Organizational Communication & Information Systems OCIS

Journal of Information Technology (JIT) December 2020 Issue (35:4) Published

  • 1.  Journal of Information Technology (JIT) December 2020 Issue (35:4) Published

    Posted 12-14-2020 04:22

    Dear colleagues,


    The December 2020 issue of the Journal of Information Technology (JIT) has been published. This is the TOC:



    Robo-Apocalypse cancelled? Reframing the automation and future of work debate

    Leslie Willcocks

    1. 286–302


    Robotics and the automation of knowledge work, often referred to as AI (artificial intelligence), are presented in the media as likely to have massive impacts, for better or worse, on jobs skills, organizations and society. The article deconstructs the dominant hype-and-fear narrative. Claims on net job loss emerge as exaggerated, but there will be considerable skills disruption and change in the major global economies over the next 12 years. The term AI has been hijacked, in order to suggest much more going on technologically than can be the case. The article reviews critically the research evidence so far, including the author's own, pointing to eight major qualifiers to the dominant discourse of major net job loss from a seamless, overwhelming AI wave sweeping fast through the major economies. The article questions many assumptions: that automation creates few jobs short or long term; that whole jobs can be automated; that the technology is perfectible; that organizations can seamlessly and quickly deploy AI; that humans are machines that can be replicated; and that it is politically, socially and economically feasible to apply these technologies. A major omission in all studies is factoring in dramatic increases in the amount of work to be done. Adding in ageing populations, productivity gaps and skills shortages predicted across many G20 countries, the danger might be too little, rather than too much labour. The article concludes that, if there is going to be a Robo-Apocalypse, this will be from a collective failure to adjust to skills change over the next 12 years. But the debate needs to be widened to the impact of eight other technologies that AI insufficiently represents in the popular imagination and that, in combination, could cause a techno-apocalypse.




    Robo-apocalypse cancelled? Commentary

    Kristine Dery

    1. 303–304


    Robo-apocalypse cancelled?

    Stefan Klein, Mary Beth Watson-Manheim

    1. 305–306


    Information systems research on artificial intelligence and work: A commentary on "Robo Apocalypse cancelled? Reframing the automation and future of work debate"

    Marleen Huysman

    1. 307–309


    The robo-apocalypse plays out in the quality, not in the quantity of work

    Kai Riemer, Sandra Peter

    1. 310–315


    How do offshoring-related changes in job characteristics affect onshore managers' affective organizational commitment? The moderating role of perceived organizational valence

    Angelika Zimmermann, Eleni Lioliou, João S Oliveira

    1. 316–336


    Offshoring-the transfer of work activities to providers in offshore countries-has for some time affected the nature of work in onshore locations. Not much is however known about the reactions of onshore job incumbents to such changes. In this article, we use a survey of UK firms to examine the relationship between perceived changes in onshore managers' work characteristics induced by information systems offshoring and managers' affective organizational commitment. We found that a perceived increase in onshore managers' job complexity was associated with higher affective organizational commitment only if managers also perceived organizational valence, that is, only if they believed that information systems offshoring benefited their organization. A perceived increase in cross-cultural work was associated with higher affective organizational commitment, and this association was positively moderated by managers' perceptions of organizational valence. Using the offshoring context, our findings provide insights into consequences of contemporary changes in the nature of work in developed countries and to explain the diverse reactions of onshore job incumbents to such changes.



    Is code law? Current legal and technical adoption issues and remedies for blockchain-enabled smart contracts

    Daniel Drummer, Dirk Neumann

    1. 337–360


    Blockchain technology has enabled so-called smart contracts between different parties on a decentralized network. These self-enforceable and self-executable computerized contracts could initiate a fundamental paradigm shift in the understanding and functioning of our legal practices. Opportunities for their application are increasingly understood, and numerous tests of feasibility have been completed. However, only very few use cases have yet been implemented at scale. This article-as the first of its kind-comprehensively analyzes the underlying challenges and locates a key reason for the slow adoption in the discrepancy between legal requirements and IT capabilities. Our work combines a wide range of academic sources and interviews with 30 domain experts from IT, the legal domain and private industry. First, we establish that smart contracts still fall within the boundaries of the general legal framework. We then systematically dissect current shortcomings of smart contracts on three distinct levels, namely, (1) how smart contracts are likely to cause conflicts with existing laws, (2) how smart contracts are intrinsically limited on an individual contract level and (3) how they are impeded by their current technical design. Across those levels, we dissect 20 distinct issues concerning the current implementation of smart contracts for which we derive potential remedies. We further outline implications for policy-makers as well as IT management, and examine how information systems research can play an important role in advancing smart contracts. Finally, we show how managerial and organizational issues might represent an ongoing challenge for the widespread adoption of smart contracts.


    A 'conversation' between Frank Land (FL) and Antony Bryant (AB): PART I

    Antony Bryant, Frank Land

    1. 361–375


    The 'conversation' offers an important contribution to the archaeology of information systems, both in practice as an academic domain or discipline, and a focus on the genealogy of the field, including some of the accidents and deviations that marked later developments. It is derived from a series of conversations and later exchanges that I arranged with Frank Land. The substantive aspects date from the late 2017 and were then developed in a series of exchanges in 2018; although in effect he and I have been developing this conversation over many years, during which he has been continually challenging, expansive and forthcoming. Comments forthcoming from readers of earlier drafts indicated some perplexity regarding the genre and the objectives of our contribution, so it is important to note that the term 'conversation' is something of a conceit. It is not an interview per se, nor is it a biographical account. The core of what follows developed from our verbatim exchanges both face-to-face, and later via email. Some sections, however, have been reworked and enhanced to clarify and augment the issues raised. In addition, we have sought to provide a good deal of background and narrative to guide readers through the text, offering pointers to further resources. The overall contribution is intended to provide an informed and, we hope, informative contribution to people's understanding of key social and technical issues of our time.


    JIT Special Issue Call for Papers: 


    Regulation in the Age of Digitalization
    (deadline 2021-01-31)

    Editors: Danny Gozman, Kalle Lyytinen, Tom Butler


    Emerging Technologies and IS Sourcing
    (deadline 2021-02-26)

    Editors: Julia Kotlarsky, Ilan Oshri, Oliver Krancher, Rajiv Sabherwal


    Ethical Issues and Unintended Consequences of Digitalization and Platformization
    (deadline 2021-06-01)

    Editors; Matti Rossi, Christy Cheung, Suprateek Sarker, Jason Thatcher


    Subscribe to receive JIT's special issue call for papers and online-first publications alerts:


    JIT homepage (note, we are publishing now with SAGE, not Palgrave/Springer as previously)


    Best wishes,



    Dr Daniel Schlagwein
    Associate Professor | The University of Sydney
    Co-Editor-in-Chief | Journal of Information Technology