) corporate structure. Students will
(1) learn about different roles and structures for an IS group in an organization, and in particular,
consider the implications of centralizing versus decentralizing IS resources,
understand the need to balance business knowledge, responsiveness to clients, technological expertise, and cost-effectiveness of operations,
explore the possible roles for an IS group in the context of a corporate reengineering exercise.
(2) discuss and analyze different alternatives for implementing the new structure, and in particular consider the implications of revolutionary versus evolutionary change.
Riverbank Financial: Balancing the Pendulum, Kathryn Brohman, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario
The primary learning objective of this case is to discuss the optimal balance between technology and customer focus to maximize IT effectiveness in the organization. The case illustrates the changing role of the information technology (IT) division within a large Canadian financial institution.
Secondary objectives of this case are to provide a description of how organizations can effectively manage the changing role of IT, illustrate the effectiveness of different styles of leadership in IT management, and introduce the concept of a resource center as a new structure to support software development.
Managing the IPACS Project at Green Valley Hospital, Charalambos L. Iacovou, Georgetown University
By reviewing and analyzing the facts in this discussion case, the students should
be able to understand the relationship between business needs, information systems (IS) planning, and IS implementation;
become aware of the role of politics, social relationships, and other non-technical reasons in the selection of vendors and the management of projects;
become more sensitive to "red flags" that are exhibited during the course of a failing project;
gain an understanding of the critical role of user involvement and support in IS projects; and
understand and apply key crisis management concepts in effectively managing the failure of an IS project.
Adopting SAP at Siemens Power Corporation, Sabine Gabriele Hirt and E. Burton Swanson, The Anderson School, University of California, Los Angeles
1. be introduced to a particular ERP (enterprise resource package) software, SAP R/3, to learn about the pros and cons of ERP packages in general, and R/3 in particular.
2. learn how an organization's reengineering efforts may drive the adoption of an ERP system and later influence the implementation of the system: Students will identify what problems (outdated legacy systems, Y2K, lack of customer responsiveness) lead to the implementation of a package. Furthermore, they will be sensitized to the type of implications reengineering-related decisions may have (e.g., downsizing) on the feasibility of the implementation project.
3. be exposed to different aspects of the decision making process related to an ERP implementation: choice of package, hardware, consultants, implementation approach. They should (1) gain an improved understanding of the issues involved in implementing an enterprise package (as opposed to conventional IS development) and (2) be sensitized to potential implications of their decision-making for later project stages such as implementation and maintenance.
Xcert Software, Inc., Keng Siau, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
The case on Xcert Software, Inc., illustrates the operational and strategic issues encountered by a startup IT company in the Internet security business. Xcert faces difficulty in a number of areas: (1) finances, (2) future direction and leadership, (3) organizational structure, experience and size, and (4) marketing. This is a discussion case that introduces students to the competitive world of Internet business and provides them an opportunity to discuss and debate the myriad issues facing the founders of Xcert.
Global Logistics System Asia Co., Ltd., Jan Damsgaard, Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University
Most people concur that electronic markets constitute a significant innovation that will radically alter markets in the future. However two key questions remain. Who will stand to benefit from electronic markets? How should various existing market players position themselves in regard to initiatives to establish such markets?
This case discusses these two questions by studying the air cargo industry in Hong Kong, where an electronic trading network has recently been launched with considerable success. It analyzes how and why this electronic network became an instant success and it also addresses whether the network will evolve into an electronic market. Furthermore, what stakeholders are in favor of such a move and who will seek to resist it?
Panel 1--IT Phone Home: The Techno-institutional Development of Standards in the Evolution of Global Cellular Telephony
Chair: John L. King, University of California, Irvine
Panelists: Juha Knuuttila, University of Jyväskylä; Kari Lang, Nokia Research Center; Joel West, University of California, Irvine
The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) invented cellular telephony and launched the world's first commercial mobile telephone service in St. Louis in 1946. However, it was launched under the tight regulation of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which controlled the frequencies allocated for the radio component of the system. Despite efforts by AT&T to persuade the FCC to extend spectrum allocation to permit the widespread deployment of the U.S. AMPS cellular standard, the FCC did not conclude its allocation of radio spectrum for radiotelephony until 1977.
In the mean time, telephone companies in both Japan and Northern Europe had begun development of their own cellular systems. Japan deployed a Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) proprietary cellular system in central Tokyo in December 1979, although this system was short-lived. However, by 1981 the countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark had deployed a system based on the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) standard that soon became the analog cellular standard for Europe. Moreover, the process of creating NMT formed the basis for the creation of the digital cellular standard known as Group Special Mobile, or GSM, which has become the world's dominant cellular telephone standard.
AMPS in the U.S. was not deployed until 1983, and when it was deployed, it was by competitors to the near-monopoly AT&T that had created the technology. Somehow, over a period of four decades, an uncontestable leadership role in the creation of what has since become a vital global industry was lost by the United States to Northern Europe. How did this happen?
This panel explores the complex interplay of technology and institutional forces in the creation of the global cellular telephone industry. As such, it provides a powerful and cautionary tale about the extent to which institutional constraints can thwart organizational players that possess not only the dominant and superior technology, but also the first-mover advantage to exploit that technology in the market. The panel will explore how, in all three major first-generation systems--NTT, NMT, and AMPS--the standards for the initial systems were developed by the operators. But only in Northern European countries did key institutional innovations occur at the right time to ensure successful cooperation not only between operators, but across national boundaries. The NMT standardization built on the exist Nordic telephone operator's council, and directly led to (and heavily influenced) the larger pan-European standardization effort for Europe's GSM digital standard.
In contrast, U.S. standardization efforts were slowly ratified by extensions of existing industry trade groups, often delayed by bickering among rival camps who were divided by roles, marketing alliances, and technical standards. Japanese standards development was in conflict between the standardization efforts of NTT and the government. In both cases, the divergence of approaches to standard-setting made it impossible to reconcile the various regions' standardization processes, let alone their respective standards.
Radical IT innovations such as cellular telephony require a perspective in research that engages the uncertainty created when the rapid forces of technological change come up against the more entwined forces of institutional order. The resulting uncertainty and ambiguity create a variable and often unpredictable rate of change that challenge the cognitive limits of managers in the developing technological and market innovation strategies. This panel will place in the foreground the challenge of incorporating the techno-institutional nexus in the understanding of widespread IT innovation across organizational, sectoral, institutional, and national boundaries.
Panel 2--Four Perspectives for Understanding Work Practices: Giddens, Bourdieu, Foucault, and Narrative
Chair: Ulrike Schultze, Southern Methodist University
Panelists: Richard J. Boland, Jr., Case Western Reserve University; Lynda Harvey, Griffith University; Helena Karsten, University of Cambridge and University of Jyväskylä
Designers' failure to understand situated work practices is one of the reasons for the high implementation failure rate of information systems. There are thus numerous calls for IS practitioners and researchers to study work practices in order to understand the fundamental patterns of behavior that will ultimately determine a technology's intended and unintended consequences. Studying practices requires a focus on the mundane detail of everyday life so as to uncover the local habits, assumptions, and tacit knowledge that members of the social group have difficulty articulating. This has theoretical and methodological implications. Theoretically, a practice orientation suggests that the causes for human action are situated, local, and socially constructed. Methodologically, a practice orientation relies upon the interpretation of largely observational data collected over an extended period of time. It thus calls for field-based ethnographic research.
Even though calls for a practice orientation persist, what is meant by practice remains ambiguous. The purpose of this panel is to explore the meanings of practice from four theoretical perspectives. These are Giddens' structuration theory, Bourdieu's theory of practice, Foucault's discursive and disciplinary practices, and the role of narrative in constructing coherence and a shared sense of practice in systems of distributed cognition. Examples from the panelists' empirical research will be used to illustrate each of these perspectives.
Panel 3--Acquiring and Implementing ERP: The View from Business and Academia
Chair: Ton Veth, Baan Institute
Panelists: M. Lynne Markus, Claremont Graduate School; A. W. Scheer, Universitat des Saarlands, IDS Prf. Scheer GmbH.; Kuldeep Kumar, Erasmus University; Hans Wortmann, Technical University Eindhoven, Baan Institute
Since the early days of computing, organizations have aspired to integrated, enterprise-wide information systems architectures. Through the years, these aspirations have been reflected in the quest for integrated MIS, enterprise-wide data models, and integrated databases. In recent years, with the increasing demand for process integration both within and across organizational and industry boundaries, this quest has gained further momentum. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, such as SAP, BaaN, Peoplesoft, and Oracle, are a recent business response to this quest. By providing integrated packaged solutions, not only do they provide an integrated system architecture for the organizations' information processing needs, they also claim to provide ready-made "best-of-the-breed" solutions for particular lines of businesses. Furthermore, given their enterprise-wide scope and extensive impact on organizational and interorganizational business practices, the acquisition and implementation of these systems substantially affects both the organization and the nature of corporate IS practices and the responsibilities of corporate IS departments. While a number of high profile organizations such as Boeing, Mercedes-Benz, ABB, and Levi have recently adopted ERP as an integrated replacement for their enterprise-wide information infrastructure, recent press reports outline a number of issues with the adoption and implementation of ERP systems. Moreover, the adoption of so-called "best-of-breed" applications raises a number of questions about the appropriateness and value of cookie-cutter solutions to diverse organizational requirements.
This panel provides both industry and academic perspectives on the current and future role of ERP systems in organizations, their implications for the organization and the corporate IS function, and the issues surrounding their adoption and implementation.
Panel 4--CALS and the Virtual Enterprise
Chair: Donald J. McCubbrey, University of Denver
Panelists: Susan Gillies, CanSTEP Centre; Darren Meister, Queen's University; Hiroshi Mizuta, VE Centre
CALS began in 1985 as a way to reduce the paperwork and coordination efforts involved in the procurement functions associated with the design, development, and maintenance of large weapons and aerospace systems in the U.S. Under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD), a process was established whereby standards were developed and implemented to support electronic sharing of information among the DoD and its prime and subcontractors. At that time, the acronym for CALS stood for Computer Aided Logistic Support. In 1987 and 1993, as the scope of CALS expanded, the acronym became known as Computer aided Acquisition and Logistic Support and then Continuous Acquisition and Lifecycle Support.
The CALS initiative soon spread beyond the original domain of U.S. DoD and aerospace contractors and caught the interest of manufacturing firms in other parts of the industrialized world. Important CALS supportive frameworks were established in such countries as Germany and Japan. CALS conferences (CALS EXPO) helped spread the word about the potential for CALS to form the basis for an enterprise integration strategy as well as the foundation for companies on the path toward becoming virtual enterprises. CALS provides a framework for the development of standards and technologies that foster collaborative efforts and the sharing of engineering and manufacturing information. It can be seen as an enabler for independent companies to inter-operate and exchange information in real-time so that they can work as a single, integrated unit. By 1995, CALS came to stand for Commerce At Light Speed in the commercial world. Proponents of CALS took the position that CALS could serve as the integrating strategy for the exchange of all types of information, both within and between enterprises. In other words, CALS could become an umbrella strategy for encoding all forms of data to support all modes of electronic commerce (EC).
Despite the rising interest in CALS as a strategy for inter- and intra-enterprise integration, it is neither well known nor well understood by the EC community at large.
Panel 5--Approaches to Using the Year 2000 Problem in Information Systems Courses
Chair: Michael Vitale, University of Melbourne
Panelists: Ben Light, Manchester Business School; Gerald Knolmayer, University of Bern; John Mooney, University College Dublin
The Year 2000 (Y2K) problem is real, and by this time it is clear that the question is not whether there are going to be difficulties, but how severe the inevitable difficulties are going to be. Articles about Y2K appear in the popular press on a daily basis, and web sites related to the issue continue to proliferate. This popular attention offers an opportunity, and perhaps an obligation, to connect academic teaching and research with the real world. The goal of this panel is to illustrate and encourage the incorporation of the Y2K problem into university information systems courses at all levels.
Although the panel will take place in December 1998, its message will still have relevance, for the Year 2000 problem will not end in the year 2000. Moreover, many general topics can be approached via the Y2K issue, including IS planning, the role of IS standards, the potential benefits and pitfalls of IT outsourcing, and large-scale project management. Finally, the Year 2000 problem is an example of the kind of challenge regarding building and maintaining IT infrastructure that IS managers will increasingly face in the future.
The format of the panel is simple. After a brief introduction by the chair, each panelist will be given 15 minutes to discuss how he has used the Year 2000 problem in IS teaching. These brief presentations will include the panelist's goal(s) for including this topic, the way(s) in which the topic was used, the amount of preparation required on the part of teacher and students, the lessons learned, and the outcomes achieved.
The format will allow ample time for questions and discussion after the formal presentations. Each panelist will also provide sample materials, which will be available as handouts at the panel session and on the Internet following the Conference.
Panel 6--What's So Different about the World Wide Web Anyway?
Chair: Michael Bieber, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Panelists: Sue Conger, Southern Methodist University; Blake Ives, Louisiana State University; Wolfgang Janko, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration; Bob O'Keefe, Brunel University
Many predict a shift in the way organizations function as the World Wide Web becomes the predominant way that people gain access to computer applications and information. As organizations graft Web interfaces to their legacy systems and conceive of entire new information systems that take advantage of the Web infrastructure, a new field called Web Information Systems (WIS) is emerging. There is a clear difference between a set of Web pages and a WIS. The WIS supports work, and is usually tightly integrated with other non-Web-based information systems such as a databases and transaction processing systems.
But, what is so different about WIS from other distributed information systems? And for that matter, how do WIS really differ from more traditional systems? Don't WIS developers face the same needs for systematic analysis and design, robust implementations, economic return on investment and competitive advantage, etc.? Are the users of WIS that much different from other information system users? How much do the lessons we've learned over the last several decades of IS research and development apply to the Web?
This panel will explore the young field of Web Information Systems, examining issues in Web development and usage contrasted with our experiences with traditional systems. Our goal will be to come away with a better understanding of the Web, Web Information Systems, and traditional information systems.
Panel 7--Target Journals for Information Systems Research: Current Practices and Controversies
Chair: Daniel Robey, Georgia State University
Panelists: Kent Walstrom, Illinois State University; Dennis Adams, University of Houston; Burt Swanson, University of California, Los Angeles
This panel examines the practice of identifying target journals for IS research. As participants in a scholarly community, individual researchers and their institutions may benefit from guidance on the choice of journals for submission of scholarly work. Official "target journal" lists have begun to appear within departments, where they play a role in evaluating the contributions of individual faculty. The panel examines this practice from three distinct angles. First, research that evaluates the relative standing of scholarly journals in the IS field will be described. The results of a 1998 survey and two earlier surveys will be presented. Second, the current practices of two leading IS departments in North American business schools will be described. The actual lists, the controversies surrounding their development and maintenance, and their use and consequences will be described. Third, the practice of identifying target journals will be challenged, and the controversies surrounding the use of such lists will be examined.
Panel 8--Power and Politics in IT Implementation: Perspective, Threat, and Promise
Chair: Brian Butler, University of Pittsburgh
Panelists: Michael Ginzberg, Case Western Reserve University; David Knights, Nottingham University; Carol Saunders, University of Oklahoma
As information technology plays an increasingly central role in firms, it often serves as a significant driver of organizational change. Introduction of new systems is linked with changes in business processes, decision-making structures, and the flow of information within organization. New communication technologies build bridges that span boundaries both within and between firms. Changing processes, information flows, and decision-making structures alter the distribution of power within an organization. Consequently, many discussions of IT implementation, management, and impact in organizations touch on the internal politics associated with these processes.
Organizational power and political perspectives occupy an awkward position in the IS community. On one hand, power and politics are clearly a concern to practitioners and IS educators. Trade journals often attribute the success or failure of IT related initiatives to political savvy or clout. Organization power and politics are mentioned in many IS textbooks. However, while there is agreement that power and politics play an important role in IT implementation, there is surprisingly little attention given to them in the recent IS research literature. This situation prompts several questions about the theoretical and practical value of the power and political perspectives on IT implementation.
What (if anything) does this body of research contribute beyond the general observation that the implementation and management of IT in organizations are political processes?
How can research on the role of organizational power and politics be brought to bear constructively on the problems faced by IS practitioners?
What areas of IS research would benefit from greater consideration of organizational power and political issues?
What are the challenges (methodological and/or professional) faced by researchers interested in studying organizational power, politics, and IT?
The purpose of this panel is to encourage audience members to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with developing and applying power and political perspectives on the application and management of IT in organizations. Both panelists and audience members will be encouraged to respond to and discuss a series of claims about the past and future of research on power, politics, and IT in organizations.
Panel 9--Adaptive IT Infrastructure: The Platform for Global Integration
Chair: Nancy Duncan, Kent State University
Panelists: Matthew Sherrod, ARCO Alaska Inc.; Peter Weill, University of Melbourne
Information technology infrastructure is the physical platform that enables firms to share information resources electronically. It supports the people, processes, and data needed to conduct projects, create partnerships, and reach new markets independent of geographic or organizational boundaries. The demands for such information sharing are not limited to textual data: geographically dispersed team members may require the ability to share graphics generation, viewing and alteration capabilities, real-time audio, and even video. A firm's ability to meet rapidly changing needs to share information--in increasingly complex and expensive ways--depends on infrastructure characteristics. How IT infrastructure may be cultivated to support unanticipated requirements is the subject of much speculation among IT managers.
One view of IT infrastructure cultivation takes the approach of deliberate, strategic resource planning and management. In this view, IT must be part of the ongoing, firm-wide strategy, management, and planning processes. Various forms of process transformation, such as business process redesign, electronic commerce, internationalization of business processes, and knowledge management, may require different infrastructure capabilities. If the capabilities are not in place at the time they are needed, the transformation may stall, or worse--fail. Hence, infrastructure planning must be integrated with the earliest strategic business-transformation planning.
Another, much practiced approach to infrastructure management can be described as "keeping-up" with business plans and requirements. Cost constraints and uncertainty in the environment severely impair a firm's ability to plan and build a "strategic infrastructure." Without specific business objectives, the firm cannot justify investment in advanced technology-based capabilities. Development of additional flexibility (or capability capacity) in the IT platform is simply perceived as an unaffordable luxury. The "keeping-up" view of infrastructure planning is essentially a contingency approach. Infrastructure technology is developed partially in response to unanticipated but crucial new requirements, but also with a very knowledgeable eye to the direction of technological growth and business requirements in the industry.
A third approach to infrastructure management may be described as organic. In industries in which growth and dependence on information technology are both extremely high (as is the case in the computer industry), some argue that planning a platform to support continuous innovation is nearly impossible.
Technology resources, technical capabilities, tremendous resource planning, and management skills are all critical to infrastructure characteristics, their capabilities, and, ultimately the organization's capabilities. IT infrastructure characteristics will likely be reflective of organizational characteristics, and their capabilities will likewise be interrelated. The panel will present and discuss the most current issues and challenges relating to the development of the infrastructure platforms that support virtual integration and their relation to different organizational characteristics.
Peter Weill will discuss the barriers to linking infrastructure capability to strategic context, first conceptually and then drawing on new work in pc/lan infrastructures.
Matt Sherrod and Nancy Duncan will discuss the problems, practices, and continuing challenges of firms with high demands on infrastructure flexibility or responsiveness in environments of great uncertainty. In such cases, infrastructure development somewhat resembles building a bicycle while riding it. Matt will discuss the challenges of meeting unanticipated infrastructure demands under rigorous time constraints such as those experienced when Arco Alaska discovered a new, 350 million-barrel oil site. In this industry, cost minimization competes with time pressures as telecommunications professionals race to build a support system for internationally dispersed project teams. The flexibility of the new Internet and public frame relay platform AAI designed for the new oil field development project was tested and proven shortly after it was established. The degree of integration and access to these team technologies on this project alone saved AAI between $500,000 and $1 million.
Nancy will present a look at infrastructure development in the rapid-change environment of the computer industry. At Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI), the spontaneous eruption of thousands and tens of thousands of intranet sites has evolved into an infrastructure whose value is inestimable. But one indicator of its value is found in a single altered process. With the infrastructure capabilities developed by and for the intranet, SGI saved $7.5 of the budgeted $8 million for a single product launching event in 1997. Many of these intranet sites are the creations of individual employees who developed and added them to the system on their own initiative, and often to serve only their individual work purposes. Although this autonomy results in certain inefficiencies, it has also enabled SGI to cultivate an infrastructure that is readily integrated with the development of new processes or the transformation of old ones. The freedom SGI employees have to transform processes unilaterally to reduce or obliterate inefficiencies may be the most efficient way to derive a flexible infrastructure: evolution and survival of the fittest.
After initial presentations, the panel members will be asked to comment on two key issues in infrastructure planning and management. First, to what extent can infrastructure growth be managed by design? Can it be designed to "grow" or evolve naturally along with changes in business functions or activities with minimal intervention from IT management? Second, what is the role of vendors in the development and management of IT infrastructure? What are the potential risks and advantages of depending on vendors for infrastructure services, and what are their relative weights?
Panel 10--Telework Practice Across National Cultures
Chair: Sandy Staples, University of Melbourne
Panelists: Arnstein Borstad, Statoil Research Center; Scharam Dusdar, University of Design; Nava Pliskin, Ben Gurion University; Celia T. Romm, University of Wollongong; Margaret Tan, National University of Singapore
The empirical research on the practice of telework indicates that there are a number of issues that seem to impede successful telework. The fear of lost managerial control is reported to be a significant factor preventing widespread adoption of telework. Managers are also concerned that telework may require them to change their management style since they cannot rely on visual contact for monitoring and control. Researchers suggest that a more results-oriented management style is needed and that a shift in management from being a passer of information to a leader or coach is necessary. Trust is suggested as being a key ingredient to effectively manage teleworkers. Managing perceptions of corporate culture in a remote worker is also seen as a possible obstacle, requiring additional investment from managers.
As we can see, quite a bit appears to be known about telework practice; however, most of the literature originates from English speaking countries. It is not clear to what extent the findings reflect the reality of telework in other cultures. Thus, questions such as what is the emerging reality for telework and how is this reality influenced by culture are still unanswered. Our panel will attempt to address these questions.
The objective of this panel is to explore and debate a range of issues that are related to the practice of telework and the impact of national culture on these issues.
Reflecting this objective, each member of the panel will do four things:
1. Discuss examples of successful telework initiatives in their national culture.
2. Discuss examples of unsuccessful telework initiatives in their national culture.
3. From these examples, identify barriers to telework in their culture and the impact of their national culture on telework practice.
4. Identify unique characteristics of their nation's business and social cultures and briefly compare and contrast those to the cultures discussed by prior panelists. In this way, each panelist relates differences about telework in their own culture to the other cultures represented and builds on previous panelists' comments.
Each panel member will spend 10 minutes addressing the four tasks described above. The five panelists represent five different cultures (Australia, Israel, Austria, Norway, and Singapore). The remaining time will be dedicated to an open discussion, with the audience invited to address one or more of the panelists. An attempt will be made to encourage a debate between members of the audience, as well as between them and the panel members on all issues addressed by the panel.
Panel 11--Web-based Auctions: Theoretical Issues and Practical Experience
Chair: Stefan Klein, University of Muenster
Panelists: Eric van Heck, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Ajit Kambil, New York University and Andersen Consulting; Peer Lodbrok, infoMedia GmbH. Düsseldorf
Auctions are formalized trading procedures in which the trading partners' interaction is governed by specific rules for competitive bidding and trade execution. Auction markets provide procedures for the exposure of purchase and sales orders to the market participants in order to determine the price of trade objects. Empirically, we find a multiplicity of auction types with different trade objects, access rules for participants, and trading rules.
During the 1980s, electronic auctions were developed and implemented that distributed not only information about the trade objects electronically but also executed the trading process itself as computer-mediated process. The extensive proliferation of electronic commerce on the Web has accelerated the diffusion of electronic auctions. While the classic examples of electronic auctions such as the Tele flower auction or Aucnet have been designed as wholesale auctions with a dedicated communication infrastructure and relatively high entry costs, the Web has facilitated the rise of electronic consumer auctions. AuctionNet [http://www.auction.net], NETIS auctionweb [http://www.auctionweb.com/online/], The Internet Auction List [http://www.usaweb.com/auction.html/], Bid Find WWW Auction Search [http://www.bidfind.com], The Auction Hunter [http://www.auctionhunter.com] are examples of Web sites with listings of numerous, altogether hundreds, of auctions. Individual auction sites like ONSALE [http://www.onsale.com] have gained worldwide attention.
This panel considers the impact that the Web is having on auctions: their economic rationale, strategic potential, and diffusion. This is done through a consideration of electronic auctions in light of the classical auction theory and the impact of the Web on the various players in an auction. The hypothesized impacts are compared with the experience of Lufthansa, with its Web-based ticket auctions, and other examples of Web-based auctions. The panelists will discuss economic, strategic, institutional, and technical aspects of Web-based auctions:
1. Classical auction theory and the need for an electronic auction theory. Face-to-face auctions are a well researched field. We will briefly present some of the theoretical foundations, major issues, and voids. Based on a rough classification of electronic auction parameters (technical environment, participants, trade objects, auction rules)we will consider open issues and necessary amendments or extensions to auction theory. The focus will be on consumer auctions.
2. Electronic auctions from a seller's perspective. Airlines have seen the transformation of ticket auctions from a marketing event, which was designed to draw attention to their Web site, into a distribution channel. For many vendors, auctions are but one of several distribution channels. We will discuss the strategic positioning of electronic auctions in comparison to other sales and distribution channels: What are the interdependencies, and probably interference, between the different channels and which isolation mechanisms are available?
3. Understanding customer behavior. In order to assess the attractiveness of auctions from a customer's perspective, we will present a cost-benefit framework covering comparative search and transaction costs, price advantages, and the exposure to quality risks and collusion. The economic rationale will be complemented with motives such as bargain hunting, gambling, or charity. We will consider the influence of cultural patterns, like the habit of price negotiations in an Arabic bazaar, on the acceptance of auctions.
The availability of last-minute tickets has prompted customers to make their travel decisions and ticket purchases on short notice. In a similar way, the proliferation of Web-based auctions might influence customers' buying patterns and facilitate for example, the spread of price negotiations and competitive bidding into new domains.
4. The changing role and challenges for intermediaries. While traditional auction theory has focused mainly on buyers and sellers, intermediaries play a crucial role in electronic auctions. In the highly fragmented environment of the Web, intermediaries try to integrate multiple auctions in order to generate sufficient liquidity on the buyer and the seller side. In order to reduce the quality risk for the buyers they try to establish a good reputation and trust. We will consider the range of functions for auction intermediaries and will assess institutional and technical success factors for electronic consumer auctions.
5. The impact of electronic auctions on the market place. Empirical evidence suggests that auctions are changing the market place. In markets with established auctions, such as flower auctions, online auctions are changing the roles of established players and the level of competition among the auctioneers. In markets where auctions have been unknown, auctions are challenging established price structures and the role of established distribution channels. We will illustrate these trends with a few examples.
6. Future development of electronic auctions. A tentative analysis of the impact of Web technology on auctions suggests that
new trading rules, in most cases combinations of existing rules, are emerging;
auctions are applied to new business domains; and
automated (for example, agent-based) trading models are designed in order to make the search and bidding process more efficient.
We will explore these trends, give (preliminary) evidence of how some of the current shortcomings of electronic auctions can be overcome, and indicate future directions for research.
Meet the New Editors
Chair Robert W. Zmud, University of Oklahoma
Guests Philip Ein-Dor, Tel Aviv University, JAIS and CAIS; Allen Lee, Virginia Commonwealth University, MIS Quarterly; Jukka Heikkilä, Helsinki School of Economics, Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems
Information Systems Research
Information Systems: A Three-Faceted Perspective
Chair Matthias Jarke, RWTH Aachen
Panelists Giorgio de Michelis, University of Milan; Helmut Krcmar, University of Hohenheim; Florian Matthes, Higher Order Software; Aris Ouksel, University of Illinois at Chicago; Carson Woo, University of British Columbia
For a long time, researchers have viewed information systems as an interplay between people, organizations, and technology, but few efforts have really addressed this very complex picture of mutual influence. The main claim of this panel is that the challenge of change we are facing can only be met with better interaction between these three facets of information systems: the technological, the organizational, and the workgroup practice facet.
Current research communities are looking at one, at best two, of these facets and are thus missing important mutual impacts and opportunities for innovation. Similar problems appear in industry, where technical advances such as interoperatibility, web technologies, or separation of control from applications are only loosely coupled with organizational computing strategies, such as those promoted by ERP vendors like SAP, or empowerment tools for individuals and groups.
The panel, comprising researchers and practitioners of web programming language technology, heterogeneous databases, groupware, organizational modeling, and strategic information management, will address mutually relevant advances and point out some benefits from looking at these facets together, resulting from recent research and commercial efforts.
Finland -- Spinning the Networked Nation Ahead
Chair Kalle Lyytinen, University of Jyväskylä
"A Tutorial of the Finnish Society and Its History," Yrjö Länsipuro, Chief of the Press Office, MfA
"Finnish Information Technology Policies and Their Evolution," Pauli Heikkila, Head of IT Research, Center for Technology Development, with commentary by Seymour Goodman, University of Arizona
"The National Information Society Strategy in Finland," Antti Rainio, Project Manager, Finnish National Fund for Research and Development, Sitra, with commentary by Niels Bjørn-Andersen, Copenhagen Business School
"The Vision of a Virtual Finland: The Case of Virtual Helsinki," Risto Linturi, Technology Manager, Helsinki Telephone, with commentary by K. Pelly Periasamy, Nanyang Technological University
Out of Scandinavia: The History and Contributions of an IS Research Tradition
Chair: Lars Mathiassen, Aalborg University
Panelists Gros Bjerknes, Avenir Consulting; Karlheinz Kautz, Copenhagen Business School; Peter Axel Nielsen, Aalborg University; Erik Stolterman, Umeå University
This summer, the Scandinavian IS research community celebrated its 21st annual IRIS conference (Information systems Research In Scandinavia), and from that point of view it is probably the oldest active IS research community in the world. Many important contributions have come out of this tradition: for example, the work of Börje Langefors on theories of information systems (1966), which contributed to the establishment of our field, and the controversial contributions of Kristen Nygaard (1971), emphasizing the political aspects and the strengths of action research approaches as integral parts of information systems studies.
One of the most common misconceptions about Scandinavian IS research is captured in the notion of "The Scandinavian Approach." Research contributions from Scandinavia often have special features because they are created as part of societies with long traditions for democracy in the workplace, with an openness to debate and conflict, and with a strong tradition for design of artifacts. But there is no such thing as one shared approach to IS in Scandinavia. On the contrary, there have always been a great variety of competing approaches, some more technical than others, with a strong social orientation, some based on positivist traditions, and others based on interpretivist or action-oriented traditions.
Its is the specific societal conditions, the richness and great variety in research approaches, and the open atmosphere of debate and mutual exchange that have influenced the contributions of the Scandinavian research tradition. The panel has been designed to provide an overview of and insights into this tradition by presenting different views of its history and contributions.
First, historian Gro Bjerknes will discuss key elements in the evolution of the tradition. Gro will outline some major schools of thought that have made key contributions, and she will also provide useful information about the published literature on the history of Scandinavian IS research.
Second, design researcher Erik Stolterman will describe examples of Scandinavian contributions to understanding IS as a design discipline. Erik will explore the Scandinavian traditions related to participatory design and work-oriented design of computer artifacts, and he will take a closer look at work related to the notions of metaphor and design rationale.
Third, editor Peter Axel Nielsen will review the publications from the Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems. Peter will discuss the profile and contents of papers that have been published over the past 10 years and compare this picture to corresponding profiles of other IS journals.
Finally, participant observer Karlheinz Kautz discuss the Scandinavian tradition from the point of view of the informed outsider. Karlheinz has a background in German academia, but he has been part of the Scandinavian community for a number of years and worked as a researcher in both Norway and Denmark.
The Master's Degree Program in Information Systems
Chair: Gordon B. Davis, University of Minnesota
Panelists: David Feinstein, University of South Alabama; Ted Stohr, New York University; Joe Valacich, Washington State University; Rolf Wigand, Syracuse University
There has been significant recent activity related to model undergraduate curricula in information systems and suggestions for curricular improvement in content and pedagogy. Although these major efforts were modeled within the context of the North American university degree program structures, they are useful for consideration in curricular design in other systems as well. Two major studies were the recent report for undergraduate degree programs in information systems (IS'97, available on the CD-ROM containing these Proceedings) and the soon to be published NSF funded study: ISCC'99 (Educating the Next Generation of Information Specialists in Collaboration with Industry). This panel addresses the related issue of a Master's degree program in information systems.
The most recent model curriculum for a Master's in information systems developed in 1982 by a committee of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Although there has been some work and conferences around the subject since that time, no new report has been published. A joint committee of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) and ACM was established for a Master's degree program in Information Systems. A short paper describing the work of the joint ACM/AIS committee and containing responses to questions that have been raised in sessions with faculty members is provided in the Proceedings. The paper provides background for the ICIS panel discussion.
Problems, Knowledge, Solutions: Solving Complex Problems, Enid Mumford, Emeritus Professor, Manchester Business School
This paper examines complex problem solving using drugs and cyber crime as examples.
Y2K and Euro Project Management: Lessons Learned
Janis Gogan, Bentley College; Janice Sipior, Villanova University
Preliminary results of case studies will be presented in this session to provide an initial set of "best practices" and "lessons learned" about year 2000 and euro conversion project management. The cases reveal both similarities and differences in technical, organizational, and strategic approaches to comply with the processing requirements for the arrival of the year 2000 and the euro. Janis Gogan, Bentley College, will discuss year 2000 project management and contingency planning, based on longitudinal case studies of six large organizations. Janice Sipior, Villanova University, will present euro conversion project management issues, based on case studies.
Web-based Education: Revolution or Fad?
Moderator: Gordon B. Davis, University of Minnesota
Debaters: Cynthia Beath, Southern Methodist University; Dorothy Leidner, INSEAD; Leyland Pitt, University of Wales; Han Van Dissel, Erasmus University
Some interesting comments that might have been made over the years:
"Herr Gutenberg, I think your printing press is going to revolutionize education. Imagine how much faster students will learn when they have their own books."
"Senor Marconi, your radio is going to revolutionize society. Everybody can ow hear the opera and the orchestra."
"Mr. Baird, your invention will revolutionize education. People will be able to see and hear the best professors and teachers. Television will educate everyone."
"Mr. Watson, I recommend IBM make a major investment in educational software. Computers can do a far better job of assisting learning than books and teachers."
"You know Tim [Berners-Lee], this WWW stuff will revolutionize education. Students can do classes on-line at their own pace when they want and wherever they are."
By most reckonings, the only one to score in the great education revolution is Gutenberg. What is the likelihood of the Web revolutionizing education?
This debate will follow the traditional model. Two speakers will argue that the Web will revolutionize education and two will present the opposing argument. Gordon Davis will adjudicate the debate and make a concluding statement.
This website was updated November 17, 1998. Questions concerning the program: please see contact information. Questions or observations concerning these web pages kindly contact the ICIS'98 web master, Jouni Huotari