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Seven Important Theories in Information Management and Information System Empirical Research: A Systematic Review and Future Directions

Published Online: 13 Nov 2021
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Received: 16 Jun 2021
Accepted: 21 Sep 2021
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
30 Mar 2017
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The fragmentation of fundamental theory has increasingly affected the development of information management (IM) and information system (IS) empirical research, while limited attempts have been made to systematically review the theories which are fundamental to the extant IM and IS literature. Therefore, based on the analysis of the empirical studies in the IM and IS field in the past 20 years, we identify seven relatively important but less summarized theories in the IM and IS field: transactive memory system (TMS), impression management, flow, structural holes, resource dependence theory (RDT), social presence theory (SPT), and the illusion of control (IC). Hence, we try to offer a systematic review of these theories by synthesizing the extant findings while identifying the possible directions for future studies. Our review made several significant contributions to both proposing theoretical and methodological trends in the respective theories.

Keywords

Introduction

The wide application of information and communication technology (ICT) provides unprecedented opportunities for information management (IM) and information system (IS) research, leading to various emerging research findings and theories. However, the fragmentation of fundamental theory has increasingly affected the development of IM and IS research. In the extant IM and IS studies, limited attempts have been made to systematically review the theories which are fundamental to the IM and IS literature. Hence, it is crucial to form a clear picture that will be useful for the application of these theories in IM and IS research. Theoretically, it is suggested to (1) conduct appropriate assessments to determine the scope of the extant findings and to provide gaps for future studies; and (2) support a better understanding of concepts or theories and promote future research (Senyo, Liu, & Effah, 2019). Hence, we also seek to offer a systematic review of these theories by synthesizing the extant findings while identifying the possible directions for future studies. Specifically, there are abundant theories involved in IM and IS research, and it is unrealistic to incorporate all the theories. Therefore, based on the analysis of the empirical studies in the IM and IS field in the past 20 years, we identify seven theories that are relatively important but less summarized in the IM and IS field, namely Transactive Memory System (TMS), Impression Management Theory (IMT), Flow Theory (FT), Structural Holes Theory (SHT), Resource Dependence Theory (RDT), Social Presence Theory (SPT), and Illusion Of Control (IC). Overall, we conducted this review by answering the following research questions:

RQ1: What is the development trend of the respective theory?

RQ2: What themes have been investigated in prior studies?

RQ3: What gaps exist in extant studies that future studies may be worthy to investigate?

To address those questions, the rest of this paper proceeds as follows. First, we summarized the overview of theoretical development for respective theories. Second, we identified the research agenda by analyzing and synthesizing the extant findings. Next, based on what we found, we propose several critical directions for future exploration. Finally, we conclude our findings with a discussion of our contributions.

A Comprehensive Framework of Seven Theories

Despite the diversity of “fragmented adhocracy” of IS and IM discipline (Banville & Landry, 1989), however, it does have several well-defined features of research areas. Vesssy et al. (2002) summarized the five key characteristics of diversity in IS and IM empirical studies: the reference discipline, level of analysis, research topic, research approach, and research method. Among them, they suggested that IS and IM research mainly focuses on the four levels of individual, group, organizational, and inter-organization problems. Moreover, Yovits (2010) revealed the generalized model of IS, which contains four essential functions: information acquisition and dissemination, decision-making, execution, and transformation. Each function is seen to collect, store, operate, and disseminate information and knowledge. Further, such a system may also be affected by the external environment. In the generalized model of IS, Yovits (2010) suggested that the information acquisition and dissemination function is also subjected to the external environment which contains various resources or factors that users have no direct control of. Hence, diversified antecedents may regard as the external environment that may impact the different information interaction processes and eventually, the behavior and its outcomes. It should also be noted that the execution function is responsible for transforming decisions into observable actions or outcomes, regardless of the rationality since misunderstanding of IS may yield unpleasant results.

In the existing empirical studies of IS and IM research, it is more important to form a comprehensive framework to reveal the nomological links between seven theories, to further address the fragmentation of theories. Hence, we construct the comprehensive framework of seven theories based on the diversity and generality of IS and IM empirical studies (Figure 1). Given that we aim to identify the research agenda of existing theories rather than providing the basic information of relevant studies, we mainly focus on the research topics, research paradigm, and level of analysis. Hence, we construct a three-dimensional framework to further understand the logical relationship between different theories. Further, we deconstruct the generalized model of IS, and further divide the research paradigm into four topics: antecedents, process, mechanisms, and outcomes according to the direction of information flow.

Figure 1

Research framework.

Specifically, in the individual level of analysis, we found that SPT, FT, and IC are all involving personal experience and feelings during the IS use, while IMT mainly focuses on how individuals show themselves through the IS use. Among them, we found that flow and social presence may moderate the relations between IS intention and behavior. In the group level of analysis, TMS mainly discusses the antecedents and consequences of team memory integration. Moreover, RDT not only focuses on organizational performance but also emphasizes information sharing and communication between organizations. IC and RDT both emphasize the impact of information technology (IT) resources and awareness on IS adoption behavior while organizational network and social capital may also impact such path.

Transactive Memory System

As one of the most important theories in the IM and IS field, TMS is often used to study the internal cognitive processes of one team with its antecedents and outcomes. The core idea of TMS is to understand and coordinate the domain knowledge of team members to achieve better cooperation (Ren & Argote, 2011). Most recently, TMS has been integrated into various themes, such as team performance, knowledge sharing, knowledge management, virtual team, and team cognition. Moreover, TMS has also been incorporated into diverse fields that go beyond IM and IS discipline, e.g., business management, psychology, and communication study. With the increasing development of global knowledge collaboration within virtual knowledge communities, team knowledge collaboration will progressively become one of the hotspots in IM and IS field. As a result, the crucial role of TMS in knowledge collaboration research will certainly deserve more in-depth attention and exploration.

Theoretical Development

TMS was first proposed by Wegner et al. (1985) for the cognitive interaction between intimate relationships. Initially, TMS is conceptualized as an information processing system that integrates personal memory and team communication processes (Wegner, 1987). By emphasizing the information processing process, Hollingshead (2011) defined TMS as the division and cooperation of cognitive labor in coding, storage, retrieval, and communication of information from different fields.

TMS is drawn from personal cognitive processes. The information processing of personal memory systems can be divided into three stages: coding, storage, and retrieval, which is the same as the TMS. In addition to relying on personal internal memory to obtain information, people often use external memory resources such as memos and family members. It is also necessary to know which people or objects have certain fields of memory to acquire external memory; such memory is also called metamemory, and it acts a pivotal part in understanding the expertise of team members in TMS (Wegner et al., 1985).

Compared with the computer network, Wegner et al. (2011) revealed that TMS is composed of three processes, directory updating, information allocation, and retrieval coordination. Likewise, Liang et al. (1995) proposed three elements of TMS, such as memory differentiation, task coordination, and task credibility. Lewis (2003) further summarized these factors into specialization, coordination, and credibility, and developed a widely used TMS measurement scale.

Research Agenda
The Impact of TMS on Team Performance

Theoretically, TMS not only focuses on the process and antecedents of knowledge collaboration within the team but also on the outcomes. With the extraction and summary of TMS core constructs by researchers (Lewis, 2003; Wegner et al., 2011), it is increasingly important for knowledge management to use TMS to empirically explore outcome variables at the team level. In particular, this is rather important for the software project teams as they often face a higher degree of task complexity, member dispersion, and knowledge-intensive.

The impact of TMS on team performance can be divided into four levels, namely the performance of software project teams, the job performance of virtual teams, team innovation performance, and team performance in social media. In the software project teams, on the one hand, team familiarity, task familiarity, and interpersonal interaction both have an impact on the team performance through the mediation of TMS (Espinosa et al., 2007; He, Butler, & King, 2007); On the other hand, TMS indirectly affects the performance of software project teams by improving problem-solving ability and team behavior integration (Lin et al., 2012; Lin et al., 2015). In the virtual team, TMS helps solve the problems of poor cohesion, lack of communication, and low trust by improving team cognition, team interaction, and trust (Engelmann, Kolodziej, & Hesse, 2014; Marlow, Lacerenza, & Salas, 2017). Moreover, TMS can improve team innovation performance by improving knowledge utilization, knowledge diversity, and knowledge management ability (Dai et al., 2017; Yu, Le, & Deng, 2016). Also, the meta-knowledge of team members, the innovation ability, and team innovation performance could both be enhanced by TMS embodied in social media (Cao & Ali, 2018; Davison, Ou, & Martinsons, 2017; Leonardi, 2015).

The Impact of TMS on Knowledge Integration

Memory is relatively a kind of knowledge resource, while TMS mainly focuses on how to use such memories within the team to achieve better outcomes. Hence, it is also crucial to examine the role of TMS in knowledge integration within the team.

The impact of TMS on knowledge integration can be divided into six themes, namely, the impact of TMS on knowledge sharing, knowledge seeking, knowledge collaboration, knowledge network, knowledge transformation, and knowledge management. TMS promotes knowledge sharing through IT support and plays the role of knowledge link between groups and individuals (Choi, Lee, & Yoo, 2010; Mansingh, Osei-Bryson, & Han, 2009). Also, TMS could help to improve the efficiency of knowledge seeking, while women, homosexuals, and low-level employees may be easily at a disadvantaged position in the knowledge-seeking chain (Singh, Hansen, & Podolny, 2010; Yuan, Carboni, & Ehrlich, 2010). Moreover, TMS promotes knowledge collaboration within the team by locating information resources and providing task background (Engelmann & Hesse, 2010; Garud, Kumaraswamy, & Tuertscher, 2011). In terms of knowledge network, the higher the level of knowledge and professional skills in TMS, the more likely it will have a stronger influence on the knowledge network. The effect of TMS on knowledge networks will be greater with the much more complex team task (Akgün et al., 2005; Kerlavaj, Dimovski, & De Souza, 2010). TMS also promotes the transformation of potential knowledge to practical knowledge from three dimensions of coding, storage, and retrieval (Griffith, Sawyer, & Neale, 2003; Oshri, van Fenema, & Kotlarsky, 2008). Furthermore, several methods of knowledge management have been developed based on TMS, such as the innovation mode of point-to-point knowledge management and knowledge management systems (Alavi & Tiwana, 2002; Yang & Ho, 2007).

Future Directions

Despite having revealed various significant agendas of TMS-related research, it is also worthy to investigate several important topics of inquiry that may need further exploration. Theoretically, while TMS mainly focuses on the heterogeneity of distributed knowledge and related expertise of different team members, it ignores the factors of team cohesion, team culture, and homogeneity. Future researchers should incorporate these elements into TMS to build a comprehensive team cognitive model. Moreover, the research objects of TMS in the IM and IS field are mainly enterprise organizations, work teams, and so on. Future research could explore the application of TMS in online gaming groups, online learning groups, and medical service teams since different members also need to carry out knowledge collaboration in such teams.

In terms of methodology, most studies adopted interview and questionnaire surveys to obtain relevant data, while field study and experimental methods are rarely used. Future studies may need to implement the field study to strengthen the in-depth understanding within the group and use the experimental method to control different variables to reach a more scientific conclusion. More importantly, extant studies fail to embody the cultural factors into consideration. Hence, it is also necessary to explore whether different cultural backgrounds have an impact on TMS. Furthermore, most existing findings focus on how to use TMS to improve team performance and knowledge integration from a rather positive perspective, while few studies focus on the antecedents hindering team performance and knowledge integration based on the TMS, and how such factors will influence the interactive memory within the team.

Impression Management Theory

IMT focuses on efforts by an actor to create, maintain, control, or alter an image perceived by a target audience (Bozeman & Kacmar, 1997). The core idea of IMT is that individuals attempt to manage or control other's perceptions of their impressions to achieve a certain purpose (Goffman, 1959). Such mechanisms are widely presented both at the individual and organizational level, whether in real or virtual social activities. Hence, the issues of impression management have also been extensively used in sociology, psychology, management, and education.

Extant reviews of IMT have summarized several important findings. Specifically, Leary and Kowalski (1990) revealed various antecedents of impression construction, such as self-concept, role constraints, target values, and current or potential social image. Moreover, Bolino et al. (2008) identified three key areas of IMT: impression management use at the individual level; use of IMT to better understand organizational phenomena; impression management use at the organizational level. Moreover, the gender difference is also discovered in the IMT. It is been found that males often use more confident-oriented tactics while females adopt much more passive and cooperative tactics (Guadagno & Cialdini, 2007).

More importantly, with the emergence of ICT, especially web2.0 with rich user-generated content, one word or one expression of an individual or organization may affect the impression perceived by others in an online environment. However, limited attempts have been made to systematically review IMT studies in the extant IM and IS literature. Hence, we seek to provide a critical review of IMT research by investigating the extant findings while forming the research agenda and outlook for future studies.

Theoretical Development

Based on the research findings of interaction and social stratification, Goffman (1959) explains how individuals form their image by controlling the way they present their behavior to others. Consistently, Jones (1964) proposed a series of strategic behaviors of the flatterer model to improve the attractiveness of their quality and influence others.

To achieve a better or desired image of others, individuals may avoid negative identities and external inconsistencies as such factors will hinder social interactions. Hence, people tend to be more inclined to external consistency, i.e., more willing to keep up with others instead of being different (Tedeschi & Rosenfeld, 1981).

With the development of IMT in the field of experimental social psychology, many studies focused on the antecedents and behavioral strategies of impression management using experimental control. Leary and Kowalski (1990) revealed the two-component model of impression management by analyzing two discrete processes of impression management, namely impression motivation and impression construction. Such a two-component model laid the very foundation of future research regarding impression management.

Research Agenda
Impression Management Tactics in Social Media

A modern interpersonal relationship is usually started and maintained in the online environment. Individuals attempt to influence others’ perceptions of themselves by controlling and managing the represented information on social media. Hence, it is increasingly important for individuals to use online impression management, especially in social media.

Ward (2017) found Tinder users mainly adopt two tactics to find more matches in the pre-matching stage: personal photo selection and learn from others. Bowman (2015) identified that university professors use more interactive strategies to create a more professional image when sharing their expertise on Twitter. Moreover, it is found that Facebook users are perceived as agreeable when they expressed more positive views, while they are considered as emotional instability when expressed negative emotions or seeking emotional support (Hall, Pennington, & Lueders, 2014). Social media is not only a place for making friends but also a platform for public figures to shape a good public image. Many political figures have taken social media as a channel of political marketing to enhance influence (Elva & Caro, 2017).

Impression management tactics apply to both individuals and organizational levels. Lillqvist and Louhiala-Salminen (2014) analyzed the comments of reply and criticism in Facebook corporate users and found that enterprises mainly use polite and moral words, and transfer negative topics to maintain and improve the social acceptability of enterprises.

Antecedents of Impression Management in Online Context

Relations are often created and maintained in an online context these days, and the formation and management of online impression management are increasingly important for individuals, especially social media users. Hence, it is also just important to consider how various antecedents affect online impression management as to how the individuals use online impression management tactics.

Social media users are believed to be able to create online images for social purposes regardless of time or space (Rosenberg & Egbert, 2011). Findings have shown that personality traits (Rosenberg & Egbert, 2011), cognitive homogeneity (Gerhart & Sidorova, 2017), and cultural dimension (Pearce & Vitak, 2016) could affect online impression management, particularly in the social media context.

Similarly, many existing studies revealed the antecedents of organizational impression management. Businesses have embraced the Internet to shape their image, and consumers form impressions of organizations from interaction with their websites. It is suggested that the content of the text, graphics, layout, links, fonts, and even color could shape consumers’ impressions of the organizations (Winter, Saunders, & Hart, 2003). Moreover, enterprises have also used social media to market themselves while creating a good image for the public. Novel tools for social media management, such as social network analysis, data mining, natural language processing, could contribute to identify consumers’ views or emotions on certain topics, and thus help enterprises quickly respond to negative comments and create positive word-of-mouth (Benthaus, Risius, & Beck, 2016). It is not always beneficial to respond quickly to comments, however, since the content of the reply is not considered properly sometimes. Moreover, easy and informal ways of communication occasionally lead to misunderstanding and criticism (Richey, Ravishankar, & Coupland, 2016).

The Impact of Impression Management on Online Engagement Intention

Online platforms are often considered as a place where individuals or organizations are motivated to manage their image, and a good or desired image may promote their engagement intention on such platforms. Compared with other online platforms, social media users are more likely to realize that their actions to join public welfare activities are visible to online friends, which is conducive to building a good image, and thus actively participate in online public welfare activities (Jeong & Lee, 2013). Impression management is also vital in attracting new participants, especially the first impression management. Choi, Chengalur-Smith, and Whitmore (2010) revealed that the likelihood of attracting other fresh developers to an open-source project is shaped by project description, screenshot availability, download availability, and project downloads. Similarly, related elements also help shape a good image of crowdfunding projects and thus promote the intention of investment (Bao & Huang, 2017). On the contrary, Gleasure (2015) identified several reasons why entrepreneurs resist crowdfunding from an impression management perspective. It is found that the fear of information disclosure and project failure will inhibit their willingness to raise funds.

Future Directions

Existing findings provide important insights to the impression management research community, however, it is also several interesting topics worth further investigation. Firstly, it is necessary to compare different impression management tactics under diversified cultural backgrounds as impression management will be shaped by cultural dimensions (Pearce & Vitak, 2016). Moreover, extant studies mainly focused on how to create a good image rather than exploring the tactics when organizations face impression threats, as well as ignoring evaluation of impression management effectiveness, these directions may need more in-depth analysis in the future. With the development of user-generated content platforms and content e-commerce platforms, many users have changed their roles from passive information receivers to active content creators. Therefore, it is necessary to explore how impression management further affects users’ online behavior.

Flow Theory (FT)

Flow refers to a mental state of being fully engaged in certain contexts while filtering out all irrelevant perceptions, and focus their entire attention on the current moment (Davis & Csikszentmihalyi, 1977). Flow is often with positive emotional experience which makes people feel pleasant without considering personal efforts. FT has been widely incorporated in the online context, such as online learning, online gaming, and e-commerce. Specifically, the flow state in online gaming helps explain the adoption and loyalty (or post-adoption) of players, as players often devoted most of their time, energy, and cognitive resources to online gaming (Su et al., 2016). Similarly, such circumstances are very much presented in the online learning context. FT may offer as a tool for improving teaching design and creating a flow way of teaching to promote learning performance. Also, researchers integrate the FT into the gamification of online learning (Liu & Song, 2021). Moreover, it is also found that flow could promote Internet users to visit online websites (Bridges & Florsheim, 2008) and be seen as an important measurement for online consuming behavior (Koufaris, 2002).

Extant reviews of FT have yielded several important findings. Specifically, Plike (2004) revealed the antecedents and elements of flow in IT use, as well as the barriers to flow in IT use. Mahnke, Benlian, and Hess (2015) analyzed the mechanism of flow and how website design leads to flow during users’ visits to the website. Given the increasing importance of FT in IT and more broadly, IM and IS studies, it is necessary to summarize the existing findings and form a map and path for future research.

Theoretical Development

FT is drawn from the joyfulness of online gaming, as such activities are driven by internal motivations rather than external feedback or incentives. Csikszentmihalyi (1975) defined flow as a holistic experience that people feel when they are fully involved in such activities and considered it as the main reason why people are willing to continuously engage in one certain behavior. Later, Csikszentmihalyi (1990) systematically defined flow as a kind of experience with the appropriate challenge that could make a person deeply immersed in it while forgetting the passage of time and absence of themselves, and revealed seven psychological characteristics, namely tasks with a reasonable chance of completion, clear goals, immediate feedback, deep but effortless involvement, sense of control over our actions, no concern for the self, and alteration of the time.

The general features of the flow experience are often defined by the interaction of challenges and skills (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). The first mapping of the FT identified three regions of experience: a region of flow, challenges, match individuals skills; a region of anxiety, as challenges increasingly exceeded skills; a region of boredom, as opportunities for action (challenges) lower than skills (Davis & Csikszentmihalyi, 1977). Simply balancing challenges and skills did not optimize the quality of experience, hence, such shift revealed yet another important state, apathy, related to both lower challenges and skills (Csikszentmihalyi & Massimini, 1985). Further, eight channels are developed based on the three-level (low, average, and high) of challenges/skills, and flow is experienced when challenges and skills are both above-average levels (Massimini & Carli, 1988).

Research Agenda
Measurement of Flow
Measurement of flow constructs

Existing studies of flow constructs mainly include perceived enjoyment, perceived utility, perceived control, concentration, and time distortion. As one of the most widely used measurements of flow, perceived enjoyment captured the subjective pleasure in the interaction between individuals and technology, and it is a key attribute in the online shopping context (Lee & Chen, 2010; Yi & Poole, 2010). Perceived control is defined as individuals’ perception of control over their behavior, and the interaction between such perception and environment (Fave & Massimini, 2005). Flow could make participants feel that they can control what will happen next, and users’ behavior will act more positively as they feel such perception, especially in the online context (Ghani & Deshpande, 2016). Moreover, individuals’ concentration mainly focuses on limited and stimulating fields. Users could concentrate on the online activity while ignoring any irrelevant perception and emotion, and it reflects the degree of absorption in user's adoption of certain kinds of technology (Hoffman & Novak, 1996; Zhou & Lu, 2011). Similarly, when individuals concentrate on certain things, they may unlikely notice the passage of time, and thus have a distorted perception of time (Chen, Wigand, & Nilan, 2000). It is found that technology use and full attention to the virtual environment endow perception of distortion of time and space (Sánchez-Franco & Roldán, 2005).

Physiological measurement of flow

Perceived state of flow often use interviews or questionnaires to collect data, however, such methods are retrospective and subjective and could not capture the immediate characteristics of flow. Hence, existing studies also use physiological measurements of flow, such as high arousal (Kop et al., 2001; Tian et al., 2017), blink rate (Acosta, Gallar, & Belmonte, 1999), and EEG signal (Russoniello, O’Brien, & Parks, 2009). It is suggested that the flow state could bring changes to the user's physiological indicators, which further indicate the duration and depth of the flow itself.

Antecedents of Flow
Technical antecedents

The quality of IS is described as a multi-dimensional entity reflecting different stakeholders, which will affect the IS use. Similarly, information quality, service quality, and system quality will affect the flow experience of users (Aladwani & Palvia, 2002; Zhou, Shi, & Sears, 2010). In the online shopping context, it is suggested that the navigation, interface presentation, and even color of the website will also affect the flow experience (Ettis, 2017; Landers et al., 2015; Liu & Suh, 2017). Moreover, perceived ease of use also has a positive impact on the flow experience, especially in online gaming (Hsu & Lu, 2004), social media (Zha et al., 2018), and online shopping (Hsu, Chang, & Chen, 2012) contexts.

Nontechnical antecedents

Social interaction in the online environment may also provoke flow experience since users not only indulge in technical pleasure but also the joyfulness of interpersonal relationships may make users experience flow when using IS (Liu et al., 2016; Sweetser et al., 2017). Similar to the flow experience, telepresence refers to the reality of online interaction experience, and telepresence of virtual technology has a significant positive effect on flow (Chee, Atreyi, & Rajiv, 2009; Nah, Eschenbrenner, & Dewester, 2011). Also, such technology could be applied to teaching informatics to improve educational effectiveness (Giasiranis & Sofos, 2017). Moreover, flow is a highly personal concept, which is regarded as a rather dynamic and individualistic experience (Kawaf & Tagg, 2017). Meanwhile, it will be affected by such personalized factors as role, status, or personality (Csikszentmihalyi & Lefevre, 1989; Katharina, Claudia, & Richard, 2015).

The Impact of Flow on Use and Purchase Behavior

Flow is vital for users to use IS as they need to devote a high amount of cognitive and substantive resources in different phases of IS adoption, use, or continuous use. The flow experience illustrated that users will transform such resources into their attitude and behavior change of IS. Existing findings revealed that flow could promote users’ adoption (Zha et al., 2015), continuous use (Pelet, Ettis, & Cowart, 2017), loyalty (Bilgihan et al., 2015; Choi & Kim, 2004), and satisfaction of IS (Park, Parsons, & Ryu, 2010), and flow can even significantly enhance users’ willingness to resist change (Tao, 2013). Moreover, the moderating role of gender difference is also been identified, where males are more likely to be influenced by flow experience during the IS use (Wang, Chen, & Chen, 2013).

Flow experience may be regarded as a key predictor of purchase behavior in the online shopping context (Ettis, 2017). However, whether the current flow, based on the existing results, will promote online purchase is not yet clear and seems to be inconsistent, and this may be related to the different measurements of flow. As a single dimension construct, flow experience has been found to have a positive impact on purchase behavior by improving users’ satisfaction and loyalty (Gao, Bai, & Park, 2017; Hsu, Chang, & Chen, 2012; Shim, Forsythe, & Kwon, 2015). Conversely, this positive impact has not been identified when the flow is seen as a multidimensional construct. Specifically, while the dimensions of perceived enjoyment, perceived control, and the combination of action and cognition both have a relatively positive impact on online purchase behavior, the dimension of time distortion, however, has been revealed a significant negative impact (Ozkara, Ozmen, & Kim, 2017). The negative effect of flow experience may come from consumers’ view of the time spent in online shopping as an irreparable cost (Rettie, 2001).

Problematic Use of IS Caused by the Flow

Flow experience is not always beneficial. A series of studies have found that flow experience can result in various negative effects on individuals and society. Specifically, online flow in a non-working context will reduce employee's work performance (Sharafi, Hedman, & Montgomery, 2006). Moreover, the flow experience also relatively diminishes users’ perception of time, which occurs widely in online procrastination, social media, and online games (Kaur et al., 2016; Thatcher, Wretschko, & Fridjhon, 2008). More importantly, the flow experience may also be harmful to physical and mental health. A crucial manifestation of the problematic use of IS is the addictive behavior, which is relatively dangerous for the physiological mechanism and mental health of users (Chang et al., 2014). Also, the development of mobile IS intensifies the transformation from flow to addiction, such as compulsive use and addiction to mobile phones and mobile games (Chou & Ting, 2003; Salehan & Negahban, 2013).

Future Directions

Existing studies have revealed several important achievements of FT in the IM and IS field, such as measurements, antecedents, and outcomes of flow experience. Such findings provide us with opportunities to understand the research trends in the area as well as the potential research gaps. Hence, several future directions are suggested based on the inferences drawn from these findings.

The negative impact of flow experience has not been widely concerned, which is harmful to both IS vendors and users, given the negative factors of flow may not only cause users’ physical and mental health problems but also make users give up the further use of IS. Moreover, contextual factors have also not been paid attention to in flow-related research, although the flow experience tends to be varied in various contexts. For instance, in the unconscious flow experience, the continuous use of users will not promote the further purchase or re-purchase intention. Hence, Future research should scrutinize the difference between diversified contexts of flow experiences. Also, existing studies based on the cross-section method are often difficult to measure the dynamic changes over a short period. Given the flow experience is a rather changing interaction between individuals and IS, future research should consider using novel tools and methods to assess the development of flow state.

Structural Holes Theory

SHT reflects the core idea of competitive social structure. The central proposition of SHT is that if there is no direct connection between one actor and other connected actors in the network, then the actor occupies the structural hole position, which can obtain social capital benefits through brokerage benefit, leading to competitive advantage (Burt, 1992).

SHT creatively analyzes the network from a structural perspective, which helps to identify the key actors and positions as well as expand the vision of extant studies. With the rapid expansion of ICT, individuals could use social platforms as media for meaningful information exchange. Social media platforms, user engagement, information dissemination, and human-computer interaction (HCI) incorporated with social networks are very much crucial in the IM and IS field. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, a limited systematic review is found. Hence, the literature gap we found leads to our exploration of this topic. Specifically, we first systematically sort out the theoretical development of SHT and identify the conclusions of existing literature. More importantly, we identify possible breakthroughs related to SHT in the future.

Theoretical Development

As an important branch of social network theory, SHT largely inherits and develops the relevant findings of other theories. In terms of network relations, drawing from “the strength of weak ties” (Granovetter, 1973), Burt extended the binary relations of weak ties to ternary relations, emphasizing the control of relations. Moreover, Burt revealed that individuals with structural holes can access more exchange opportunities and power, by referencing network exchange theory which presumed that the chance of network exchange is directly related to the network structure (Cook, Emerson, & Yamagishi, 1983). In terms of network topological attributes, Burt proposed four indicators (effective scale, efficiency, hierarchy, and restriction) based on the intermediary centrality algorithm (Freeman, 1977). In terms of the formation and evolution of network structure, contrary to the view that network closure brings social capital (Coleman, 1988), Burt suggested that the structural hole in an open network is the source of social capital.

Furthermore, Burt (1992) identified the existence of secondhand brokerage, which refers to a lack of relations between secondary contacts. Secondhand brokerage will lead to the increase of the depth of structural holes, and thus benefit center actors (Burt, 2007). Also, with the development of emerging technology, virtual structural holes were used to study online social relations (Burt, 2012).

Research Agenda
Measurements and Algorithms of Structural Hole
Measurements of the structural hole

There are two main kinds of classical structural hole measurements, namely structural hole indicators (effective scale, efficiency, hierarchy, and restriction), and intermediate centrality. Moreover, existing studies have proposed other measurements by analyzing the network structure and the attributes of structural holes. For instance, Yu et al. (2017) directly improves the limit system by calculating the relative importance of the nearest neighbor node, proposes an improved structural hole indicator to identify important nodes in complex networks, and verifies that such indicator is better than the intermediate centrality, node degree, and proximity centrality on ARPA (Advanced Research Project Agency) network. Rezvani et al. (2015) suggested a method based on the average distance to mine structural holes by considering the network topology.

Recognition algorithm of the structural hole

With the development of online social networks, it is increasingly critical to accurately identify the nodes occupying the structural hole in large-scale complex networks with community structure. For instance, Zhang et al. (2013) proposed the concept of the generalized structural hole based on the SHT and put forward an effective heuristic generalized structural hole recognition algorithm by establishing the Laplacian matrix in social networks. Lou and Tang (2013) construct the HIS and MaxD algorithm of mining top-k structural holes based on opinion leader and min-cut, respectively.

The Role of Structural Hole on Online Engagement Effectiveness
The impact of the structural hole on online social capital

Theoretically, there is a direct relationship between the structural hole and social capital, and empirical evidence suggests rather negative relations. Specifically, Ganley and Lampe (2009) explored the relations between the structural hole (measured by the degree of restriction) and the online social capital (measured by the level of the community). The results revealed that the structural hole is not conducive to users to improve the reputation level of the virtual community. Similarly, such impact has also been found in the social media platform (Liu et al., 2017). It should be noted that such negative relations may be caused by different perspectives and measurements of social capital.

The impact of the structural hole on online collaboration

With the development of Web2.0 and ICT, wiki-based open collaborative production and community are gradually expanding. Users’ continuous contribution is a necessary condition for the sustainable development of the community. Hence, extant studies emphasized the contribution mechanism in online collaboration by using SHT. It is suggested that structural hole position has a positive effect on online collaboration and contribution, however, such relations are varied from different measurements of the structural hole (Li et al., 2017; Okoli & Oh, 2007). For instance, effective scale significantly affects the users’ contribution while hierarchy and restriction do not have a significant impact. Moreover, empirical evidence also demonstrated the average contribution of participants with local structural holes is significantly greater than that of participants with global structural holes (Zhang et al., 2016), which is contrary to the basic view of SHT, indicating that there are differences between the collaboration mechanism of virtual and offline community.

The Role of Structural Hole on Individual Performance

Similar to the role of the structural holes on social capital, the further mechanisms between structural holes and individual performance remain ambiguous. While it is suggested that employees could use social media to strategically occupy structural holes to further improve job performance (Wu, 2013), several studies also demonstrated structural holes are not much beneficial to the job performance, especially for the dispersed teams (Suh & Bock, 2015). This may also be associated with the inconclusive relations between enterprise social media and job performance (Wu et al., 2021). Moreover, structural holes may act as a mediator in the relations between social media use and job performance.

Future Directions

While the previous literature has achieved fruitful results, there are still several topics worthy of exploration. For instance, it is necessary to distinguish the different types of social media in relation between structural holes and individual performance, as public and enterprise social media are varied from function, usage, and social networks. Also, the moderating effect of demographics of employees and task characteristics should be incorporated into the model. Moreover, the inconsistencies or vagueness of existing findings may need to solve by meta-analysis to derive higher-level conclusions and implications. In terms of measurements and algorithm innovation, it is necessary to combine the topology and content information of the network to mine structural holes, and we could further explore how to find the occupier of the structural hole when the community structure is unknown.

Resource Dependence Theory

RDT mainly focuses on the interaction between organizations and environments, and the survival of organizations needs to access necessary resources from the external environment (Pfeffer & Salancik, 2003). RDT has been widely applied across various fields, such as business, public administration, organizational behavior, and IS. The existing review has revealed the conceptual development, empirical research, and application of RDT from a management perspective (Hillman, Withers, & Collins, 2009).

More importantly, Internet-based ICT provides effective tools and increasing cooperation opportunities for organizations to share resources and weakens the dependence of organizations on existing partners or resources. Hence, the application of RDT in the IM and IS field has been widely scrutinized by both academics and enterprises. However, limited comprehensive reviews have been found compared to fruitful achievements in the literature search. As a result, the literature gap we found leads to the present review, and we try to provide a systematic assessment of the application of RDT in the IM and IS field while offering several directions for future exploration.

Theoretical Development

In the 1940s, Selznick (1949) found that whether the Tennessee residents could digest and absorb the advanced technology introduced by Tennessee basin authorities still depends on the local elite. Although RDT is not explicitly proposed in this study, it does imply the original thoughts of RDT. Later, Thompson, Zald, and Scott (1967) put forward a comprehensive model of organizational power dependence, based on power relation theory (Emerson, 1962) and social exchange theory (Blau, 1964).

Overall, RDT is raised on the foundation of the above theory, and Pfeffer and Salancik (2003) stated that four basic propositions of RDT: the most important thing for an organization is survival, the organization usually does not possess such resources to maintain survival, the organizations must interact with others in the environment on which it relies to obtain resources, and the survival of an organization is based on the ability to control its relationship with others. Furthermore, the importance, use, and substitutability of resources jointly determine how much one organization is dependent on others (Allen, 1985).

Research Agenda
The Role of RDT in the Impact of ICT on Organization

The ability of ICT utilization directly affect the operation efficiency and management level of an organization. The ability of ICT utilization is one of the main core competitiveness of an organization. More importantly, such impact is also related to its development as well as the relations with its partners. Specifically, existing findings demonstrated that how RDT helps the organization to improve their performance. For instance, Straub, Weill, and Schwaig (2008) illustrated that the organization must keep the core ICT resources when outsourcing such technologies to keep the competitiveness and avoid the uncertain risk. Yayla and Hu (2014) suggested another way to maintain higher performance in the dynamic environment, they found the significant effect of directors ’ IT awareness on firm performance as it could reduce the information asymmetry between the board of directors and senior executives while enhancing the supervision of the board.

Extant results also revealed the impact of ICT resources on the mode of inter-organizational cooperation. The role of such resources on maintaining long-term cooperative relations among organizations, however, remains ambiguous. Several studies found the negative impact of ICT resources on long-term relations, as ICT resources could weaken the interdependence between organizations, and make the organization more flexible to face the changes of the external environment. Yet, the inequality of ICT resources may lead to the imbalance of power among organizations, which will make the weaker organizations withdraw from the cooperation and thus destroy the long-term relations (Reekers & Smithson, 1996). Some findings favor the positive links, for instance, Willette (2006) suggested small suppliers could obtain cost leadership by using ICT resources when buyers possess bargaining power, which helps them to improve product differentiation and competitiveness, and thus to establish long-term relations.

The Role of RDT in the ICT Governance of the Organization

RDT focuses on how to combine, integrate and utilize external resources to maximize profits. It is found that external dependence caused by insufficient organizational resources will lead to inter-organizational business integration, while the uncertainty and substitutability of technology related to resources will harm inter-organizational ICT governance (Chatterjee & Ravichandran, 2013). Moreover, information sharing among organizations could help organizations quickly and flexibly adjust their strategy and operation management, and improve the efficiency of organizational cooperation. The development ability of organizations through resource sharing has a significant impact on promoting technology integration (Tsou & Chen, 2012). From the internal perspective, such resource sharing is generally reflected in the higher dependence of the subsidiary on the parent company's resources, and it could help to formulate unified IS standards (Rao, Brown, & Perkins, 2007). More importantly, the governance of ICT resources among organizations will be affected not only by other aspects of governance but also by the relationship norms and bilateral trust (Xiao, Xie, & Hu, 2013).

The Role of RDT in Antecedents of IS Adoption

The decision of an organization to adopt certain kinds of IS is often related to the resources that the organization could obtain and possess, as ICT is also a crucial resource to the survival and competitiveness of the organization. The existing research mainly summarizes the influence of resource scarcity on IS adoption. Specifically, Gupta and Saini (2017) revealed the antecedents of enterprise cloud adoption: the distribution of power in the environment, the availability and scarcity of key resources, and the relations between organizations. Moreover, several studies indicated the decision-making of outsourcing IS is driven by the information quality and IS quality (Jayatilaka, Schwarz, & Hirschheim, 2003; Teng, Cheon, & Grover, 2010). A systematic review outlined the antecedents of the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR), revealed that the financial status and human resources of medical organizations will affect their adoption intention. However, small medical organizations in relatively poor areas may not adopt the EMR as they have limited budgets and human resources (Najaftorkaman et al., 2015).

Future Directions

Extant studies have indicated various interesting findings of the role of RDT in the IM and IS field. In the meantime, such findings also provide several insightful issues worthy of further investigation.

Similar to enterprise organizations, other types of organizations also need to interact with external resources for sustainable development. Future studies may wish to explore the impact of ICT resources on government, educational institutions, and other service organizations. Moreover, this review also illustrated rather inconsistent results of the existing research on whether the role of ICT resources in maintaining long-term cooperative relations among organizations. Further investigation could explore the internal mechanism by using meta-analysis. Also, it is necessary to analyze the dynamic variation with time when examining the impact of ICT on organizational performance. Given the cultural factors inside and outside the organization will inevitably affect the acquisition, understanding, and utilization of organizational resources, it is interesting and necessary to incorporate cultural factors into consideration.

Social Presence Theory

As one of the most influential and cited theories in communication and sociology, SPT aspires to explain the authenticity of communication. The central proposition of SPT is the degree of a person being regarded as a real human and the perception of contact with others in the process of communication with media (Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976). Media usually rely on various linguistic and non-verbal cues to transmit information, and media with more cues often indicate a stronger social presence. With the development of ICT, people are more willing to pursue an immersive feeling in online learning, online gaming, and e-commerce. The appropriate understanding and application of SPT could enhance people's perception of others in various online contexts by shortening the social distance between them. While many findings have been made in the application of SPT in the IM and IS field, systematic review, however, is still limited and rarely found. Hence, we summarize the existing findings and identify the future direction.

Theoretical Development

Initially, Short, Williams, and Christie (1976) suggested that social presence is the inherent attribute of media. Divergent media have a stable level of social presence, and people will match certain kinds of media with social presence according to the characteristics of communication tasks. Hence, their view tends to think that the technical factor of media shapes the perception of social presence, without considering the social factors of the communication process. However, extant findings also revealed the critical role of social factors such as interaction, emoji, and communication skills on social presence. Specifically, social presence is the psychological perception of other people generated by participants in the process of media-based interaction, for instance, people could use emoji to express missing nonverbal clues to enhance the social-emotional experience while improving social presence (Gunawardena & Zittle, 1997). Ijsselsteijn et al. (1998) revealed the subjects’ social presence will change with time as the improvement of information of stimulus materials rather than a change of media. Also, Walther (1995) demonstrated both sides of communication could form the same degree of intimacy as face-to-face communication, and further affect the perception of social presence.

Besides in the field of communication, SPT is also been applied in many other contexts. In the 1990s, SPT was applied to the field of distance learning and revealed the basic concept and composition of social presence, and their role in learning performance and motivation (Gunawardena & Zittle, 1997; Tu, 2002). Around the beginning of the 21st century, SPT has been gradually applied to the field of HCI. Existing literature mainly illustrated the impact of social presence on users’ perception of ease of use, usefulness, and enjoyment, as well as its impact on adoption intention (Marcel et al., 2008). More importantly, SPT has been increasingly incorporated with the e-commerce context and they yield fruitful findings.

Research Agenda
Antecedents of Social Presence

The identification of the antecedents of social presence could provide practical guidance for effectively improving social presence, to better apply the theory to different contexts and fields. In addition to media attributes, interaction, human characteristics and other social factors also affect the perception of social presence, and its influence is sometimes more important than technical factors. Specifically, in terms of media attributes, Yoo and Alavi (2001) compared the different effects of media and group cohesion on social presence. The results revealed that both factors affected social presence while group cohesion had a stronger impact. Kim, Kwon, and Cho (2011) illustrated the impact of media skills on the quality of communication and students’ learning experience. From a social perspective, it is suggested that there is an inverted U-shaped relation between interactivity and social presence. The impact of interactivity on social presence reaches the maximum at medium level and does not increase with the further increase of interactivity, showing a diminishing return effect (Fortin & Dholakia, 2005; Kim, Kwon, & Cho, 2011). Moreover, cues related to human characteristics also have an impact on social presence, such as social relations (Han, Min, & Lee, 2015), personalized greetings (Gefen & Straub, 2003), emotional words with images (Hassanein & Head, 2005), recommendation and user reviews (Benbasat, 2006).

The Role of Social Presence on Online Learning Performance

Online learning can overcome the limitation of time and space, which is more convenient and cost-effective than traditional face-to-face teaching. In the meantime, as researchers gradually realize that social presence can effectively eliminate learners’ loneliness and shorten the psychological distance between teachers and students, how to use social presence to stimulate students’ learning motivation and improve students’ learning performance has become an important research topic in the online learning context. specifically, existing findings of the impact of social presence on online learning performance remain inconsistent. While several studies revealed there are no significant relations between them (Rau, Gao, & Wu, 2008), others detected a rather significant impact (Richardson & Swan, 2003), and such deviation may be caused by the divergent measurements of learning performance. Similarly, the relations between social presence and learning satisfaction have also reached an ambiguous result. For instance, Kim, Kwon, and Cho (2011) demonstrated that social presence could not predict learning satisfaction, while Bulu (2012) revealed the strongest impact of social presence on learning satisfaction among different types of presence. Furthermore, the results from the meta-analysis illustrated that social presence is significantly associated with learning satisfaction, while course length, subject area, and measurements are the moderators (Richardson et al., 2017).

The Role of Social Presence on IS Design

Social presence plays an important role in the process of IS design. The IS system or website with a higher level of social presence could provide a better user experience. Extant studies have demonstrated that designers can incorporate humanity-related clues to make users-system interaction more socialized, to further improve user's social presence and trust. For instance, it is suggested that product recommendation agents will significantly affect users’ perception of social presence when they use human avatars and voice to communicate with users while improving users’ sense of trust and pleasure (Hess, Fuller, & Campbell, 2009; Qiu & Benbasat, 2009). Moreover, social presence has also been applied to the website design. Cyr, Larios, and Bing (2007) found the human image with facial features could promote users to perceive that the website is more attractive, warm, and social presence. Zhu, Benbasat, and Jiang (2010) illustrated that shared navigation and voice chat can significantly improve collaborative shoppers’ perception of social presence.

The Role of Social Presence on Online Group Behavior
The impact of social presence on online interaction and collaboration

Social presence is an important factor affecting online interaction and collaboration. The existing finding suggested that social presence can reduce the psychological distance between online participants, enrich the process of online interaction and collaboration, alleviate the conflicts while improving the efficiency of interaction and cooperation (An, Shin, & Lim, 2009; Murphy, 2004; Xie et al., 2017).

The impact of social presence on online group decision-making

A reasonable understanding of social presence could improve the quality of online group decision-making (Lowry et al., 2010; Miranda & Saunders, 2003). More specifically, a higher degree of social presence will increase the social pressure and normative influence on group members, leading to the reverse relations between the degree of opinion exchange and social presence. While in the computer-mediated communication (CMC) context, members use only word clues to exchange opinions, which has a lower normative influence and reduces the communication anxiety and consistent pressure of members (Sia, Tan, & Wei, 2002). In the meantime, people tend to use media-based interaction to solve different types of group tasks, and it is necessary to choose appropriate media with respective interaction settings and rules to improve the quality of interaction and decision-making (Zhang et al., 2007).

The Role of Social Presence on User Intention

User intention is an important predictor of user behavior, hence, existing studies utilize social presence to explore different types of user behavior intention. In terms of purchase intention, it is suggested that social presence could shorten the social distance between buyers and sellers, and make buyers believe that online exchange relations are similar to the traditional face-to-face interpersonal relationships while reducing uncertainty and enhance their purchase intention (Gefen & Straub, 2004; Pavlou & Xue, 2007). Also, such relations are particularly important to social commerce as users’ purchase intentions are largely driven by their social relations (Hajli et al., 2017). Similar to social commerce, interaction and social attributes may also affect users’ purchase intention of virtual products (Animesh et al., 2011; Jin et al., 2017). More importantly, the extant findings on the relations between trust and social presence have not reached a clear conclusion, and the causal relationship between them remains ambiguous.

In terms of engagement intention, Hong et al. (2014) suggested social presence mediating the impact of perceived interaction, perceived personalization, and perceived sociality on users’ engagement intention in social commerce platforms. Similarly, Kruikemeier et al. (2016) revealed that social presence mediating the impact of interaction mode on engagement intention in the social media context.

The Role of Social Presence on Adoption and Use Behavior

Social presence is very much embodied in the process of user adoption, which can positively affect the acceptance and use of certain products, technology, or service. In terms of product adoption, Karahanna and Straub (1999) revealed that social presence mediating the impact of system usefulness on email system adoption, and Shin (2013) demonstrate the central role of social presence on 3DTV adoption. In terms of technology and service adoption, empirical findings illustrated the social presence is a technological feature, which could positively shape the performance expectation as well as adoption behavior of users (Brown, Dennis, & Venkatesh, 2010).

The improvement of social presence also has a positive impact on users’ continuous use, re-use, and re-purchase, and can further enhance users’ stickiness to products or brands. Empirical evidence has revealed the key role of social presence in the effect of social relations on continuous intention, especially in the social media context (Cheikh-Ammar & Barki, 2016; Han, Min, & Lee, 2015; Tseng, Huang, & Teng, 2015). Moreover, it is suggested that social presence could positively predict re-purchase intention, as the social presence of CMC could enhance users’ trust, and sustained perception (Li & Mao, 2015; Ou, Pavlou, & Davison, 2014).

Future Directions

Through our comprehensive review, we found that SPT in the IM and IS field has yielded relatively fruitful achievements. However, with the continuous innovation and iteration of context and technology, it is necessary to expand SPT to new fields and scenarios. As a result, we identify several directions worth exploring in the future.

Firstly, it is necessary and important to further explore the inconsistent findings in the existing research and explain the reasons for the differences. The existing research mainly adopts objective measurements instead of self-reporting questionnaires, such as eye-tracking. Furthermore, it is also worthy to explore the impact of demographic and contextual characteristics on social presence.

Secondly, augmented reality, hybrid reality, virtual reality, and other digital reality technologies are considered to have great potential to innovate people's lifestyles. Depend on the computer-generated real-time dynamic simulation environment, it creates a realistic flow experience for users and brings a new experience for social presence research. hence, it is very much interesting and scientific to analyze whether such technologies could lead to a better social presence.

More importantly, extant studies mainly focus on the non-mobile context, while there are many differences between mobile interface and PC terminal, it is also worthy to examine whether social presence could affect users’ perception and behavior in the mobile contexts. Moreover, with the development of emerging technology, social presence can incorporate into different practical fields, such as health-care, military, and online tourism.

Illusion of Control (IC) Theory

IC refers to people often overestimate their control ability because of contextual factors or individual factors, resulting in lower risk perception or higher expectation of success probability (Langer, 1975). Such phenomenon has widely existed in work, study, and daily life. Hence, the academics mainly focus on the mechanism of IC as well as its impact on human behavior. Existing literature review and meta-analysis have revealed several antecedents of IC, such as external incentive, involvement, skill estimation, and background factors. Moreover, the effect size of the sequence of the expected stimuli and reinforcement were strongest, which makes individuals mistakenly think that there is a connection between their behavior and results (Presson & Benassi, 1996; Stefan & David, 2013).

There is also a widespread phenomenon of IC in the IM and IS field, and various studies have yielded several important findings. However, a limited literature review is identified on this topic. Hence, we try to provide a comprehensive review of the achievements of IC in the IM and IS field while illustrating the potential direction for future investigation.

Theoretical Development

The application of IC has extended from uncontrollable to controllable context. Various existing studies have revealed several antecedents of IC in the uncontrollable context by using the experimental methodology, such as engagement, competition, selection, reinforcement, and individual pressure (Alloy & Abramson, 1979; Friedland, Keinan, & Regev, 1992; Langer, 1975). Similarly, such factors have also been illustrated in the controllable context. For instance, Thompson et al. (2007) compared the impact of reinforcement on individual IC in the uncontrollable and controllable context and found a significant impact existed in both contexts. Moreover, Gino, Sharek, and Moore (2011) also compared the impact of individual control ability on IC and demonstrated that individuals will underestimate their control ability when they could exert higher control, and vice versa.

More importantly, there are also several external perspectives to explain the mechanism of IC perception. Thompson et al. (2007) proposed the control heuristic perspective to investigate the internal mechanism of IC, such perspective suggested that individuals’ overestimation of their control ability is correlated with their desire to achieve a certain outcome and belief of a correlation existed between their action and the intended outcome. Moreover, Langens (2007) demonstrated that IC evolves in a way that increases regulatory fit, specifically, a promotion focus may foster IC while a prevention focus may buffer against IC.

Research Agenda
Antecedents and Mechanism of IC
The role of decision support systems (DSS) on IC

The relevant studies have mainly illustrated that what-if analysis, the main feature of most DSS, may cause IC to make users overestimate its effectiveness. More specifically, decision-makers of DSS hardly change their positive beliefs of the exaggerated effect of what-if analysis even when it is not beneficial or has no significant impact on the decision-making quality. The reasons for the exaggerated impact of what-if analysis on IC may be because of the lack of a comprehensive and consistent DSS assessment model.

The role of risk analysis and identification on IC

Decision-making needs to analyze the potential risk and cost, however, such risk analysis and other management techniques may not reduce the uncertainty, but may make decision-makers overestimate their mastery of the decision-making project, which leads to project failure (Drummond, 1996). Moreover, Jorgensen (2010) studied whether risk identification can lead to IC among software developers, and found that risk identification will lead to over-optimism and over-confidence in their success rate.

Outcomes of IC

The relationship between risk identification and IC is bidirectional. Compared with risk identification will lead to IC, Houghton et al. (1994) revealed IC would also reduce the risk identification among decision-makers whether in the group or individual decision-making, and group decision-making can not improve the risk identification of decision-makers. Furthermore, IC has also been extended to the online shopping context, Lee, Illia, and Lawson-Body (2011) explored the impact of IC on price fairness perception and suggested that consumers think they could control the transaction price when participating in commodity pricing, which further improves their price fairness perception as well as purchase intention.

Future Directions

Although we summarize the application of IC in the IM and IS field, we should also recognize that IC is still rising in the IM and IS field. IC has rich applications in various IM and IS-related contexts. Based on the existing findings, we propose several IM and IS-related contexts that are worthy to be explored in the future: 1) HCI. It is important to explore and verify the IC in the HCI field, as IC may cause severe system problems and negative outcomes. Hence, it is necessary to explore the antecedents, process, outcomes (both positive and negative), and interventions of IC in the HCI field. Moreover, whether system design, gamification, and navigation could affect uses’ perception of IC is also an interesting topic. 2) Online finance context. It is also worthy to investigate whether online information such as online reviews, announcements, and corporate research reports will affect the IC of investors. 3) E-commerce context. The reference signals in the e-commerce platform will affect consumers’ purchase decisions. Whether these reference signals such as user comments and commodity parameters affect consumers’ perception of IC and purchase decisions, and whether suppliers can manipulate consumers’ perception of IC to promote sales, such topics are worthy of further exploration.

Conclusion

In this paper, we conducted a systematic review to understand the conceptual development and research topics of seven important theories in the IM and IS field. Based on the existing findings, we identified several research agendas while proposing possible future directions respectively, and we summarize these findings in Table 1.

Summary of Existing Findings and Future Directions

What was previously known What we found for the future direction
TMS

The impact of TMS on team performance;

The impact of TMS on knowledge integration.

Build a comprehensive team cognitive model;

Adopt field study and experimental methods;

IMT

Impression management tactics in social media;

Antecedents of impression management in online context;

The impact of impression management on online engagement intention;

Compare with diversified cultural backgrounds;

Focus on the evaluation of impression management effectiveness;

Impression management further affects users’ online behavior;

FT

Measurement of flow (physiological);

Antecedents of flow (technical vs non-technical);

The impact of flow on use and purchase behavior;

Problematic use of IS caused by the flow.

Explore the negative impact of flow experience;

Incorporate with contextual factors;

Scrutinize the difference between diversified contexts of flow experiences;

using novel tools and methods to assess the development of flow state.

SHT

Measurements and algorithms of structural hole;

The role of the structural hole on online engagement effectiveness;

The role of the structural hole on individual performance.

Distinguish the different types of social media;

Incorporate with demographics and task characteristics of employees;

Using meta-analysis to derive higher-level conclusions and implications.

RDT

The role of RDT in the impact of ICT on organization;

The role of RDT in the ICT governance of the organization;

The role of RDT in antecedents of IS adoption;

Explore the impact of ICT resources on other service organizations;

Analyze the dynamic mechanism of the impact of ICT on organizational performance;

Incorporate cultural factors.

SPT

Antecedents of social presence;

The role of social presence on online learning performance;

The role of social presence on IS design;

The role of social presence on online group behavior;

The role of social presence on user intention;

The role of social presence on adoption and use behavior.

Further explore the inconsistent findings in the existing research;

Explore the impact of demographic and contextual characteristics on social presence;

Analyze the impact of digital technologies on social presence;

Examine whether social presence could affect users’ perception and behavior in the mobile contexts.

IC

Antecedents of IC;

Outcomes of IC.

Explore and verify the IC in the HCI field;

Examine the role of reference signals on consumers’ perceptionof IC in the e-commerce platform.

RDT, resource dependence theory; FT, flow theory; HCI, human-computer interaction; IC, illusion of control; IMT, impression management theory; ICT, information and communication technology; IS, information system; SPT, social presence theory; SHT, structural holes theory; TMS, transactive memory system.

By revealing the findings identified above, this paper makes several contributions. Firstly, it demonstrated a clear roadmap for the theoretical development of respective theories. Also, it revealed the existing agenda that synthesizes the extant studies while providing gaps for future exploration; it is very much imperative to form a systematic review since there are only limited relevant reviews available based on such important theories. Secondly, this paper contributes by proposing theoretical and methodological trends in the respective theories. More importantly, this paper identified several critical future directions worthy to explore. As such, future studies may employ various methods to explore these unsolved and inconsistent questions.

Figure 1

Research framework.
Research framework.

Summary of Existing Findings and Future Directions

What was previously known What we found for the future direction
TMS

The impact of TMS on team performance;

The impact of TMS on knowledge integration.

Build a comprehensive team cognitive model;

Adopt field study and experimental methods;

IMT

Impression management tactics in social media;

Antecedents of impression management in online context;

The impact of impression management on online engagement intention;

Compare with diversified cultural backgrounds;

Focus on the evaluation of impression management effectiveness;

Impression management further affects users’ online behavior;

FT

Measurement of flow (physiological);

Antecedents of flow (technical vs non-technical);

The impact of flow on use and purchase behavior;

Problematic use of IS caused by the flow.

Explore the negative impact of flow experience;

Incorporate with contextual factors;

Scrutinize the difference between diversified contexts of flow experiences;

using novel tools and methods to assess the development of flow state.

SHT

Measurements and algorithms of structural hole;

The role of the structural hole on online engagement effectiveness;

The role of the structural hole on individual performance.

Distinguish the different types of social media;

Incorporate with demographics and task characteristics of employees;

Using meta-analysis to derive higher-level conclusions and implications.

RDT

The role of RDT in the impact of ICT on organization;

The role of RDT in the ICT governance of the organization;

The role of RDT in antecedents of IS adoption;

Explore the impact of ICT resources on other service organizations;

Analyze the dynamic mechanism of the impact of ICT on organizational performance;

Incorporate cultural factors.

SPT

Antecedents of social presence;

The role of social presence on online learning performance;

The role of social presence on IS design;

The role of social presence on online group behavior;

The role of social presence on user intention;

The role of social presence on adoption and use behavior.

Further explore the inconsistent findings in the existing research;

Explore the impact of demographic and contextual characteristics on social presence;

Analyze the impact of digital technologies on social presence;

Examine whether social presence could affect users’ perception and behavior in the mobile contexts.

IC

Antecedents of IC;

Outcomes of IC.

Explore and verify the IC in the HCI field;

Examine the role of reference signals on consumers’ perceptionof IC in the e-commerce platform.

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