MIS Doctoral Seminar – Spring 2018

MIS 9003 – Prof. Min-Seok Pang

Week 3 Reading Summary (HK)

Tambe, P., Hitt, L.M., and Brynjolfsson, E. (2012) “The Extroverted Firm: How External Information Practices Affect Innovation and Productivity,” Management Science (58:5) pp. 843-859.

Tambe, Hitt, and Brynjolfsson (2012) combined various data sources including survey-based measures and COMPUSTAT information to identify and demonstrate the value of organizations embracing external focuses. An external focus is the ability of a firm to identify and respond to changes in the external operating environment. Extreme examples of firms successfully embracing external focuses are internet based companies, such as Google and Amazon, who record users’ keystrokes and analyze these data to optimize their products, processes, and marketing strategies. Using survey based measures, Tambe et al. (2012) first identified the correlation between external focus and IT investment and organizational decentralization. Next, the authors found that these three practices are all associated with improved production innovation capabilities. Finally, a three-way complementarities model indicated that the combination of the three practices of external focus, IT investment, and organizational decentralization are associated with significantly higher productivity.

Prior to Tambe et al.’s efforts (2012) research had demonstrated the value of organizational decentralization on IT investments. Tambe et al. (2012) confirmed this finding and highlighted that IT has the strongest impact on productivity in firms assuming that they are embracing the appropriate organizational structure. Furthermore, the authors added to past research findings by introducing the third factor of external focus into the IT productivity framework. Results indicated that product development was one of the principle mechanisms through which external focus impacts productivity. Overall, the key managerial implication of Tambe et al.’s findings is that firms with an external focus are more productive and reap disproportionate benefits from advances in IT and workplace organization. It is worth noting that to derive the maximum amount of benefits from complements organizations must embrace them all. Thus, firms with decentralized structures should look to embrace a more external focus to fully realize the returns of their IT investments.

Week 3 – Rai et al. 2015 – Joe

Rai, A., Arikan, I., Pye, J., & Tiwana, A. (2015). Fit and Misfit of Plural Sourcing Strategies and IT-Enabled Process Integration Capabilities: Consequences of Firm Performance in the US Electric Utility Industry. MIS Quarterly39(4), 865-885.

Plural sourcing refers to a company’s simultaneously use and allocation of external procurement and internal production to source its good/service. It remains obscure that how a firm’s use of plural sourcing can change the value of developing interfirm and intrafirm IT capabilities after a survey of the past literature. This study addresses this gap by focusing on the following research question: How does the (mis)fit between a firm’s plural sourcing strategies and the development of IT-enabled interfirm and intrafirm process integration capabilities influence firm performance?

The authors wisely choose power-generation segment of the U.S. electric utility industry (EUI) to explore the moderating effects of plural sourcing, measured by a proposed concept called “Market Sourcing Intensity(MSI)”, on the relationship between firm performance (assessed by ROA) and two IT-enabled process integration capabilities, IT-enabled interfirm process integration capability and IT-enabled intrafirm process integration capability. With data from archival sources for 342 utility firms in the power-generation segment to construct a panel dataset for the period 1994–2004, the authors use pooled OLS to the following results: 1) fit between MSI and the development of IT-enabled interfirm process integration capability improves firm profitability and 2) misfit between MSI and the development of IT-enabled intrafirm process integration capability extracts penalties in firm profitability. The result from one of the robustness check also offer evidence that fit between MSI and the development of IT-enabled interfirm process integration capability improves market valuation (assessed by Tobin’s Q) and asset turnover (assessed by operating revenue/total assets).

This study extends past by revealing how explanations of firm capabilities for IT-enabled process integration and transaction costs economics(TCE) for plural sourcing interact to explain firm performance. The authors nicely collect viewpoints that internal costs of organizing production and transaction costs need to be considered in making governance choices and apparently show the empirical limitations.

Dr. Peng Huang as a guest speaker on Jan 31

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Peng Huang at Smith School of Business, University of Maryland will join us as a guest speaker on January 31 at 10 AM. His website is at http://penghuang.com/

Please be sure to read his paper from Week 4 by next week and come up with a question to him (although we will discuss this paper on Feb 7).

Ceccagnoli, M., Forman, C., Huang, P., and Wu, D.J. (2012) “Cocreation of Value in a Platform Ecosystem: The Case of Enterprise Software,” MIS Quarterly (36:1) pp. 263-290.

Week 2 -Tae et al-Sidd Bhattacharya

Two perspectives have been persistent in previous research. One, says that in the face of disruption the reactive ability of firms determine how much superior profits it can garner until a new equilibrium is reached. Two, that firms are more interconnected than ever before often sharing and utilizing each other’s resources and inputs. This paper asks the research question of how operation disruption of firms which is dependent on shared resources affects not just the disrupted firm but also other firms that are sharing the resource. Further, the paper wants to investigate whether this effect is moderated by the routine complexity of the firm who is disrupted and also their own routine complexity. The context of the research is the US airline industry and especially episodes of major disruption (37 between 2000-2017 out of which 4 major ones are taken into account here). The shared resource is the airports while the performance data is gathered from BTS On-time Performance(OTP).The paper uses simple OLS specification while trying to measure the departure delay, arrival delay and excess travel times as measures of on-time performance. With a data set of 75,051 flights during the 4 disrupted periods, the paper finds that disruptions to one airline may have negative effects on the on-time performance of competitors who share the same resource. Further, results indicate that when FSCs ie those with more complicated routines are disrupted there are significant and negative spillovers onto competing LCCs and FSCs. These results reverse when LCCs are disrupted with positive performance improvements. The analysis section does extensive robustness checks to ensure robust identification. The research has important implications for both firms, IT designers and regulators. The research also contributes to the literature by being the first to show the effect of focal firm’s disruption on competitors with whom it shares resources.

Week 2 Reading Summary (HK)

Ray, G., Wu, D., & Konana, P. (2009). Competitive environment and the relationship between IT and vertical integration. Information Systems Research20(4), 585-603.

Information technology (IT) can reduce coordination costs for companies, both internally and externally, minimizing barriers preventing the use of markets. Based on this premise, it is proposed that increasing the use of IT will in turn decrease the employment of vertical integration (VI). Past research has found that less vertically integrated firms have a higher need for external coordination and thus a higher demand for IT capital (Dewan et al., 1998; Hitt, 1999). Despite this premise and its empirical support, the average level of VI has increased over the past 25 years. This prompted Ray, Wu, and Konana (2009) to examine firms included in InformationWeek 500 from 1995 to 1997 using COMPUSTAT data to better understand this incongruence. Ray et al. (2009) considered demand uncertainty and industry concentration as boundary conditions which impact VI and IT spend. Demand uncertainty captures the degree of unpredictability in consumers’ tastes and preferences as well as in production and service technologies. Industry concentration is high when a leader or leaders control an industry with high barriers to entry; diluted industries are those with many small firms.

Results found that when demand uncertainty is high or industry concentration is low, results were consistent with past literature; IT is associated with a decrease in VI. In these conditions, an increase in the level of VI is associated with an increase in product and coordination costs and thus, less VI is ideal. On the other hand, when demand uncertainty is low or industries are highly concentrated, IT is associated with an increase in VI; this is contrary to past literature. In these environments, VI is associated with a decrease in production and coordination costs and thus, is ideal. Effectively, these findings indicate that the industry environment impacts the value of VI and IT.

Week 2 Reading Summary – Tae et al. (2018) – Xi Wu

Tae et al. (2018) When Your Problem Becomes My Problem: The Impact of Airline IT Disruptions on On-Time Performance of Competing Airlines

Disruption within the competitive environment and its subsequent effect on firm performance has been a crucial topic, yet there is few research about the effect on the competitive environment on rival firms when a resource-sharing firm experience an operational disruption. As is well established, the disruption of organizational routines often leads to performance degradation.  This paper argues that, in the presence of a shared resource, the disruption of the focal firm’s routines will also lead to the disruption of the competitors, and subsequently diminish the competitor’s performance. In addition, following the idea of routines as coordination mechanism, the study also examines how the complexity of routines, of both the disrupted firm and the competitor, affects the ability to react.

The empirical context is U.S. airline industry, where individual airports are the shared resource. Airlines have been subject to multiple recent large-scale disruptions. This paper examines the change in on-time performance (OTP) of airlines with and without IT disruptions, for flights departing from and arriving at hub airports of the airline experiencing IT disruptions, relative to all other flights. Complexity of routines could be indicated by full-service carriers (FSC) and low-cost carriers(LLC).

Using a sample data of 75,051 flights during four IT outrage incidents, this paper conducts fixed effect empirical models, and find that disruptions to one airline may have negative effects on the on-time performance of competitors who share the same resource. The direction and the magnitude of the effect is conditional on the routine complexity of the firms. This study complements the literature on firm adaptability under environmental change by considering the role of firm interdependence, and shed light on the impact of routine complexity on firm adaptability and performance.

Week 2- Reading Summary- Leting Zhang

Baker, G. P., & Hubbard, T. N. (2004). Contractibility and asset ownership: On-board computers and governance in US trucking. The Quarterly Journal of Economics119(4), 1443-1479.

How informational capabilities affect the boundaries of the firm, specifically, the ownership of assets? In the context of U.S. trucking, the paper investigates the impact of OBD(On-board computers) adoption on two kinds of ownership by changing the contracting environment.

The analytic framework  is based on property rights theories, it expalains how contractual incompleteness can affect the comparative advantage of using an owner-operator for a haul relative to a company driver.   There are two main costs two ownerships face,  company driver has higher agency costs compared to owner driver who faces a higher bargain costs.  Agency costs are from the seperation between residual right and residual claimant.  Bargain costs are from the inefficiencies associated with bargaining over the truck’s use. However the OBD could reduce the agency costs.  Based on the framework, the paper proposes that (1). longer hauls are more likely to be completed by owner-operators; (2) unidirectional hauls are more likely to be carried by owner-operator; (3) driver-ownership should decline with OBC adoption; (4) the relationships between OBC adoption and ownership should be stronger for long hauls than for short hauls.

In the analysis part, the paper uses Truck Inventory and Use Surveys from 1987 and 1992. Firstly it examines cross-sectional relationships and test the first two hypotheses, then it constructs cohorts and take several approaches including first difference estimation, instrumental variables to solve the endogeneity and test the main hypotheses.

The results suggests that improved contracting, using on-board computers in the context, leads to more integrated asset ownership. In another word, the changes in monitoring technology could change the industry structure in this sector. The implications could also be applied to other sector, like medicine.

Week 2 – Ray et al. (2009) – Joe

Ray, G., Wu, D., & Konana, P. (2009). Competitive environment and the relationship between IT and vertical integration. Information Systems Research20(4), 585-603.

As information technology(IT) can reduce coordination costs, the electronic markets hypothesis indicates that increased use of IT in the economy may suggest decreased levels of vertical integration (VI). The empirical work of related topics, however, contradicts previous research in the way that vertical integration (VI) has increased rather than decreased. The authors claim that the demand uncertainty and industry concentration, two measures of the competitive environment, can moderate the relationship between IT and VI.

The authors adopt firm-level IT spending data from 1995 to 1997 drawn from InformationWeek 500 that had been used in prior research. To overcome the simultaneity bias of VI and IT, the authors propose a 2-equation model to uncover the causality. The results suggest that in uncertain demand and in the unstable competitive environment, IT is associated with decreased VI. While in more predictable and concentrated environment, IT is associated with increased VI. Also, they find that firms made rational strategies about VI and IT in different competitive environments to decrease the coordination and production cost. Compared with the previous literature, this paper provides a more refined understanding of the relationship between IT and VI.

This article empirically addresses the key endogeneity issue, a firm will choose its IT investment given its VI level, and vice-a-versa, when people tried to discuss the benefit of IT on the use of markets for companies. It contributes to the literature by showing the difference in the use of IT across different competitive environments. The implication of this research is that the level of VI should be chosen strategically based on the nature of the competitive environment. The research question of this paper is clear and straightforward. This work could be a remarkable econ-IS paper in 2009.

Dr. Keongtae Kim as a guest speaker on Jan 24

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Keongtae Kim at Chinese University of Hong Kong, a lead author of the bond-market paper at MISQ that we discussed last week, will join us this Wednesday as a guest speaker via a virtual meeting for 20-30 minutes. You can find his bio here.

He will join us at 9 AM (10 PM at Hong Kong time). Please don’t be late for class. In our meeting with him, we will ask him about his experiences in writing and publishing his MISQ paper. Please prepare for a question that you might want to ask him.

Week 2-Reading Summary-Jack Tong

Paper: Rawley, Evan, and Timothy S. Simcoe. “Information technology, productivity, and asset ownership: Evidence from taxicab fleets.” Organization Science 24, no. 3 (2013): 831-845.

The authors examine how technology adoption impacts firm’s vertical integration and worker’s skills. The paper applies a formal productivity-based theory of asset ownership and tests it by measuring the impact of information technology adoption on asset ownership in the taxicab industry. The authors posit that improvements in technology lead to increased integration and a greater reliance on unskilled labor.

There are three types of organizations in the proposed model: 1. independent owner-operators; 2. fleet-affiliated drivers who own a car but contract for dispatching; 3. shift drivers who rent both a car and dispatching service from a fleet. The empirical results show that adopting a computerized dispatching system causes taxicab firms to increase the percentage of vehicles they own from affiliated drivers.

This paper contributes to two streams of literatures: firm-boundary and skill-biased technical change. The paper provides a theory-based model and empirical results that technology adoption causes firms to increasingly vertically integrate, even without changes in asset specificity. Moreover, the paper also provide additional support on the limitation to the standard skill-biased technical change hypothesis that information technology typically increases the demand for skilled labor.

Why to business school’s need PhD students

While other departments of universities like Physics, Math etc need PhD students to assist Professors in their research, Business schools don’t necessarily do so. They want to cultivate new scholars in the field. Scholars who create new knowledge. PhD students in business schools bring in fresh perspective and new ideas. The university wants to create independent research scholars for the future with support from faculty members. When these students graduate with great quality papers and go to reputable schools the university’s reputation goes up. Also, when these students make tenure in good research schools the university’s reputation as a research driven school goes up. All this attracts new and better students to the school thus making the entire process cyclic in nature. The school invests a lot in the students and its their duty to reward the school back through not only great research publications but also through increasing the reputation of the school in the broader research community.

Anderson, Banker, and Ravindran (2006) Siddharth Bhattacharya

The paper asks the important question of whether IT does create value that is reflected in the market value of firms and in their future profitability. This question has been hard to address and there have been varying viewpoints about this topic. Proponents argue that companies can make innovative use of IT in ways that create value by taking advantage of unique resources of a firm. Critics, on the other hand argue that IT is easily replicable and cannot provide sustained competitive advantage as profits obtained from improved business would be competed away. Further, another line of thinking is that firms may develop specific set of architecture and skills that are not easily replicable and thus IT capabilities may themselves become a strategic resource. The paper wants to resolve this conundrum by utilizing the Y2K bug situation in 2000 that had forced IT firms to think about their existing  IT strategies seriously.

The paper hypothesizes that there is a positive association between shareholder value and Y2K spending and this is more pronounced in the transform than the informate than the automate industries respectively in that order. It also hypothesizes that there is a negative association between shareholder value and industry level spending on Y2K and that there is a positive association between earnings in future periods and Y2K spendings that are higher for firms in transformate industries versus the other industries. The authors employ a market valuation framework similar to that applied by Lev and Sougiannis’ (1996). The novelty of the method is the use of earnings in one period as predictors of earnings in the future. The results show that firms that spent more in the Y2K period experienced the benefits of improved earnings and increased firm value. These benefits were more pronounced in transform industries versus the other two. These companies, in the long run, were more flexible and were faster to adopt upcoming trends in e-business etc, thus providing them with more benefits. The authors also carry out bunch of robustness checks and rule out endogeneity concerns (using 3SLS etc) keeping the results consistent.

Week 1 Reading Summary – Ho et al. (2017) – Xi Wu

Ho, J., Tian, F., Wu, A., & Xu, S. X. (2017). Seeking value through deviation? Economic impacts of IT overinvestment and underinvestment. Information Systems Research, 28(4), 850-862.

Information technology (IT) investment decisions are of continuing strategic importance to firm. Under Red Queen competitive pressures, each firm’s performance depends on exceeding the actions of its rivals. This logic is useful but underresearched in the context of IT investment and its economic impacts.

This paper addresses the economic impacts of information technology overinvestment and underinvestment decisions. Hypothesis in this work draws on the view of Red Queen competition in conjunction with institutional theory. It argues that there is an effect of deviation on competitive advantage and an effect of deviation on legitimacy. Combining the two effects, a nonlinear relationship between firm performance and over- or under investment is expected (Hypothesis 1). In addition, drawing on the idea of management control mechanisms, the nonlinear firm performance impacts are conditional on ownership concentration (Hypothesis 2).

The authors use Tobin’s q to indicate firm performance, firm IT investment deviation is the difference between a firm’s IT capital and Industry IT. Sample set covers S&P 500 firms during 2001–2006. Firstly, ordinary least squares regression is applied. Then, to handle the possible endogeneity problem caused by selection bias, this paper uses Garen’s two-stage approach to model it. Another two partial adjustment models are applied to help address the dynamics of IT investment.

From the four models result, this paper finds that, on average, there is a positive relationship between a firm’s overinvestment in IT and Tobin’s q, although the relationship attenuates at higher levels of over-investment. However, on average, there is no relationship between a firm’s underinvestment in IT and its Tobin’s q. In addition, family ownership positively moderates the performance impact of underinvestment. These findings partially support hypotheses proposed.

Week 1 Reading Summary -Leting Zhang

Kim, K., Mithas, S., & Kimbrough, M. (2017). Information technology investments, and firm risk across industries: Evidence from the bond market. 

When firms in U.S. make decision in IT investment, it is necessary for them to evaluate the impact on their bond, because bond markets are the single laregest financial sources for U.S. firms. However, how bondholders view IT investment is little known. This paper tends to investigate the problem from two perspectives : 1.  the association between IT investments and two measures, initial bond rating and yield spreads, for newly issued bonds; 2.  how these associations vary across industries.

The paper examines research questions through the lens of real option thoery (e.g. Benorach 2002; Fichman et al. 2005) .  Decision maker face the trade off betweem the benefits and risks IT may bring. In the context of this paper, bondholders play the role of decision maker, on one hand, IT investment may increase cash flow of a firm, on the onther hand, they also consider several riskiness associated with IT.  Furthermore,  the paper focuses on three broad industry categories based on the differing strategic roles of IT (Anderson et al. 2006; Banker et al. 2011) : 1. automate, 2. informate, 3. transform.  It discusses industry heterogeneity in IT investment risks which are classified into (Benaroch 2002) : 1. firm-specific risks, 2. competition risks, 3. market risks. It points out transform industries are more likely to face higher risk from IT investment than other two thus negatively influence the bond evaluation.

It uses data from financial database and InformationWeek database. Empirical models  are established to examine the research questions.

The main findings are bondholders perceive the impact of IT ivestments on bond ratings and yield spreads differently across industries. They view IT investment in automate and infomate industires more favorably than those in transform industries. Becuase bondholders’ aversion to the riskiness and the lack of collateralizability of IT investments.

Week 1 Reading Summary (HK)

Anderson, M.C., Banker, R.D., and Ravindran, S. (2006) “Value Implications of Investments in Information Technology,” Management Science (52:9) pp. 1359-1376.

Anderson, Banker, and Ravindran (2006) capitalized on the unique Y2K bug situation to further the debate on the value of IT. Skeptics of IT spending argue that companies overspend on IT (Carr, 2004) based on the false belief that IT can provide a sustainable competitive advantage. Proponents of this belief feel that companies should wait to allow others to absorb the cost of IT and simply mimic successful implementations. On the contrary, IT supporters argue that IT creates value by connecting consumers and suppliers in a value driven way. This debate has been ongoing due to the difficulties that arise when attempting to empirically address IT performance and value; past research has relied on survey information (Bharadwaj et al., 1999; Brynjolfsson et al., 2002) or public announcements (Dos Santos et al., 1993; Im et al., 2001; Chatterjee et al., 2001). However, Anderson et al. (2006) capitalized on the U.S. SEC’s mandate to disclose Y2K preparations in order to gain unique insight into this ongoing debate.

Following a market valuation framework similar to Lev and Sougiannis’ (1996), Anderson et al. (2006) employed empirical models which related the combination of firms’ current book values and earnings, along with other value-relevant variables, to firms’ market values (i.e. prevailing stock prices). Though some critics proposed that organizations were overzealous with their IT spending in light of Y2K (Kong and Seipel, 2000), Anderson et al. (2006) found companies who spent more in the Y2K period experienced the benefits of improved earnings performance and increased value. These benefits were further realized in transformational industries, or those where IT has the potential to alter traditional business processes and relationships. Effectively, companies that embraced IT upgrades in response to the Y2K bug positioned themselves so that they could realize the benefits of emerging e-business applications.

Week 1 – Aral and Weill (2007) – Joe

Aral, S., & Weill, P. (2007). IT assets, organizational capabilities, and firm performance: How resource allocations and organizational differences explain performance variation. Organization Science, 18(5), 763-780.

While the positive effect of IT investments on firm performance has been shown from past evidence, the explanation of substantial variation across firms still remains obscure. Our knowledge of the specific factors driving the differences remains quite limited for both industry and academia. This study by Aral and Weill in 2007 tries to address the following two key questions: 1) what types of organizational characteristics explain this variation in firm performance? 2) why two firms with the same amount of IT capital perform differently?

To answer these two questions, the authors dive into the literature on resource-based theory of the firm (Wernerfelt 1984, Barney 1991) and propose a theoretical model of IT resources by 1) categorizing IT investments of firms into a portfolio of four IT assets disaggregated by strategic purpose: infrastructure, transactional, informational, and strategic assets and by 2) grouping the IT capability(ITC) as a mutually reinforcing system of practices(routines) and competencies(skills). Using data from 147 firms over 4 years and qualitative evidence from a case study of 7-Eleven Japan, the authors empirically investigate the impact of IT assets, IT capabilities, and their combination on four dimensions of firm performance: market valuation, profitability, cost, and innovation. They then find that 1) investments in a particular IT asset class deliver higher performance only when the dimension of the asset consistent with the strategic purpose of it and 2) organizational IT capabilities strengthens the performance effects of IT assets and broadens their impact beyond their intended purpose.

Although the empirical parts remain huge potentials for future researchers to explore, this paper is an easy-to-follow benchmark of behavior IS study. The authors integrate past literature and develop a new conceptual model which complements and extends recent resource-based theories of IT value.

Week 1 Reading Summary-Jack Tong

Paper: Cheng, Zhuo, and Barrie R. Nault. “Industry level supplier-driven IT spillovers.”  Management Science 53, no. 8 (2007): 1199-1216.

This paper is about understanding the impact of upstream IT investment on downstream productivity, to be more specific, the authors examine the spillover effect of supplier-side IT stock capital investment on downstream industry productivity.

The authors list several reasons on the rationales behind the research motivation for this topic. First, supplier’s investment on IT infrastructure could translate into better or new products, service, or more efficient operation for downstream industries. Second, supplier’s improvement on interorganizational systems will provide more accurate demand forecast that benefits downstream companies. Despite the obvious benefits of supplier’s IT investment on inter-firm cooperation and management, little research has been done to scientifically examine the effect due to empirical data scarcity.  The authors develop a model for spillover effect of supplier-side IT investment explicitly accounting for the measurement error of the price deflator of the intermediate input, reflecting the mismeasurement of the quality enhancement provided by upstream IT investment. They find that the supplier-driven IT spillovers are both positive and significant. Moreover, they also indicate that because of the failure to account for the quality improvement, the measured price deflator overestimates the true deflator by approximately 30% at the mean level of IT capital stock.

In terms of relevant literatures and contributions of this paper, the authors list two aspects. The first is that the modeling approach proposed by the authors extend the production-function framework to a new field in understanding spillover effect of IT investment. Second, this paper also builds up findings and research in Supplier-driven IT spillovers.

The authors derive the proposed model from the basic Cobb-Douglas production function. They derive a model of supplier-driven IT spillovers by explicitly accounting for the errors in the measurement of intermediate input prices. The model facilitates authors to infer the magnitude of measurement error of the intermediate input price deflators from the estimates of the parameters.