Research topics




Audience Gatekeeping

Whereas the dissemination of information used to be orchestrated by established institutions and elites, the Internet enables the public - online users - to actively influence discourse as well. We are thus witnessing a democratization of gatekeeping. This democratization is not all positive, however, because online users are more prone to extreme positions and prejudices. Thus, social media platforms can enable and reinforce polarization, propaganda, and fake news. In this context, it is important to examine how audience gatekeeping disseminates information. In particular, audience gatekeeping of visual information can have enormous implications for society. On the one hand, visual content serves to inform and influence other users, for example, to promote social activism. On the other hand, visual elements can and are used to spread propaganda and fake news. Since online users do not have the same responsibility and accountability as certified institutions and are more prone to bias, visual audience gatekeeping can fuel online extremism and have other negative consequences. Therefore, another goal is to investigate how the negative consequences of audience gatekeeping can be reduced or prevented.

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Dark Patterns

Dark patterns refer to manipulative and deceptive techniques within digital technologies. Thereby, the user interfaces of digital technologies are designed so that users perform uninformed choices, compromising their autonomy. Organizations use dark patterns to increase revenue, collect user data, and maximize user attention. Our research focuses on dark patterns' short- and long-term consequences on users. We also investigate how users can protect themselves against dark patterns.

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Digital Platform Ecosystems

With digital platform ecosystems, companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon have revolutionized how we search for information, use phones, socialize, and buy things—and they keep expanding in more and more markets. Digital platform ecosystems comprise a platform owner that implements governance mechanisms to facilitate value creation on a digital platform between the platform owner and an ecosystem of autonomous complementors and consumers The success factors of the dominant digital platforms are their leverage of network effects and their governance of large numbers of third-party complementors. However, the rise of digital platform ecosystems and the resulting “platform economy” that is dominated by a handful of firms has created a set of issues for future research that we address with this research topic, namely (1) how traditional companies can successfully govern digital platform ecosystems; (2) what implications the dominance of a few digital platform owners has for competition, regulators, consumers, and our society as a whole; and (3) how digital platform ecosystems can be of help in non-profit contexts.

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Partners: Manuel Wiesche, Helmut Krcmar, Eric K. Clemons

Hybrid decision making

The market for information and communication technologies that support decisions in businesses and organisations has developed tremendously. Such developments, often labelled Big Data or Business Analytics have raised the attention of management, politics and societies alike. We conduct experiments, using eye tracking technology, to improve our understanding of how information and communication technologies influence human decision making and to contribute to the design of productive and humane decision support. Our research helps companies and organisations to design and sustainably manage the interplay between people and automated systems in the context of the digital transformation connected with Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things and the widespread application of Artificial intelligence.

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Partners: Robert Briggs, Gerhard Schwabe, Gert-Jan de Vreede

Collaboration techniques for Idea Convergence

Organisations often employ small teams or large crowds in order to develop ideas for innovative products and services. These teams or crowds can generate a large number of ideas in a short amount of time which need to be reduced and clarified to prepare for further detailed consideration. Contrary to the wealth of research on electronic brainstorming, we know little about this challenging and time-consuming activity called convergence in the field of Collaboration Engineering and about how information and communication technologies could best be designed to facilitate convergence. We conduct laboratory and field experiments in which we study convergence techniques with the help of our analysis technique and software CoPrA. We also design artefacts that help the design of collaboration software, for example for the classification of ideas and team activities.

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Partners: Gert-Jan de Vreede, Barbara Weber


The phenomenon that professionals are always connected and feel aligned to work, results in a blurring of occupational and private lives putting strain on professionals. Professionals are not able to go "offline" any more and their mobile devices are their permanent companions and the constant link to their work. Within this broader field of ‘connectivity’ we conduct a number of different empirical studies (cross-sectional, process-based) and observations (using smartphone monitoring apps) to investigate consequences of connectivity on the individual, team, organisational and societal level.

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Partners: Lena Waizenegger

Information systems project control

IT projects tend to be complex and face considerable uncertainty. It is thus not surprising that many IT projects do not meet stakeholder expectations, are delayed, or even fail entirely. We investigate the use of control and coordination mechanisms in IT projects teams. In particular, we focus on the enactment of such controls, as the interaction between controller and controllee has significant consequences not only for the overall project success, but also affects socio-emotional outcomes, such as job satisfaction, stress or work engagement. We also investigate the broader effects of digitalization on IS project control.

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Partners: Martin Wiener, Magnus Mähring, Carol Saunders, Alec Cram

Non-Compliant Technologies

Es kommt immer wieder vor, dass MitarbeiterInnen in Unternehmen nicht konforme Technologien verwenden. Die Nutzung nicht-konformer Technologie hat viele Gründe, wie z.B. ungeeignete Informationssysteme, Gruppendruck, und führt oft zu erhöhten Sicherheitsrisiken, zusätzlichen Kosten für Technologie oder verbesserter Rollenausführung. In diesem Rahmen untersuchen wir, aus welchen Gründen die Nutzung nicht-konformer Technologie entsteht und welche Auswirkungen sie hat. Insbesondere untersuchen wir, wie Unternehmen mit nicht-konformer Technologienutzung in Bezug auf Abschreckung, Prävention, Mediation und Wiederherstellung umgehen, basierend auf der Identifikation nicht-konformer Technologienutzung. Darüber hinaus untersuchen wir, wie sich nicht-konforme Technologienutzung innerhalb und zwischen Gruppen verteilt.

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Online Rating Systems

Online rating systems help consumers to reduce uncertainties about the attributes and quality of products and services. It is therefore little surprising that consumer ratings influence 90% of all purchase decisions in the Internet and that e-commerce platforms such as consider online rating systems as their most important feature. We conduct analytical and experimental analyses to study the impact of consumer ratings in different variants of online rating systems on consumers’ purchase decisions and platform providers’ pricing decisions in order to develop recommendations for the design of online rating systems.

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Partners: Dennis Kundisch, Barrie R. Nault, Michael Scholz

Sicherheitsnetzwerke zum Schutz vor Spear Phishing

Cybersecurity has become increasingly important for businesses in recent years. Social engineering attacks in general and phishing attacks in particular have become more and more professional, and the use of artificial intelligence makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to distinguish between legitimate and fake messages. Currently, research in phishing focuses on individuals’ vulnerability to attacks while neglecting collective security behavior. In this project, we aim to contribute to existing phishing research by broadening the perspective from the individual to the collective and the impact of security networks on vulnerability to spear phishing. In addition, we examine the effects of trust, interdependence, connectivity, relationship strength, position within a network, and influence within a network on susceptibility to spear phishing. Thus, this work aims to show whether security networks can improve collective behavior when users are attacked in online networks (social media).

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The Role of Technology in More Decentralized Organizational Forms

Technology plays a central role in our daily lives and in businesses today. The rapid development of information technology and decreasing costs have led to the emergence of more decentralized control and new organizational forms, supported by openness in the organizational context. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) combine these developments and leverage blockchain technology and smart contracts to automate products and services. Employees in DAOs enjoy high autonomy and increased satisfaction. Although the concept of DAOs is not yet fully mature, they have the potential to profoundly influence our economy and society. In our research, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of this evolution and explore new fields of application for DAOs as a governance mechanism, while also identifying potential drawbacks

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Unintended consequences of IT use

Reports of negative consequences of information and communication (ICT) use have become a standard item in today’s news feed. Despite positive effects such as increased workplace productivity, better product quality, job enrichment and increased intra- and inter-organisational connectivity, there is increasing awareness that ICT adoption also comes with unintended consequences that in some cases are alarming. Within the broader field of ‘the dark side of IS’ we focus on topics such as social media usage and its negative consequences, Information overload and connectivity, as well as the role of IT in the acceleration of life.

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Partners: Martin Wiener

Knowledge maturation

Knowledge as a key resource that sustainably changes how companies and organisations operate in increasingly dynamic markets. We consequently need concepts and instruments which create an ICT-enabled environment in which knowledge workers can better learn, generate, connect and integrate knowledge. Together with Andreas Schmidt (Karlsruhe), we have developed the knowledge maturing model with which we aim to support companies and organisations in their design of information and communication systems for knowledge work. Our model explains processes of knowledge creation by individual employees, teams and organisations up to inter-organisational knowledge partnerships and networks. The model offers a conceptual foundation for the development of tools and services that facilitate knowledge creation in and beyond organisations.

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Partners: Andreas Schmidt

Knowledge protection

In our connected knowledge world, organisations benefit from the acquisition, sharing and joint creation of knowledge together with external parties, but at the same time they have to protect themselves against external parties that seek to appropriate critical knowledge. Thus, engaging in inter-organisational knowledge creation activities requires finding a sensible balance between knowledge sharing and protection. In this project, we try to understand how organisations perform knowledge protection in networks of organisations and how the application of knowledge protection practices affects knowledge sharing.

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Partner: Stefan Thalmann

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