Lecture: System Dynamics Modeling for Information Systems Research: Theory Development and Practical Application2018-04-08 18:07

Lecture: System Dynamics Modeling for Information Systems Research: Theory Development and Practical Application

Speaker:Yulin Fang

Time:3:15-4:45 pm, April 10th  

Venue:Room 208, Tongji Building A


Most information systems (IS) research develops theory for explanation and prediction based on a variance logical structure that assumes one-way, time invariant causal relationships. This approach largely misses the opportunity to extend theory from alternative logical structures that build upon reciprocal and temporal causal mechanisms; for example, the system perspective. This paper introduces system dynamics (SD), a modeling tool capable of capturing the reciprocal and temporal causal mechanisms that underlie many complex and dynamic systems, and demonstrates its ability to extend existing variance theory from a system perspective. To do so, we first describe the basic tenets of SD and discuss the status quo of existing SD applications in the field. Then, we demonstrate how to model SD’s unique theoretical logic of reciprocal and temporal causal structure to extend existing variance theory. To demonstrate the use of SD in theory development, we develop and validate an SD model of the e-commerce resource endowment of a click-and-mortar firm and simulate dynamic causal relationships between the e-commerce resource endowment and firm performance over time, under various scenarios. This case demonstrates how we can extend an existing variance theory by reconciling the inconsistent findings of prior research from a system perspective using the SD approach. The paper concludes by discussing how SD can help IS researchers develop dynamic theories.

Keywords: system dynamics, simulation, theory development, electronic commerce, resource-based view, firm performance, the system perspective

Bio of the speaker

Yulin Fang is a full professor at Department of Information Systems, City University of Hong Kong. He earned his PhD at Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario in Canada. His current research interests include strategic and managerial aspect of information systems and analytics He received College of Research Excellence in 2014 and College of Teaching Excellence in 2016.

Yulin is currently serving as a Senior Editor for Information Systems Research and Information Systems Journal, and a co-editor-in-chief for Information Technology & People. He is also on the Editorial Board of Journal of Strategic Information Systems. He was an Associate Editor for several leading journals, including MIS Quarterly (2013-2016), Information Systems Research (2013-2016), and Information Systems Journal (2012-2015). He was awarded the Associate Editor of the Year at Information Systems Research in 2015. He is a regular track co-chair for International Conference on Information Systems and Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems.

Yulin has published 50 research articles in renowned management and information systems journals, including MIS Quarterly (MISQ), Information Systems Research (ISR), Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS), Journal of Operations Management (JOM), Strategic Management Journal (SMJ), Journal of Management Studies (JMS), Organizational Research Methods (ORM), among others. Many of them are included in UT Dallas and Financial Time journal lists. His research on open source software communities won the 2009 Senior Scholars Best IS Publication Award by the Association for Information Systems (AIS), one out of the five in that year. His work on e-commerce published at MIS Quarterly was one of the Citation of Excellent Winners of Emerald Citations of Excellence in 2017.

Yulin has served in the management / technology consulting industry, specialized in (e-)business strategy, marketing strategy and IT strategic planning. Over the past 15 years, he provided independent consultancy services on knowledge/Innovation management for Canadian Government and Alcatel Global, and advised on a good number of government agencies and high-tech start-up firms. He is currently serving as an independent non-executive director of Yunfeng Technology, a fast-growing advanced manufacturing firm in Mainland China.

Yulin is a professional case writer, having developed business cases for major technology and financial corporations operating in emerging markets, such as Alcatel China, Google China, Tencent, HK Stock Exchange and HK Airport. His cases were recognized among best-sellers at Ivey Business School Publishing and European Case Clearing House (ECCH).