Arun Rai is Regents' Professor at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University and holds the J. Mack Robinson Chair of IT-Enabled Process Innovation and Supply Chains and the Harkins Chair of Information Systems.. He has also held visiting appointments at universities in Australia, Germany, France, Hong Kong, and Slovenia. Aruns' expertise is in IT-enabled innovation and business value, and IT-enabled governance of inter-organizational relationships. He co-founded the Robinson College of Business Center for Process Innovation, an interdisciplinary research center that also promotes industry-university partnerships on research. He was appointed Regents' Professor in 2006 by the Board of Regents' of the University System of Georgia for outstanding contributions in research, teaching and service, and has received J. Mack Robinson College of Business Faculty Recognition Awards for both Outstanding Teaching and Distinguished Contributions in Research. He was named a Fellow of the Association for Information Systems in 2010 for outstanding contributions in research, teaching and service to the Information Systems discipline and received the INFORMS Information Systems Society (ISS) Distinguished Fellow Award in 2014 for outstanding intellectual contributions to the Information Systems discipline.
Arun has published 100+ articles in leading scholarly journals in Information Systems (e.g., Management Science, MIS Quarterly and Information Systems Research), Operations Management (e.g., Journal of Operations Management ), and Healthcare (e.g., Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association ), as well as in leading practitioner journals (e.g., Communications of the ACM, IEEE Computer and MIS Quarterly Executive). He is ranked among the top scholars for publications in the Information Systems discipline's premier journals.
Arun is the Editor-in-Chief for the MIS Quarterly. He has served, or serves, as Senior Editor for Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, and Journal of Strategic Information Systems and as Associate Editor for several journals (e.g., Journal of Management Information Systems, Management Science, Decision Sciences, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly and Journal of the Association for Information Systems ). He also co-guest edited a Special Issue of Information Systems Research on the Digitally Enabled Extended Enterprise.... Biography and CV
- The MIS Quarterly Trifecta: Impact, Range, Speed
- Synergies Between Big Data and Theory
- Writing a Virtuous Review
Recent Selected Publication
- Venkatesh, V., Rai, A., Sykes, T., and Aljafari, R., Combatting Infant Mortality in Rural India: Evidence From a Field Study of e-Health Kiosk Implementations, MIS Quarterly, June 2016, 40(2), pp. 353-380.
Combating Infant Mortality in Rural India: Evidence from a Field Study of eHealth Kiosk Implementations
The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals listed high infant mortality rates as a major problem in developing countries, especially in rural areas. Given their powerful information dissemination capabilities, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been suggested as interventions to build infant care awareness and modify healthcare behaviors. We examine how the use of one ICT intervention—eHealth kiosks disseminating authenticated and accessible medical information—can alleviate the problem of high infant mortality in rural India. We investigate how mothers’ social networks affect th eir use of eHealth kiosks, specifically in seeking professional medical care for their infants and, ultimately, the effect on infant mortality . Drawing on the social epidemiology and the social network literatures, we focus on advice and hindrance from both strong and weak ties as the conduit of social influence on mothers’ health-related behaviors for the care of their infants. Over a period of 7 years, we studied 4,620 infants across 10 villages where the eHealth kiosks were implemented along with support resources for proxy use. The results revealed that (1) eHealth kiosk use promotes seeking professional medical care and reduces infant mortality, (2) mothers are especially vulnerable to hindrance from both strong and weak ties as they choose to maintain the status quo of traditional infant healthcare practices (e.g., reliance on untrained personnel, superstitions, fatalism) in villages, and (3) advice from both strong and weak ties offers the potential to break down misplaced beliefs about infant healthcare practices and to develop literacy on seeking professional medical care. In contrast, in a comparative group of 10 neighboring villages, the reduction in infant mortality was not as pronounced and the effect of professional medical care in reducing infant mortality was lower. Our findings suggest that an ICT intervention can effectively address one of society’s most important problems—infant mortality—even in parts of the world with limited resources and deep suspicion of technology and change. Overall, we believe such an ICT intervention will complement other investments being made including the facilitation of use (proxy use) and provision of professional medical facilities to reduce infant mortality.
- Rai, A., Arikan, I., Pye, J. and Tiwana, A., Fit and Misfit of Plural Sourcing Strategies and IT-enabled Process Integration Capabilities: Consequences for Firm Performance in the U.S. Electric Utility Industry, MIS Quarterly, December 2015, pp. 865-885.
Fit and Misfit of Plural Sourcing Strategies and IT-Enabled Process Integration Capabilities: Consequences of Firm Performance in the U.S. Electric Utility Industry
Recent work has shown that a firm’s plural sourcing strategy, which determines how much it chooses to make versus how much it chooses to buy, requires consideration of the complementarities and constraints that affect the differential advantages of making and buying. Elaborating on this perspective, we theorize how (mis)fit between a firm’s plural sourcing strategy of simultaneously making and buying and its development of information technology (IT) enabled interfirm and intrafirm process integration capabilities influences firm performance in deregulated markets. We position our theory development and empirical tests in the context of the power-generation segment of the U.S. electric utility industry (EUI), an asset-intensive industry that has been deregulated to promote the separation of key value chain activities (i.e., generation, transmission, and distribution) and the development of wholesale energy markets. We draw on the transaction cost economics, coordination costs, and IT capabilities perspectives to theorize that a firm achieves fit (realizing performance benefits) by increasing market sourcing intensity (MSI)—or, how much it buys relative to how much it makes— and developing IT-enabled interfirm process integration capability for external coordination with the market, or misfit (realizing performance penalties) by increasing MSI and developing IT-enabled intrafirm process integration capability for coordinating internal production. We collated data from archival sources for 342 utility firms in the power-generation segment to construct a panel dataset for the period 1994–2004 on (1) firms’ MSI from wholesale electricity markets, (2) firms’ IT investment decisions to develop interfirm and intrafirm process integration capabilities, (3) measures of firm performance, and (4) several control variables related to exogenous shocks (i.e., regulatory change, oil crisis), region of operation, and firm-level factors. Our results suggest that fit between MSI and the development of IT-enabled interfirm process integration capability improves firm profitability, assessed by return on assets, and misfit between MSI and the development of IT-enabled intrafirm process integration capability extracts penalties in firm profitability. We also find 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. We discuss the implications of our findings for the development of IT capabilities to accompany a firm’s plural sourcing strategy and the literature on IT business value.
- Im, G. and Rai, A., IT-Enabled Coordination for Ambidextrous Interorganizational Relationships, Information Systems Research, 2014, 25(1), 72-92.
IT-Enabled Coordination for Ambidextrous Interorganizational Relationships
Contextual ambidexterity of an interorganizational relationship (IOR) is the ability of its management system to align partners' activities and resources for short-term goals and adapt partners' cognitions and actions for long-term viability. It is an alternative to structural ambidexterity in which separate units of the IOR pursue short- and long-term goals. We theorize that when utilized to coordinate the IOR, information technology (IT)-enabled operations and sensemaking, along with interdependent decision making, promote the IOR's contextual ambidexterity. We test our hypotheses on both sides of a customer-vendor relationship using data collected from (1) the account executives of one of the world's largest supply chain vendors (n = 76) and (2) its customers (n = 238). We find commonalities and differences in the influence coordination mechanisms have on contextual ambidexterity from the vendor's and the customer's perspectives. For both customers and vendors, contextual ambidexterity improves the quality and performance of the relationship, and decision interdependence promotes contextual ambidexterity. For customers, using operations support systems (OSSs) and interpretation support systems (ISSs) enhances contextual ambidexterity. For vendors, the impact of both OSS use and ISS use on contextual ambidexterity depends on the duration of the relationship. Our study shows that IT-enabled operations and sensemaking are key enablers of IOR ambidexterity and that vendors should combine these IT capabilities with relationship-specific knowledge that accumulates with relationship duration.
- Rai, A., and Tang, X., IT-enabled Business Models: A Conceptual Framework and A Coevolution Perspective for Future Research, Information Systems Research, 2014. 25(1), 1-14. Lead Article
Information Technology-Enabled Business Models: A Conceptual Framework and a Coevolution Perspective for Future Research
There is growing recognition that firms' information technology (IT)-enabled business models (i.e., how interfirm transactions with suppliers, customers, and partners are structured and executed) are a distinctive source of value creation and appropriation. However, the concept of business models' (BMs) “IT enablement” remains coarse in the information systems and strategic management literatures. Our objectives are to introduce a framework to elaborate the concept of IT-enabled BMs and to identify areas for future research that will enhance our understanding of the subject. We introduce the idea that two business-to-business (B2B) IT capabilities—dyadic IT customization and network IT standardization—are the mediating execution mechanisms between the strategic intent of interfirm collaboration and the (re)configuration of BMs to both create and appropriate value. We develop the logic that B2B IT capabilities for BM (re)configuration operate at two levels—IT customization at the dyadic relationship level and IT standardization at the interfirm network level—that together provide the complementary IT capabilities for firms to exchange content, govern relationships, and structure interconnections between products and processes with a diverse set of customers, suppliers, and partners. We discuss how these two complementary B2B IT capabilities are pivotal for firms to pursue different sources of value creation and appropriation. We identify how a firm's governance choices to engage in interfirm collaboration and its interfirm networks coevolve with its B2B IT capabilities as fruitful areas for future research.
- Becker, J-M., Rai, A., Voleckner, F., and Ringle, C., Discovering Unobserved Heterogeneity in Structural Equation Models, MIS Quarterly, September 2013, 37(3), 665-694.
Discovering Unobserved Heterogeneity in Structural Equation Models to Avert Validity Threats
A large proportion of information systems research is concerned with developing and testing models pertaining to complex cognition, behaviors, and outcomes of individuals, teams, organizations, and other social systems that are involved in the development, implementation, and utilization of information technology. Given the complexity of these social and behavioral phenomena, heterogeneity is likely to exist in the samples used in IS studies. While researchers now routinely address observed heterogeneity by introducing moderators, a priori groupings, and contextual factors in their research models, they have not examined how unobserved heterogeneity may affect their findings. We describe why unobserved heterogeneity threatens different types of validity and use simulations to demonstrate that unobserved heterogeneity biases parameter estimates, thereby leading to Type I and Type II errors. We also review different methods that can be used to uncover unobserved heterogeneity in structural equation models. While methods to uncover unobserved heterogeneity in covariance-based structural equation models (CB-SEM) are relatively advanced, the methods for partial least squares (PLS) path models are limited and have relied on an extension of mixture regression—finite mixture partial least squares (FIMIX-PLS) and distance measure-based methods—that have mismatches with some characteristics of PLS path modeling. We propose a new method—prediction-oriented segmentation (PLS-POS)—to overcome the limitations of FIMIX-PLS and other distance measure-based methods and conduct extensive simulations to evaluate the ability of PLS-POS and FIMIX-PLS to discover unobserved heterogeneity in both structural and measurement models. Our results show that both PLS-POS and FIMIX-PLS perform well in discovering unobserved heterogeneity in structural paths when the measures are reflective and that PLS-POS also performs well in discovering unobserved heterogeneity in formative measures. We propose an unobserved heterogeneity discovery (UHD) process that researchers can apply to (1) avert validity threats by uncovering unobserved heterogeneity and (2) elaborate on theory by turning unobserved heterogeneity into observed heterogeneity, thereby expanding theory through the integration of new moderator or contextual variables.
- Hsieh, Po-An J.J., Rai, A., Petter, S.C., and Zhang, Ting, Impact of User Satisfaction with Mandated CRM Use on Employee Service Quality, MIS Quarterly, 2012, 36 (4), 1065-1080.
Impact of User Satisfaction with Mandated CRM Use on Employee Service Quality
An increasing number of organizations are now implementing customer relationship management (CRM)systems to support front-line employees’ service tasks. With the belief that CRM can enhance employees’service quality, management often mandates employees to use the implemented CRM. However, challengesemerge if/when employees are dissatisfied with using the system. To understand the role of front-line employeeusers’ satisfaction with their mandated use of CRM in determining their service quality, we conducted a fieldstudy in one of the largest telecommunications service organizations in China and gathered time-lagged datafrom self-reported employee surveys, as well as from the firm’s archival data sources. Our results suggest thatemployees’ overall user satisfaction (UserSat) with their mandated use of CRM has a positive impact onemployee service quality (ESQ) above and beyond the expected positive impacts that job dedication (JD) andembodied service knowledge (ESK) have on ESQ. Interestingly, the positive effect of UserSat on ESQ iscomparable to the positive effects of JD and ESK, respectively, on ESQ. Importantly, UserSat and ESK havea substitutive effect on ESQ, suggesting that the impact of UserSat on ESQ is stronger/weaker for employeeswith lower/higher levels of ESK. Finally, ESQ predicts customer satisfaction with customer service employees(CSWCSE); ESQ also fully mediates the impacts of UserSat and ESK, and partially mediates the impact of JD,on CSWCSE. The results of this study emphasize the importance of user satisfaction in determining employees’task outcomes when use of an information system is mandated.
- Rai, A., Pavlou, P., Im, G., and Du. S., Inter-firm IT Capabilities and Communications for Co-Creating Relational Value: Evidence from the Logistics Industry, MIS Quarterly, 2012, 36(1), 233-262.
Inter-firm IT Capabilities and Communications for Co-Creating Relational Value: Evidence from the Logistics Industry
This study seeks to identify the means by which information technology helps cocreate relational value in thecontext of interfirm relationships in the logistics industry—a large and information-intensive industry. Weidentify a set of IT functionalities—single-location shipping, multilocation shipping, supply chain visibility, andfinancial settlement—that can be used to manage the flows of physical goods, information, and finances acrosslocations in interfirm logistics processes. Progressively more advanced sets of IT functionalities, when imple-mented and used in the interfirm relationship to execute logistics processes, are proposed to form four distinctIT capability profiles of increased sophistication. Interfirm IT capability profiles of higher sophistication areproposed to help cocreate greater relational value by facilitating the flows of physical goods, information, andfinances across locations in the interfirm logistics process. Besides their direct role in helping cocreate rela-tional value, these interfirm IT capability profiles are proposed to further enhance relational value cocreationwhen complemented by interfirm communications for business development and IT development.Our empirical study was situated in one of the world’s largest logistics suppliers and over 2,000 of its interfirmrelationships with buyers across industries. Integrated data from four archival sources on the IT functionalitiesimplemented and used in interfirm logistics relationships, interfirm communications, relational value (share ofwallet and loyalty), and multiple control variables were collected. The results show that the proposed interfirmIT capability profiles and interfirm communications have both a direct and an interaction effect on relationalvalue. Implications for cocreating relational value in interfirm relationships with the aid of IT are discussed.
- Hsieh, Po-An J.J, Rai, A., and Xu, S., Extracting Business Value from IT: A Sensemaking Perspective of Post-Adoptive Use, Management Science, November 2011, 57 (11), 2018- 2039.
Extracting Business Value from IT: A Sensemaking Perspective of Post-Adoptive Use.
How can firms extract value from already-implemented information technologies (IT) that support the work processes of employees? One approach is to stimulate employees to engage in post-adoptive extended use, i.e., to learn and apply more of the available functions of the implemented technologies to support their work. Such learning behavior of extending functions in use is ingrained in a process by which users make sense of the technologies in the context of their work system. This study draws on sensemaking theory to develop a model to understand the antecedents, contingencies, and consequences of customer service employees' extended use of customer relationship management (CRM) technologies. The model is tested using multisource longitudinal data collected through a field study of one of the world's largest telecommunications service providers. Our results suggest that employees engage in post-adoptive sensemaking at two levels: technology and work system. We found that sensemaking at both of these levels impacts the extended use of CRM technologies. Employees' sensemaking at the technology level is influenced by employees' assessment of technology quality, whereas employees' sensemaking at the work system level is influenced by customers' assessment of service quality. Moreover, in the case of low technology quality and low service quality, specific mechanisms for employee feedback should be conceptualized and aligned at two levels: through employee participation at the technology level and through work system coordination at the work system level. Such alignment can mitigate the undesirable effect of low technology quality and low service quality, thereby facilitating extended use. Importantly, we found that extended use amplifies employees' service capacity, leading to better objective performance. Put together, our findings highlight the critical role of employees' sensemaking about the implemented technologies in promoting their extended use of IT and improving their work performance.
- Hsieh, Po-An J.J., Rai, A., and Keil, M., Addressing Digital Inequality through Government Initiatives: Forms of Capital that Affect ICT Utilization, Information Systems Research, Vol. 22, No. 2, June 2011, pp. 233-253. Best Published Paper in the Information Systems Discipline for 2011, Awarded by the Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division of the Academy of Management.
Addressing Digital Inequality for the Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Through Government Initiatives: Forms of Capital That Affect ICT Utilization.
Digital inequality, or unequal access to and use of information and communication technologies (ICT), is a severe problem preventing the socioeconomically disadvantaged (SED) from participating in a digital society. To understand the critical resources that contribute to digital inequality and inform public policy for stimulating initial and continued ICT usage by the SED, we drew on capital theories and conducted a field study to investigate: (1) the forms of capital for using ICT and how they differ across potential adopters who are SED and socioeconomically advantaged (SEA); (2) how these forms of capitals are relatively impacted for the SEA and the SED through public policy for ICT access; and (3) how each form of capital influences the SED's intentions to use initially and to continue to use ICT. The context for our study involved a city in the southeastern United States that offered its citizens free ICT access for Internet connectivity. Our results show that SED potential adopters exhibited lower cultural capital but higher social capital relative to the SEA. Moreover, the SED who participated in the city's initiative realized greater positive gains in cultural capital, social capital, and habitus than the SEA. In addition, we find that the SED's initial intention to use ICT was influenced by intrinsic motivation for habitus, self-efficacy for cultural capital, and important referents' expectations and support from acquaintances for social capital. Cultural capital and social cultural capital also complemented each other in driving the SED's initial use intention. The SED's continued use intention was affected by both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for habitus and both knowledge and self-efficacy for cultural capital but was not affected by social capital. We also make several recommendations for future research on digital inequality and ICT acceptance to extend and apply the proposed capital framework.