Research Interests and Objectives

My research interests complement and support my teaching interests. They are directed at the study of organizational and societal influences on information systems work and the workforce. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the demands and motivations of information systems human capital and how these professionals react to their workplace environment, administrative structures, technologies and policies that accommodate them. My interests are largely motivated by the observation of modern workplace challenges and convergent industry trends that are enabled through integrated global information systems.

I have published 2 books, 8 journal articles, 11 refereed book chapters, over 25 refereed conference papers – with over ten of these manuscripts specifically focus on pedagogy. My research is published in the Communications of the Association of Computer Machinery (CACM), Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, European Journal on Information Systems (EJIS), Information Resources Management Journal (IRMJ), Information Systems Journal (ISJ), the Journal of Global Information Management (JGIM), and New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Noteworthy is that EJIS and ISJ are two of the top eight journals listed in the senior scholar basket of journals. My work is also published in the proceedings of leading information systems and communications conferences including the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the Association of Computer Machinery Special Interest Group on Management Information Systems and Computers and People Research (ACM SIGMIS CPR), the International Federation of Information Processing Conference Working Group 8.2 (IFIP 8.2) and the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS). I have also published numerous peer reviewed book chapters and encyclopedia articles.

Research Accomplishments

I have achieved several noteworthy goals with my research. First, I have connected and conducted research at the intersection of three academic discourses (technology studies, organizational behavior, and sociology). I see myself as a technologist with expertise in social research methods and cultural theory. Second, I have contributed to the understanding of behaviors, motivations and interactions of information systems professionals at multiple levels of analysis (individual, organizational, and societal). Finally, my research has addressed “real-world” challenges facing universities and organizations today in the areas of recruitment and retention, talent cultivation and management, and social inclusion. Broadly, I group my research into the following themes:

Research Theme One: Information Systems Pathways and Social Inclusion

In this theme, I focus on broadening the pathways and recruitment efforts in the information systems field with a particular focus on the underrepresentation of women and minorities. Over the last two years, the bulk of my efforts have been devoted to completing a book entitled Cracking the Digital Ceiling: Global Views of Women in Computing which I co-edited with Carol Frieze, the Director of Women@SCS and will be published by Cambridge University Press in late 2019. The book is an edited collection of global perspectives that challenge commonly held western views and stereotypes about women in computing. The central thesis of the book is that a focus on environmental factors, rather than innate potential, is necessary in order to understand women’s participation in the computing field. The book makes several contributions to research and practice. First, the book provides a wakeup call to examine various obstacles and catalysts influencing women’s participation in computing. We evaluate how the double workday, family responsibilities, social views of intellectual potential and stereotypes, implicit bias, and individual ‘choice’ and autonomy influence women’s participation in computing. The book also provides theories and evidence for why it is that women are performing better than men academically in many fields in many countries, and yet have low representation in computing despite its high pay and strong job growth. Finally, the book explains that in some cultures it is assumed boys and girls have similar intellectual potential even though social expectations may differ or be more restrictive. We paid special attention to keeping the book accessible (including brief background summaries, and discussion questions) with the intention it will be used as a college-level textbook for courses on women studies or social issues of computing.

Carol and I co-authored a Communications of the ACM journal article entitled “How Computer Science at CMU is Attracting and Retaining Women.” After only six months the article has been downloaded from the ACM digital library over 1,000 times. In 2015, we also co-authored a book entitled Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University. In the book, we explore how computer science curriculums can enable women’s successful participation without becoming “pink” or “female friendly.” We provide results and interventions from a 15-year longitudinal study of students in the computer science major at Carnegie Mellon. Carol has been first author on these publications because of her responsibilities associated with Women@SCS, but we contribute equally to the intellectual development, research efforts and writing.

A structured review of gender and information technology (IT) research found that I am one of the most reoccurring authors in the research stream publishing in top journals and conferences.[1] I was also an invited guest speaker at several international organizations and conferences. For example, I gave the keynote at the 2018 Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing (CAN-CWiC) and the 2017 RedChairPGH annual meeting. I served on the Advisory Committee for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) report entitled Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing. In 2012, I was invited to serve on the Bridge to the Future Summit as a part of the Microsoft Faculty Research Summit. I also serve on committees for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award (Western and Central Pennsylvania and West Virginia Affiliate) and the Center for STEM Education for Girls Consortium.

Research Theme Two: Information Systems Pedagogy and Preparedness

In this theme, I focus on information systems learning, education and workforce preparedness. My research explores ways in which information systems students and professionals can be better prepared to effectively coordinate and interact in globally distributed work. For example, my work has empirically confirmed that active learning approaches increase students’ competency in the areas of domain understanding, teamwork, project management, technical skills, and social impact. My work has also shown that diversity education in technology courses lead to positive identity development and improved ability to collaborate in cross-cultural contexts. My research has been published in the Journal of Science Education and Technology, New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Special Volume on the Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning), and the IEEE-CS Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training. I have worked with my faculty colleagues to gather empirical data from our project courses to investigate the value of service-learning projects and industry mentorships in information systems curriculum. For instance, we conducted an empirical comparison of two active learning classroom approaches – the speed dating method and traditional presentation format – and found the speed dating method to be superior for student-driven feedback and engagement. Several recent conference papers have been accepted and we plan to move these manuscripts forward as journal articles.

I also present this work at the annual ACM SIGMIS CPR conference. For instance, recently I organized a panel entitled “Active Learning Approaches in IT Pedagogy” and co-authored a conference paper entitled “Information Systems in the Community: A Summer Immersion Program for Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” My findings show that service-learning projects help to recruit and retain African Americans in the IT profession by offering an opportunity to learn new skills, build personal confidence, and create a sense of belonging in the field. Earlier this year, I co-author and presented a paper entitled “The Future of IT Work: Computers and People” where we proposed the types of skills information systems professionals need to develop in the future. I am excited to serve as a conference co-chair for the 2020 conference where these topics will be further explored.

I have learned a great deal about collaboration, project management, decision-making, working in teams, and the manner in which groups function. I would like to use this experience to grow as a leader in information systems pedagogy and preparedness. I plan to disseminate my experiences within the classroom, develop first-hand case materials, and describe collaborative arrangements outside of the university. Further, I am committed to disseminating findings on our program’s novel and interesting approach to teaching in information systems (e.g., global components, service-based learning, interdisciplinary focus, etc.). 

Research Theme Three: Information Systems Human Capital Management

In this theme, I focus on human capital issues in the information systems workforce, specifically career values, cultural influences, work-life balance, and social networks. My research has found that socio-cultural factors moderate individuals’ career values and motivations. Further, my work exposes the barriers to entry and obstacles to retention in the computing field and provides best practices and original program development to address these issues. In 2012, my article entitled “Working Where She Wants and Wanting Where She Works: Understanding Career Values and Motivations of Women in the IT Workforce” was published in Information Systems Journal (10-12% acceptance rate and cited over 65 times). This work demonstrated that organizational interventions must be flexible enough to account for the diversity and variation among females, and move away from ‘one size fits all’ approach that often perpetuate stereotypes about women. I am also particularly proud of two additional publications in this theme: “Retaining Women in the American IT Workforce: Theorizing the Influence of Organizational Factors,” which was published in the European Journal on Information Systems, Special Issue on Meeting the Renewed Demand for IT Workers (26% acceptance rate and cited over 165 times) and “Is There a Collective Career Identify?: A Study of Career Values and Turnover Intentions among Female Information Technology Professionals,” published in Globalization, Technology Diffusion and Gender Disparity: Social Impacts of ICTs edited by Pande, van der Weide and Flipsen.

My research has also played a key role in setting the stage for organizational policies and management practices in the field. Last year I co-edited a special issue on “Optimizing the Digital Workforce” for MIS Quarterly Executive with three other prominent information systems workforce researchers: Michelle Kaarst-Brown, Fred Niederman and Tim Weitzel. Our special issue covers the full spectrum of managerial issues: reframing whom the IT worker is, tapping new sources of IT talent, identifying quality IT workers, retaining IT workers, and managing digital transformation throughout organizations. In addition, our editorial, where we individually look forward and reflect on the research domain, is currently one of the most popular papers in the journal and has been downloaded over 200 times. In preparing the special issue we held two research workshops at leading information systems conferences (HICSS 2018 and ICIS 2017) and a two-day track at SIM Connect Live in Dallas, Texas in March 2018. Further, I had the privilege to reflect back on research considerations of previous best paper recipients at the ACM SIGMIS CPR conference in 2018.

[1] Gallivan, M. (2013). “A Structured Review of IS Research on Gender and IT.” Proceedings of the 2013 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 45-56.