The research papers described below can be downloading directly to your hard disk. You will need a standard reader for Portable Document Format (PDF) which is available free for Macs, PCs, and Unix Systems.
Electronic Communities: Global Village or Cyberbalkans?
KEYWORDS: Information Economy, Computerization of Society, Organizational Structure, Information Flows, Globalization
(working paper, current version 96/09/20)
Information technology can help link geographically separated people and facilitate search for interesting or compatible resources. Although these attributes have the potential to bridge gaps, they also have the potential to fragment communities by leading people to spend more time on special interests while screening out less preferred contact. This paper introduces precise measures of "balkanization" then develops a model of individual knowledge profiles and community affiliation to examine how improved access, search, and screening might fragment interaction. As IT capabilities continue to improve, policy choices we make could put us on more or less attractive paths.
The State of Network Organization: A Survey in Three Frameworks
KEYWORDS: Virtual Corporation, Value-Adding Partnership, Adhocracy, Review and Synthesis
(Journal of Organizational Computing, forthcoming)
This article has two primary goals: to review the literature on network organizations and to interpret explanations for its behaviors in terms of established analytical principles. Tools from computer science, economics, and sociology give three markedly different interpretations of its core attributes but they also settle on a handful of common themes. The proposed benefits are a clarification of what it means for an organization to be network structured, a few insights into its origins, and a suggestion of where the boundaries to some of its different forms might lie.
Higher Education's Information Challenge
KEYWORDS: Higher Education, Information Explosion, Organizational Structure, Specialization, Public Goods, Information Sharing
(Executive Strategies 2(4), 1997)
This article examines university pressures due to expanding information environments and changing information technology. By looking at possible causes for the information explosion and at current incentives, it tries to draw conclusions about increasing competition between colleges, emerging winner-take-all markets, and growing trends toward hoarding private information rather than sharing it as a public good. The essay then proposes a structural modification involving collaborative specialization that might help universities cope with information rich environments.
The Matrix of Change: A Tool for Business Process Reengineering
KEYWORDS: BPR, Change Management, Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
(Sloan Management Review, Winter 1997)
Business process reengineering efforts suffer from low success rates, due in part to a lack of tools for managing the change process. The Matrix of Change can help managers identify critical interactions among processes. In particular, this tool helps managers deal with issues such as how quickly change should proceed, the order in which changes should take place, whether to start at a new site, and whether the proposed systems are stable and coherent. When applied at a medical products manufacturer, the Matrix of Change provided unique and useful guidelines for change management.
Why Not One Big Database? Principles for Data Ownership
KEYWORDS: Information Ownership, Centralization, Decentralization, Distributed Database Systems, Outsourcing, Incentives
(Decision Support Systems, 15(4) Dec. 1995)
Results of this research concern incentive principles which drive information
sharing and affect database value. Many real world centralization and standardization
efforts have failed, typically because departments lacked incentives or
needed greater local autonomy. While intangible factors such as "ownership"
have been described as the key to providing incentives, these soft issues
have largely eluded formal characterization. Using an incomplete contracts
approach from economics, we model the costs and benefits of restructuring
organizational control, including critical intangible factors, by explicitly
considering the role of data "ownership." There are two principal
contributions from the approach taken here. First, it defines mathematically
precise terms for analyzing the incentive costs and benefits of changing
control. Second, this theoretical framework leads to the development of
a concrete model and seven normative principles for improved database management.
These principles may be instrumental to designers in a variety of applications
such as the decision to decentralize or to outsource information technology
and they can be useful in determining the value of standards and translators.
Applications of the proposed theory are also illustrated through case histories.