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CSWIM 2011 Keynote 1

Robert J. Kauffman is currently a Visiting Professor IS and Strategy at Singapore Management University’s School of Information Systems, and Lee Kong Chian School of Business. He also is Associate Director of the Living Analytics Research Center, which is being jointly developed between SMU and Carnegie Mellon University. He also is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow associated with the Glassmeyer-McNamee Center for Digital Strategies at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College. He previously served as the W.P. Carey Chair in IS at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, and as a Professor and Chair of Information and Decision Science, and Center Director of the MIS Research Center at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. He has also been a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Rochester, a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and an Assistant and Associate Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He worked in international banking and finance on Wall Street in New York City, and is a past graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder (B.A.), Cornell University (M.A.) and Carnegie Mellon University (M.S., Ph.D.). His research focuses on senior management issues that span the economics of IS, competitive strategy and technology, IT value, strategic pricing and consumer behavior, e-commerce, risk management, and supply chain management. He blends theory development and modeling with empirical methods and data collection in a variety of industry settings, including air travel, financial services, telecommunications, hospitality, and e-commerce. He has published more than 100 articles in refereed journals, and has won numerous awards for his innovative research, academic service, and graduate student advising. He has served in a variety of editorial positions and conference leadership roles, and will co-chair the ICIS Doctoral Consortium in Shanghai in 2011, and the International Conference on Electronic Commerce in Singapore in 2012. His current research papers are forthcoming in 2011 and 2012 at the Review of Economics and Statistics, Information Systems Research, the Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, the Journal of Information Systems, Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, and Information Technology and Management.

Who Will ‘Bell the Cat’? IT, Channel Conflicts, Transparency and the Theory of Strategic Decommoditization

The Internet has been described as the ultimate channel for one-on-one customization and consumer-focused hyperdifferentiation, suggesting that innovative sellers and suppliers should be able to reap high profits. Senior managers of firms in the e-business marketplace are increasingly concerned that the digital intermediaries that sell their products and services have become too powerful though. One development is that sellers and suppliers are paying ever-higher tolls to aggressive intermediaries. These middlemen are “putting the squeeze” on supplier profits. Another is that firms are losing ownership of their customers to highly successful intermediaries. A third is that the firms are less able to project the benefits of their investments in product and service innovation and differentiation. Instead, the intermediaries are “commoditizing” their products. Commoditization occurs when the channel through which a supplier sells reduces its capability to differentiate its products and services. We have seen this, for example, in the air travel, hospitality, and IT services industry in the presence of online travel agencies (e.g., Orbitz, Expedia) and IT services e-markets. The digital intermediaries have forced the competition to emphasize prices for relatively standard product and service bundles – something that sellers and suppliers believe weakens their ability to customize their offerings, serve their customers well by providing product feature transparency, and achieve high profitability. In this presentation, I will discuss recent developments in several industries in which these kinds of channel conflicts have been especially severe, and will how firms are repositioning themselves to fight back against the intermediaries. To do this, I will leverage an analogy from a medieval European story called “The Bell and the Cat” in order to explain why the new “theory of strategic decommoditization” is useful to interpret and predict what we see happening IT and e-business world around us.



CSWIM 2011 Keynote 2

Varghese S Jacob

Varghese S. Jacob is Senior Associate Dean and Ashbel Smith Professor of Management Science and Information Systems in the School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).

Prior to joining UTD he was Associate Professor of Management Information Systems and Director of the Center for Information Technologies in Management in the College of Business at The Ohio State University.

He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Management, majoring in Management Information Systems, from Purdue University. His research interests are in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Data Quality, Decision Support Systems, and Electronic Commerce.

His publications include articles in Management Science, Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, European Journal of Operational Research, Psychometrika, Group Decision and Negotiation and International Journal of Man-Machine Studies.

He is co-editor-in chief of the journal Information Technology and Management and serves as an Associate Editor for Decision Support Systems. He also serves on the editorial board of Information Systems Frontiers: A Journal of Research and Innovation.

He is a member of The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), IEEE Computer Society, Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). He has served as the Chair of the INFORMS Information Systems Society.


MIS research over the Years – Rolling Stone or Leading Edge

To the outsider, MIS research may seem somewhat akin to a rolling stone that gathers no moss, i.e. there may be a perception that there is no depth to the research and the work seems fleeting.  Of course we would argue that information technology keeps changing at a rapid pace and this naturally would influence the work we do.   The talk seeks to answer the question whether we can come up with a context or framework in which to consider MIS research.  In this context, I believe, MIS research can be viewed as leading edge as opposed to the flavor of the month.




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