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Hankamer Faculty Earn Recognition and Honors

Dorothy Leidner, director of the Information Systems PhD Program, director of the Center for Information Systems Research and Ferguson Professor of Information Systems, earned the prestigious honor of being named an AIS (Association for Information Systems) Fellow at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) held in Shanghai, China, December 2011. The AIS Fellow award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Information Systems discipline in terms of research, teaching and service on regional, national and global levels. Along with exhibiting high levels of professional and personal integrity, AIS Fellows should be a role model and an inspiration to colleagues and students within the discipline as well as earn respect from interested individuals outside the discipline. The award of AIS Fellow was established in 1999 by the Council of the AIS and the Executive Committee of the ICIS. Founded in 1994, AIS is an international professional society of 4,000 members from 90 countries and a key player in the advancement of the IS academic community.

Four Hankamer faculty members received awards for outstanding research. Recipients of the prestigious awards were chosen through a competitive application process. The awards provide funding for the faculty members to continue research in their field of study. Christopher Blocker, assistant professor of Marketing, and Cindy Riemenschneider, associate professor of Information Systems, are the first to receive the Nitsche Award, which is funded by Robert and Robin Nitsche and recognizes outstanding faculty research and involvement. Van Pham, associate professor of Economics, and Cindy Wu, associate professor of Management, received the McBride Award, which is given through the McBride Center for International Business. This is the first year the award has been offered, and recipients are granted a period of paid leave to focus their efforts on international research.

Hankamer's First PhD Graduate Explores Impacts of IS Strategy in Dissertation

Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business will confer its first PhD in Information Systems (IS) on candidate Janice Lo during formal commencement in May. Lo successfully defended her dissertation, "A Theory of Information Systems Strategy: Antecedents and Performance Impacts through the Development of Dynamic Capabilities," on Feb. 2, 2012.

Lo's dissertation focuses on assessing the impact of an organization's IS strategy by proposing and testing a theory of IS strategy that seeks to link IS strategy to IS's contribution to firm performance. Dorothy Leidner, director of the Information Systems PhD Program, served as Lo's dissertation chair and mentor.

In the dissertation, Lo contends that "strategy itself does not necessarily directly lead to performance gains, but rather it is the IT unit's consistent enactment of the IS strategy that aids the development of certain dynamic capabilities for the business unit, which in turn create gains in efficiency and effectiveness that contribute to the organization's overall performance."

The research is formulated using the power and politics perspective and the dynamic capabilities perspective to build a model that includes antecedents and expected impacts of IS strategy. To test the model, responses were collected from 271 CIOs and results suggest that the IT department's culture and power are significantly associated with the type of IS strategy the department implements. For instance, when department members are highly involved and actively participate in departmental affairs, the department's IS strategy is more likely to be one that is well-defined, rather than ill-defined or altogether undefined. But a culture of involvement does not relate to innovative strategies. Also, a culture where dynamism, creativity and risk taking abound is one in which innovative IS strategies seem to thrive. Furthermore, departments with more power in terms of organizational resource support and CIO expertise are more likely to implement innovative IS strategies.

The study's results also provide interesting insights into the impacts of IS strategy:

-Innovative IS strategies reinforce departments' dynamic capabilities development; undefined IS strategies tend to prove detrimental to capabilities development.

-Implementing conservative IS strategies were found to neither help nor hurt IT departments in terms of their agility development.

-The impact of the IS strategies on performance was indeed found to be mediated through the dynamic capabilities - absorptive capacity and agility - with the IS Innovator strategy leading in the way of performance, followed by the IS Conservative, and lastly the IS Undefined, whose lack of strategy tends to be harmful to performance.

-Post-hoc analysis revealed a fourth possible IS strategy, one that strives for ambidexterity. Ambidextrous firms were found to be associated with the most superior performance, leading to a potential extension of the existing IS strategy typology and a call for future research.

Lo said she is honored to be the first PhD graduate of the Hankamer School of Business and is very thankful for those who have helped her in her academic journey. She has accepted an assistant professor position at HEC Paris.

"It's exciting. Somebody had to be first, and that someone happened to be me," Lo said. "It's an honor to be associated with the University and the department. And I am grateful for those who helped make this a reality-Dr. Leidner and everyone who worked with me along the way and those who served on my committee."

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