Emergent Impacts of IT
Our research also investigates the broader impacts of information technology (IT) to theorize about the emergent impacts IT may have on firm and market structure.
Ultimately, information technologies are general purpose technologies (GPTs) but how hardware, software, and networks are brought together ultimately influences the various economic costs (e.g., search costs, transaction costs, coordination costs, menu costs, contracting costs, etc.) that can have a structural impact on firms and markets. For example, one of our early work attempted to theorize about the strategic role of information technology in influencing firm strategy and competitiveness.
Other work in this stream include research that investigates specific instantiations of IT impacts – e.g., denser social networks as a result of online social networking, reduced search costs due to online marketplaces, reduced production and inventory costs due to the digital nature of information goods, and reduced transaction costs in outsourcing relationships. For example, we have conducted research projects that investigated the changing role of online word-of-mouth (WOM) on the market for consumer goods [C47, W19], the role of reduced search costs on sales distribution across different types of goods (e.g., experience vs. search goods), how technology may influence the production of information goods in terms of quantity and quality of contents, how reduced transaction costs influences the risk-return relationship in outsourcing initiatives, and how IT value accruing from IT investments from one industry is spilled over and appropriated by other industries in the supply chain.