Foregrounding the “I” in IS Research : A Plea for Research on Computer-mediated Human Information Behaviour


Hemmer, Erik ; Heinzl, Armin ; Leidner, Dorothy


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URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/35892
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-358925
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2014
The title of a journal, publication series: Working Paper Series in Information Systems
Volume: 14-01
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL, Organisation u. Wirtschaftsinformatik I (Heinzl)
Subject: 650 Management
Abstract: Starting in the mid of the 20th century, the emergence of contemporary information technologies has dramatically changed the way information is disseminated and absorbed in organizational and private contexts. Recent advances in information technology make information ubiquitously available with the help of novel hardware and software, like mobile devices, corporate social networks or microblogging services. They enable organizational actors and private users to access information from multiple sources across a multitude of different computer-based channels. However, today’s abundance of information does not only result in higher organizational productivity and an enrichment of its recipients’ lives in general. It also introduces new challenges as the mental information processing capabilities of human IS users improve not at the same speed as hardware and software technologies do, being constrained by cognitive limitations and evolutionary-shaped behavioural patterns guiding the absorption and use of information. Hence, it appears to be paramount to consider the aforementioned limitations as one important facet of human information behaviour with respect to a more human-centric use and design of information systems. Faster and more intelligent data processing capabilities, which recently have often been expressed with the term "big data", does not automatically lead to a better understanding of mental information processing capabilities of humans. Thus, we propose to focus on the processes and states that occur when humans process information in their brain as well. The entity “information” is a constituent of the Information Systems discipline, thus underlining the field’s focus on the development and use of technologies that support humans in gathering and processing information that are required in various business and private contexts. Unfortunately, however, the analysis and explanation of the relationship between human technology users and the entity information has never been the discipline’s core research in3 terest. In fact, research on the behaviour of human beings when interacting with information in computer-based contexts is largely fragmented and frequently generates conflicting results. Consequently, the goal of this paper is twofold. First, it reviews existing research with respect to information or information related behaviours. Second, based on the findings of the review, it intend to demonstrate how the research on computer-mediated information behaviours could significantly enrich IS research. Thus, we provide a profound and structured overview of extant research on the relationship between human beings and the entity information in the IS domain. Then, the article aims at creating intertextual coherence by harmonizing fragmented pieces of research as well as to identify fundamental research gaps that motivate promising future research trajectories. The latter will be exemplified with the yet under-researched phenomena of channel-dependent information seeking, information stopping, and information avoidance behaviour. Toward this end, the IS literature on information behaviours is analyzed using a conceptual framework developed based upon a synthesis and extenbsion of previous work on human information behaviour. Where appropriate, articles from non-IS journals are integrated into the analysis to complement and extend the findings. The result is a review article centred around organizing our existing knowledge of human behaviour in relation to the entity information in computer-based contexts with the overarching goal of advancing theory development.

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Hemmer, Erik ; Heinzl, Armin ; Leidner, Dorothy (2014) Foregrounding the “I” in IS Research : A Plea for Research on Computer-mediated Human Information Behaviour. Open Access Working Paper Series in Information Systems Mannheim 14-01 [Working paper]
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