Albert L. Lederer
Professor and Chair
Decision and Information Sciences
Rochester, MI 48309 USA
v: (313) 370-4281
f: (313) 370-4275
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; Creation of new ideas, products, or services; Technology transfer
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Story Site (if other than location listed above):
Baltimore, Maryland and Rochester, Michigan
In the 1980s, I taught at the University of Pittsburgh. Rajesh Mirani was a doctoral student in one of my classes there. In 1989, I moved to Oakland University, just north of Detroit,. About a year later, he became a professor at the University of Baltimore.
In 1992 I contacted him via the Internet to ask him to review some articles for me for a special issue of the JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS on the impact of information technology on human resource management. I was co-editor of the special issue. The journal is the flagship periodical of the Association for Management. Via the Internet, we then discussed the possibility of a new joint research. (Rajesh and I had previous co-authored an article in the MIS QUARTERLY based on an earlier study when we were both in Pittsburgh).
Via the Internet, we exchanged abstracts of relevant journal articles, developed a proposal, and then created a survey instrument. We mailed the survey to subjects and began receiving responses. We analyzed the initial responses and exchanged comments about them over the Internet. We have submitted two papers for conference presentation at this time. We are continuing to seek, receive, and analyze more data and will write papers for journal submission later this year.
During this process, Rajesh and I have been in daily contact via the Internet. We have had only about 3 or 4 phone conversations. We haven’t seen each other in person since 1989.
At present, we can work almost as though we are in the same room. I simply open a window (using Microsoft Windows 3.1) with the Internet in background and another window with my word processor in foreground. I then work on a document – often related to this research. When a message from Rajesh comes in, I can switch windows and respond to it. I often use it to modify my document.
One issue about our research may be a little unusual – namely the topic of our research. We are studying the process by which managers assess in advance the benefits of proposals for new computer applications. We are attempting to identify the relative importance of the anticipated benefits of such applications and the extent to which organizations quantified them. We’re also investigating the relationship between their approval and both the benefits and several other managerial issues.
The Internet if facilitating rapid exchange of ideas and creating a log of the exchanges for continued reference. It is permitting us to do a project that we probably would not otherwise be able to do as methodically. As we analyze the data, it will help us come up with new ideas about the nature of the assessment of proposed information technology.