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Initiatives in Digital Technology: 2004–05 Funded Proposals

Frederick J. Riggins, Robert J. Kauffman

The Impact of the Digital Divide on Management and Policy: Determinants and Implications of Unequal Access to Information Technology

Universal access to the Internet and information technology (IT) is widely presumed to be able to bring about a global community of interaction, commerce, and learning resulting in higher standards of living and improved social welfare. However, during the 1990s researchers and policy experts began debating the existence of a "digital divide" between those with and without access to IT. After a decade of debate by experts in public policy, communications, philosophy, and economics there still is no consensus on the definition and extent of the digital divide—or even its existence. Moreover, there has been little attention given to the impact of the digital divide on management strategies. For managers, the existence of the digital divide should have a profound impact on how firms compete globally, the creation of the information age organization, the diffusion of online commerce, strategies for offering online services, and policies for promoting access to IT and the Internet.

To address these issues, we are planning to host a research symposium entitled "The Impact of the Digital Divide on Management and Policy: Determinants and Implications of Unequal Access to Information Technology" at the Carlson School on August 27-28, 2004, in association with the MIS Research Center's annual research symposium series. The symposium will bring together researchers who are studying the contributing factors and business implications of these issues to engage in a dialog that will promote further research. The event will allow researchers to present their research findings, receive feedback from participants, and interact with an expert research panel on issues related to the digital divide. Authors of the highest quality papers will be invited to submit post-symposium revisions for expedited review and consideration for publication in the Journal of the Association of Information Systems. The associated call for papers is attached.

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