DESI SEMINAR ON ZOOM
Information systems (IS) use, the dominant theoretical paradigm for explaining how users apply IS artifacts toward goal attainment, gives primacy to human agency in the user–IS artifact relationship. Models and theorizing in the IS use research stream tend to treat the IS artifact as a passive tool; lacking in the ability to initiate action and accept rights and responsibilities for achieving optimal outcomes under uncertainty. We argue that a new generation of “agentic” IS artifacts requires revisiting the human agency primacy assumption. Agentic IS artifacts are no longer passive tools waiting to be used, are no longer always subordinate to the human agent, and can now assume responsibility for tasks with ambiguous requirements and for seeking optimal outcomes under uncertainty. To move our theorizing forward, we introduce delegation, based on agent interaction theories, as a foundational and powerful lens through which to understand and explain the human– agentic IS artifact relationship. While delegation has always been central to human–IS artifact interactions, it has yet to be explicitly recognized in IS use theorizing. We explicitly theorize IS delegation by developing an IS delegation theoretical framework. This framework provides a scaffolding which can guide future IS delegation theorizing and focuses on the human–agentic IS artifact dyad as the elemental unit of analysis. The framework specifically reveals the importance of agent attributes relevant to delegation (endowments, preferences, and roles) as well as foundational mechanisms of delegation (appraisal, distribution, and coordination). Guidelines are proposed to demonstrate how this theoretical framework can be applied toward generation of testable models. We conclude by outlining a roadmap for mobilizing future research.
Likoebe M. Maruping is Professor of Computer Information Systems and a member of the Center for Digital Innovation (CDI) in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. He teaches an MBA course on digital platform business models. His research is primarily focused on collaboration and innovation in small- and large-scale collectives such as teams, communities, and crowds. His interests in this area pertain to the enabling role of digital collaboration platforms, the mechanisms underlying the collaboration process, and the leadership and governance of collaborative efforts in organizational and open environments. His research on these phenomena has been published in premier information systems, organizational behavior, and psychology journals including MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Likoebe currently serves as a Senior Editor for MIS Quarterly and has previously served as an Associate Editor for Information Systems Research and MIS Quarterly and as a Senior Editor for Journal of the Association for Information Systems. He is a recipient of the MIS Quarterly “Reviewer of the Year” and “Outstanding Associate Editor of the Year” awards and Information Systems Research “Best Associate Editor” award.