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--- Spring 2015 ---
1/23 reserved for job talk
1/30 reserved for job talk
2/6 reserved for job talk
2/13 open
2/20 Brent Hecht
UMN Computer Science
Title: New Challenges in Positioning: Using Social Media, Semantic Analysis, and Physical Sensors to Figure Out Where the Heck Things Are

Abstract: Positioning - the act of locating things on the surface of the Earth - has been an important scientific challenge for millennia. We are fortunate to live in a time of rapid advances in positioning, and these advances have enabled a revolution in location-aware technologies. However, this revolution has also generated a demand for even better positioning technologies that work in new contexts and that can position new types of entities. In this talk, I will present several research projects that each addresses a new challenge in the multifaceted and interdisciplinary problem space that is positioning. These projects include (1) helping smartphones know where they are when they are traveling in subway networks, (2) understanding and processing the surprisingly noisy entries in user profile location fields, and (3) automatically discovering the geography of arbitrary concepts and entities. I will also discuss new frontiers in positioning, including positioning in non-geographic reference systems such as the human body and mapping the affordances of space.
Features work from the following papers:

2/27 Idea Lab
3/6 Ching Ren
3/13 No workshop (Utah BI Conference)
3/20 No workshop (Spring break)
3/27 Carol McGuire Influence of Organizational Identity on IT Outsourcing Success
4/3 Natalia Levina
NYU Stern
Understanding Organizational Encounters with Crowdsourcing for Innovation: An Epistemic Stance Perspective

In this paper, we propose a new theoretical lens, which we refer to as epistemic stance, to understand how firms encounter and respond to new possibilities to organize innovation. Based on an in-depth interpretive study of two innovation-consulting firms, we investigate their encounters with crowdsourcing for innovation — a new complex IT-enabled innovation, shaped by multiple, often ambiguous, organizing visions. Our findings highlight that significant differences in the ways these two firms encountered crowdsourcing for innovation lie in each firm’s enacted and distinctive beliefs about the nature of knowledge and pursuit of novelty. In the light of such enacted beliefs, each firm explored whether and how the possibilities offered by crowdsourcing might benefit the organization and yield novel outcomes. Inspired by recent developments in philosophy of science, we propose the concept of epistemic stance to interpret our findings. Taking epistemic stance in an organization entails enacting commitment to specific onto-epistemological beliefs while pursuing novelty. We propose that when organizations encounter equivocal and multi-faceted organizational innovations, their epistemic stance plays a crucial role in shaping their attitude to and experimentation with the innovation at hand. Our research contributes to the literature on innovation diffusion and adoption by explaining how a particular cultural dimension – epistemic stance – significantly shapes how organizations respond to complex IT innovations. We also add an important interpretive dimension to the literature on crowdsourcing for innovation that until now has focused on objectivist accounts of crowdsourcing adoption blackboxing the cultural universe of organizations.

4/10 Elena Karahanna
University of Georgia
The Compensatory Interaction between User Capabilities and Technology Capabilities in Influencing Task Performance: An Empirical Assessment in Telemedicine Consultations
4/17 Anandhi Bharadwaj
Emory University, Goizueta
IT Investment Types and Shareholder Investment Horizons

A significant body of work has examined the organizational performance impacts of information technology (IT) investments. Market based measures have been particularly useful to understand how a firm’s shareholders react and respond to overall IT investments. Although these studies have confirmed the value relevance of IT investments to shareholders they are all based on analyses of the total financial market returns to the overall levels of IT investments. To the best of our knowledge, none have taken into account two critical factors that potentially impact how shareholders value IT investments. First, IT investments are not monolithic and can differ greatly in objectives, scope and timing of benefits. Second, the investor community is not homogeneous and can differ in their preference for different types of IT investments based on the goals, risks, and investment time horizon of these investments. In this paper, we close these two critical gaps in the IT and business value literature, by examining the financial impact of a firm’s short and long term IT investments from a contingency perspective that focuses on the heterogeneity of a firm’s investor community. We build our dataset based on Information Week survey data (1999-2006) and on complementary archival data from COMPUSTAT. The results strongly indicate the possibility of significantly differential returns to the two types of IT expenditures based on the nature of the investors timing horizon.

4/24 Youngjin Yoo
Temple University
Developing a New Form of Computational Social Sciences: Organizational Genetics To Study Digital Innovation

Computational Social Science refers to a set of methodologies and theories that attempt to explain human and organizational behaviors using large-scale data sets of observed behaviors. Much of the work in this area has successfully identified important structural elements that define, constrain, and enable how these large-scale behaviors emerge (such as power law distributions, preferential attachment, and degrees of separation in networks). However, we are seeing the emergence of a new class of digitalized products and services that do not adhere to these structural elements, where their evolution is not as yet well-understood, such as: app ecosystems, mash-ups of digital contents, derivative innovations in open source communities. These digital artifacts frequently evolve beyond the original intent of the designers. Such digital artifacts continue to recombine with other digital artifacts, forming complex sociomaterial systems that are constantly evolving. They are characterized by the absence of central governing bodies and coherent design hierarchy that determine the evolutionary path of these artifacts.
As such digital innovations are becoming increasingly frequent, I embarked first on several qualitative studies to understand theoretically their non-linear dynamic nature of their evolutions. From those studies, I, together with colleagues, developed a theory of wakes of digital innovation and a theory of layered modularity. The theory of wakes of digital innovation suggests that digital innovations do not simply get diffused unchanged, as the traditional diffusion of innovation theory suggests. Instead, they continually mutates as they collide and recombine with other digital innovations, forming wakes-like shape of generative diffusion patterns. The theory of layered modularity suggests that in digital ecosystem, systems are not necessarily designed according to a priori design rules that define the modular architecture as the traditional theory of modularity suggests. Instead, complex digital systems emerge through on-going interactions among heterogeneous and independent individual components. Such layered modular systems are characterized by highly generative and unbounded evolutionary pattern.
Quantitatively testing these theories in large datasets has proven to be quite challenging, requiring new collaborations with colleagues in computational biology and graph theoretic computer science to establish the building blocks to study the non-linear evolutionary patterns of digital innovation. This has led to the creation of new form of computational social science that I refer to as organizational genetics ( and, that is gaining ground in organizational design, IS, and computational biology. In this talk, I briefly explain: the theory of wakes of digital innovation, the layered modularity, and the building blocks that have taken 5 years of NSF-funded support to develop, and early results of some initial theory testing. I will conclude with a recently received NSF grant to expand organizational genetics methods and theory testing with an aim to build a predictive analytical model based on the work that we have done so far. I will conclude the talk with theoretical and practical implications on digital innovations in self-organizing ecosystems.

5/1 Il-Horn Hann
University of Maryland
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