Ned Kock

Ned Kock is a professor of Information Systems and the Director of the Collaborative for International Technology Studies, in the Sanchez School of Business, at Texas A&M International University. He holds degrees in electronics engineering (B.E.E.), computer science (M.S.), and management information systems (Ph.D.). Ned has authored and edited several books, including the bestselling Systems Analysis and Design Fundamentals: A Business Process Redesign Approach. Ned has published his research in a number of high-impact journals including Communications of the ACM, Decision Support Systems, European Journal of Information Systems, IEEE Transactions (various), Information & Management, Information Systems Journal, Journal of the AIS, MIS Quarterly, and Organization Science. He is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of e-Collaboration, Associate Editor of the Journal of Systems and Information Technology, and Associate Editor for Information Systems of the journal IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. His research interests include e-collaboration, human evolution, action research, ethical and legal issues in technology research and management, and business process improvement.

Publications

Intended Continued Use Social Networking Sites: Effects on Job Satisfaction and Performance
Ned Kock, Murad Moqbel, Kevin Barton, Valerie Bartelt. © 2018. 22 pages.
Hedonic information systems are those that are used primarily for pleasure. Previous research has established that the intention to use hedonic information systems is explained...
How Likely is Simpson's Paradox in Path Models?
Ned Kock. © 2017. 7 pages.
Simpson's paradox is a phenomenon arising from multivariate statistical analyses that often leads to paradoxical conclusions in the field of e-collaboration as well as many...
Structural Equation Modeling with Factors and Composites: A Comparison of Four Methods
Ned Kock. © 2017. 9 pages.
Recent methodological developments building on partial least squares (PLS) techniques and related ideas have significantly contributed to bridging the gap between factor-based...
Which is the Best Way to Measure Job Performance: Self-Perceptions or Official Supervisor Evaluations?
Ned Kock. © 2017. 9 pages.
Among latent variables that can be used in e-collaboration research, job performance is a particularly important one. It measures what most e-collaboration tools in organizations...
Variation Sharing: A Novel Numeric Solution to the Path Bias Underestimation Problem of PLS-Based SEM
Ned Kock, Shaun Sexton. © 2017. 23 pages.
The most fundamental problem currently associated with structural equation modeling employing the partial least squares method is that it does not properly account for...
Visualizing Moderating Effects in Path Models with Latent Variables
Ned Kock. © 2016. 7 pages.
Path models with and without latent variables are extensively used in e-collaboration research. Both direct and moderating relationships can be included in such path models....
An Extension to Simulated Web-Based Threats and Their Impact on Knowledge Communication Effectiveness
Ruth Chatelain-Jardon, Jesus S. Carmona, Ned Kock. © 2016. 14 pages.
This paper presents an extension to the study by Kock, Chatelain-Jardon, and Carmona (2008), An Experimental Study of Simulated Web-Based Threats and Their Impact on Knowledge...
Wikipedia and e-Collaboration Research: Opportunities and Challenges
Ned Kock, Yusun Jung, Thant Syn. © 2016. 8 pages.
Wikipedia's precursor started in the year 2000 as a traditional online encyclopedia with content controlled by a small group of experts. In 2013 Wikipedia's current...
Intended Continued Use Social Networking Sites: Effects on Job Satisfaction and Performance
Ned Kock, Murad Moqbel, Kevin Barton, Valerie Bartelt. © 2016. 19 pages.
Hedonic information systems are those that are used primarily for pleasure. Previous research has established that the intention to use hedonic information systems is explained...
Hypothesis Testing with Confidence Intervals and P Values in PLS-SEM
Ned Kock. © 2016. 6 pages.
E-collaboration researchers usually employ P values for hypothesis testing, a common practice in a variety of other fields. This is also customary in many methodological...
Advantages of Nonlinear over Segmentation Analyses in Path Models
Ned Kock. © 2016. 6 pages.
The recent availability of software tools for nonlinear path analyses, such as WarpPLS, enables e-collaboration researchers to take nonlinearity into consideration when...
How Likely is Simpson's Paradox in Path Models?
Ned Kock. © 2015. 7 pages.
Simpson's paradox is a phenomenon arising from multivariate statistical analyses that often leads to paradoxical conclusions in the field of e-collaboration as well as many...
One-Tailed or Two-Tailed P Values in PLS-SEM?
Ned Kock. © 2015. 7 pages.
Should P values associated with path coefficients, as well as with other coefficients such as weights and loadings, be one-tailed or two-tailed? This question is answered in the...
A Note on How to Conduct a Factor-Based PLS-SEM Analysis
Ned Kock. © 2015. 9 pages.
The composite-factor estimation dichotomy has been the epicenter of a long and ongoing debate among proponents and detractors of the use of the partial least squares (PLS)...
Common Method Bias in PLS-SEM: A Full Collinearity Assessment Approach
Ned Kock. © 2015. 10 pages.
The author discusses common method bias in the context of structural equation modeling employing the partial least squares method (PLS-SEM). Two datasets were created through a...
Advanced Mediating Effects Tests, Multi-Group Analyses, and Measurement Model Assessments in PLS-Based SEM
Ned Kock. © 2014. 13 pages.
Use of the partial least squares (PLS) method has been on the rise among e-collaboration researchers. It has also seen increasing use in a wide variety of fields of research....
Using Data Labels to Discover Moderating Effects in PLS-Based Structural Equation Modeling
Ned Kock. © 2014. 16 pages.
PLS-based structural equation modeling is extensively used in e-collaboration research, as well as in many other fields of research. Two main types of exploratory analyses are...
Interdisciplinary Applications of Electronic Collaboration Approaches and Technologies
Ned Kock. © 2013. 299 pages.
With the advent and advancement of E-Collaboration tools, our way of social interaction and online social behavior has altered drastically. With new ways of communicating and...
Using WarpPLS in E-Collaboration Studies: Descriptive Statistics, Settings, and Key Analysis Results
Ned Kock. © 2013. 17 pages.
This is a follow-up on a previous article (Kock, 2010b) discussing the five main steps through which a nonlinear structural equation modeling analysis could be conducted with the...
Using WarpPLS in E-Collaboration Studies: Mediating Effects, Control and Second Order Variables, and Algorithm Choices
Ned Kock. © 2013. 13 pages.
This is a follow-up on two previous articles on WarpPLS and E-collaboration. The first discussed the five main steps through which a variancE-based nonlinear structural equation...
Media Naturalness Reduction and Compensatory Channel Expansion: A Study of Online and Face-to-Face Sections of the Same Course
Ned Kock, Vanessa Garza. © 2013. 12 pages.
This study provides a combined test of the media naturalness and channel expansion theories with a study of communication media perceptions and use outcomes in the context of a...
Analyzing Software Piracy from Supply and Demand Factors: The Competing Roles of Corruption and Economic Wealth
Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol, Jose Luis Daniel, Shaun Sexton, Ned Kock. © 2013. 15 pages.
This study analyzes the competing roles of economic wealth and corruption on software piracy based on the supply-demand perspective. The study argues that even though greater...
Representation Type Preferences in Operational Business Process Redesign: A Quasi-Experimental Field Investigation
Ned Kock. © 2013. 24 pages.
This paper reports on a quasi-experimental field study in which business process redesign groups in four different US organizations used two different business process...
Using WarpPLS in E-Collaboration Studies: What if I Have Only One Group and One Condition?
Ned Kock. © 2013. 12 pages.
What if a researcher obtains empirical data by asking questions to gauge the effect of an e-collaboration technology on task performance, but does not obtain data on the extent...
Advancing Collaborative Knowledge Environments: New Trends in E-Collaboration
Ned Kock. © 2012. 318 pages.
Effective technologies and tools for e-collaboration are central to the development and evolution of modern work and educational landscapes. Studies on the design...
Using WarpPLS in E-Collaboration Studies: An Overview of Five Main Analysis Steps
Ned Kock. © 2012. 11 pages.
Most relationships between variables describing natural and behavioral phenomena are nonlinear, with U-curve and S-curve relationships being particularly common. Yet, structural...
Analyzing Software Piracy from Supply and Demand Factors The Competing Roles of Corruption and Economic Wealth
Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol, Jose Luis Daniel, Shaun Sexton, Ned Kock. © 2012. 15 pages.
This study analyzes the competing roles of economic wealth and corruption on software piracy based on the supply-demand perspective. The study argues that even though greater...
Exploring Free Questionnaire Data with Anchor Variables: An Illustration Based on a Study of IT in Healthcare
Ned Kock, Jacques Verville. © 2012. 18 pages.
This paper makes an important methodological contribution regarding the use of free questionnaires, illustrated through a study that shows that a healthcare professional’s...
E-Collaboration Technologies and Organizational Performance: Current and Future Trends
Ned Kock. © 2011. 434 pages.
As modern electronic communication devices and technologies continue to evolve, the discipline of e-collaboration becomes an increasingly significant area of study....
Using WarpPLS in e-Collaboration Studies: Descriptive Statistics, Settings, and Key Analysis Results
Ned Kock. © 2011. 18 pages.
This is a follow-up on a previous article (Kock, 2010b) discussing the five main steps through which a nonlinear structural equation modeling analysis could be conducted with the...
Media Naturalness Reduction and Compensatory Channel Expansion: A Study of Online and Face-to-Face Sections of the Same Course
Ned Kock, Vanessa Garza. © 2011. 12 pages.
This study provides a combined test of the media naturalness and channel expansion theories with a study of communication media perceptions and use outcomes in the context of a...
Representation Type Preferences in Operational Business Process Redesign: A Quasi-Experimental Field Investigation
Ned Kock. © 2011. 23 pages.
This paper reports on a quasi-experimental field study in which business process redesign groups in four different US organizations used two different business process...
The Information Overload Paradox: A Cross-Cultural Research Study
Ned Kock, Ana Rosa Del Aguila-Obra, Antonio Padilla-Meléndez. © 2011. 17 pages.
Information overload is one of the major problems for individuals and organizations in modern urban environments. This phenomenon has been studied for many years, and has proven...
Using WarpPLS in e-Collaboration Studies: Mediating Effects, Control and Second Order Variables, and Algorithm Choices
Ned Kock. © 2011. 13 pages.
This is a follow-up on two previous articles on WarpPLS and e-collaboration. The first discussed the five main steps through which a variance-based nonlinear structural equation...
International Journal of Distributed Systems and Technologies (IJDST)
Nik Bessis. Est. 2010.
The International Journal of Distributed Systems and Technologies (IJDST) focuses on integration techniques, methods, and tools employed in applied distributed computing systems...
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on E-Collaboration: Emerging Trends and Applications
Ned Kock. © 2010. 472 pages.
Expansive growth and use of the Internet in recent years has led to computational networking and an increased use of e-collaborative technologies leading to many possibilities...
Achieving World Peace through International Trade: Can E-Collaboration Technologies Help Make this Happen?
Ned Kock. © 2010. 11 pages.
Can e-collaboration technologies help achieve world peace by supporting international trade? At first glance, this seems like an unusual and somewhat nonsensical question. The...
Can Virtual Worlds Support E-Collaboration and E-Commerce? A Look at Second Life and World of Warcraft
Ned Kock. © 2010. 12 pages.
Recent years have seen the growing use of virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft for entertainment and business purposes, and a rising interest from researchers...
Using WarpPLS in E-collaboration Studies: An Overview of Five Main Analysis Steps
Ned Kock. © 2010. 11 pages.
Most relationships between variables describing natural and behavioral phenomena are nonlinear, with U-curve and S-curve relationships being particularly common. Yet, structural...
E-Collaboration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Ned Kock. © 2009. 1890 pages.
Over the past few decades, the significantly evolving area of e-collaboration has incorporated and adapted numerous electronic technology devices to become a global phenomenon...
Virtual Team Leadership and Collaborative Engineering Advancements: Contemporary Issues and Implications
Ned Kock. © 2009. 396 pages.
Virtual team leadership and collaborative engineering bring teams, product engineering, and processes into the 21st century through the use of e-collaboration technologies. These...
The Information Overload Paradox: A Structural Equation Modeling Analysis of Data from New Zealand, Spain, and the USA
Ned Kock, Ana Rosa Del Aguila-Obra, Antonio Padilla-Meléndez. © 2009. 19 pages.
The information overload phenomenon has been studied for many years, and has proven to be more complex than researchers believed it to be. The study presented here aims at...
A Basic Definition of E-Collaboration and its Underlying Concepts
Ned Kock. © 2009. 7 pages.
Electronic collaboration (e-collaboration) is operationally defined here as collaboration using electronic technologies among different individuals to accomplish a common task...
Government Funding of E-collaboration Research in the European Union: A Comparison with the United States Model
Ned Kock, Pedro Antunes. © 2009. 9 pages.
Government funding of e-collaboration research in both the US and EU seems to be growing. In the EU, a key initiative to promote governmental investment in e-collabo-ration...
Adaptations that Virtual Teams Make so that Complex Tasks Can Be Performed Using Simple E-Collaboration Technologies
Dorrie DeLuca, Susan Gasson, Ned Kock. © 2009. 23 pages.
Using the theoretical lens of compensatory adaptation theory, this study examines how organizational problem-solving teams adapt to lean media and effectively communicate. We...
A Web-Enabled Course Partnership
Ned Kock, Gangshu Cai. © 2009. 6 pages.
This article discusses a course partnership involving a large engineering and professional services company, and a public university, both headquartered in Philadelphia,. An...
E-Collaboration and E-Commerce in Virtual Worlds: The Potential of Second Life and World of Warcraft
Ned Kock. © 2009. 12 pages.
Virtual worlds can be defined as technology-created virtual environments that incorporate representations of real world elements such as human beings, landscapes and other...
A Comparative Analysis of E-Collaboration Research Funding in the European Union and the United States
Ned Kock, Pedro Antunes. © 2009. 9 pages.
Much of the funding for research and development initiatives in the area of e-collaboration comes from government agencies in various countries. Government funding of...
Managing Operational Business Processes with Web-Based Information Technologies
Ned Kock. © 2009. 9 pages.
Traditionally management schools of thought that emphasize certain types of work structures usually appear earlier than information technologies (IT) geared at supporting those...
The Ape that Used E-Mail: An Evolutionary Perspective on E-Communication Behavior
Ned Kock, Vanessa Garza. © 2009. 13 pages.
This chapter reviews theoretical research on e-communication behavior, identifying two main types of theories: technological and social. Based on this review, it provides the...
E-Collaboration in Modern Organizations: Initiating and Managing Distributed Projects
Ned Kock. © 2008. 320 pages.
E-Collaboration in Modern Organizations: Initiating and Managing Distributed Projects combines comprehensive research related to e-collaboration in modern organizations...
Encyclopedia of E-Collaboration
Ned Kock. © 2008. 750 pages.
E-collaboration, while having its roots in electronic technology such as telephones and other rudimentary electronicdevices, has expanded dramatically with today's plethora...
E-Collaboration and E-Commerce In Virtual Worlds: The Potential of Second Life and World of Warcraft
Ned Kock. © 2008. 13 pages.
Virtual worlds can be defined as technology-created virtual environments that incorporate representations of real world elements such as human beings, landscapes and other...
Incorporating Simulated Animal Attacks in Human Technology Interaction Interfaces: The Predictive Power of Biosemiotics and Evolutionary Psychology
Ned Kock. © 2008. 20 pages.
Enhanced cognition within the temporal vicinity of animal attacks arguably allowed our hominid ancestors to better build and associate memories related to the animals and their...
The Ape that Used E-Mail: An Evolutionary Perspective on E-Communication Behavior
Ned Kock, Vanessa Garza. © 2008. 13 pages.
This chapter reviews theoretical research on e-communication behavior, identifying two main types of theories: technological and social. Based on this review, it provides the...
Using Computer-Mediated Groups to Improve University Processes: An Action Research Study in New Zealand
Ned Kock, James Corner. © 2008. 15 pages.
We describe in this chapter an action research study of a computer-mediated business process redesign (BPR) group in a New Zealand university. The BPR group used an integrated...
A Basic Definition of E-Collaboration and its Underlying Concepts
Ned Kock. © 2008. 6 pages.
Electronic collaboration (e-collaboration) is operationally defined here as collaboration using electronic technologies among different individuals to accomplish a common task...
Global Funding of E-Collaboration Research
Ned Kock. © 2008. 5 pages.
The term e-collaboration refers to collaboration among individuals involved in the execution of common tasks using electronic technologies (Kock, 2005, 2007). Therefore...
Task Constraints as Determinants of E-Collaboration Technology Usefulness
Ned Kock. © 2008. 4 pages.
This article provides a brief review of one e-collaboration technology-task fit theory, and argues that it focuses (like most technology-task fit theories) on what can be...
Virtual Teams Adapt to Simple E-Collaboration Technologies
Dorrie DeLuca, Susan Gasson, Ned Kock. © 2008. 7 pages.
The knowledge that virtual process improvement teams have been successful (DeLuca, Gasson, & Kock, 2006; Kock & DeLuca, 2006; DeLuca & Valacich, 2006; Kock, 2006) and lessons...
Bridging the Industry-University Gap through Action Research
Ned Kock. © 2008. 8 pages.
Virtually every university in the US and overseas has seen a significant increase in demand for information technology (IT) courses and programs in the last 10 years (Greenspan...
Adaptations that Virtual Teams Make so that Complex Tasks Can Be Performed Using Simple E-Collaboration Technologies
Dorrie DeLuca, Susan Gasson, Ned Kock. © 2008. 23 pages.
Using the theoretical lens of compensatory adaptation theory, this study examines how organizational problem-solving teams adapt to lean media and effectively communicate. We...
Emerging e-Collaboration Concepts and Applications
Ned Kock. © 2007. 330 pages.
The range of topics covered in Emerging E-Collaboration Concepts and Applications are broad and representative of the state-of-the-art discussion of conceptual and applied...
Government Funding of E-collaboration Research in the European Union: A Comparison with the United States Model
Ned Kock, Pedro Antunes. © 2007. 12 pages.
Government funding of e-collaboration research in both the US and EU seems to be growing. In the EU, a key initiative to promote governmental investment in e-collabo-ration...
A Discussion of Key Conceptual Elements of E-Collaboration
Ned Kock. © 2007. 10 pages.
This chapter defines e-collaboration, and provides a historical glimpse at how and when e-collaboration emerged. The discussion suggests that the emergence of ecollaboration had...
Action Research and its Use in E-Collaboration Inquiry
Ned Kock. © 2007. 9 pages.
This chapter begins with a discussion of action research from a historical perspective. It then puts forth some ideas on how this research approach can be used in investigations...
Are We Genetical Maladapted for E-Collaboration?
Ned Kock, Donald Hantula. © 2007. 11 pages.
Do we have e-collaboration genes, that is, genes that code for biological adaptations that are well aligned with the demands posed by e-collaboration? A look at our ancestral...
Evidence of Compensatory Adaptation to Unnatural Media in a Field Study of Process Redesign Dyads
Ned Kock. © 2007. 34 pages.
Much of the past research on electronic communication media suggests that those media pose obstacles to communication in collaborative tasks when compared with the face-to-face...
Adaptations that Virtual Teams Make so that Complex Tasks Can Be Performed Using Simple E-Collaboration Technologies
Dorrie DeLuca, Susan Gasson, Ned Kock. © 2006. 27 pages.
Using the theoretical lens of compensatory adaptation theory, this study examines how organizational problem-solving teams adapt to lean media and effectively communicate. We...
Unexpected Outcomes of Lean E-Collaboration
Ned Kock. © 2006. 5 pages.
Over the years, many theories have been used to understand e-communication and e-collaboration behavior (Kock, 2004; Markus, 2005). Arguably, the most widely used among those...
Business Process Improvement Through E-Collaboration: Knowledge Sharing Through the Use of Virtual Groups
Ned Kock. © 2005. 283 pages.
Business Process Improvement Through E-Collaboration: Knowledge Sharing Through the Use of Virtual Groups is written around two main theses. The first is that business process...
International Journal of e-Collaboration (IJeC)
Jingyuan Zhao. Est. 2005.
The International Journal of e-Collaboration (IJeC) addresses the design and implementation of e-collaboration technologies, assesses its behavioral impact on individuals and...
Compensatory Adaptation to Media Obstacles: An Experimental Study of Process Redesign Dyads
Ned Kock. © 2005. 27 pages.
Past research on electronic communication media suggests that those media pose obstacles to communication in collaborative tasks when compared with the face-to-face medium. Yet...
Introduction
Ned Kock. © 2005. 10 pages.
One cannot help but admire the accomplishments achieved by organizations over the years, and their impact on society in general. While some may argue that we have become too...
Some History
Ned Kock. © 2005. 21 pages.
Organizational development is the generic field of research and practice concerned with structural organizational changes that can have a positive impact on competitiveness. It...
What is a Business Process?
Ned Kock. © 2005. 19 pages.
Business process improvement can be defined as the analysis, redesign, and subsequent change of organizational processes to achieve performance and competitiveness gains. The...
Data, Information and Knowledge
Ned Kock. © 2005. 22 pages.
Quite often we hear the words data, information, and knowledge being used as if they were synonymous. But aren’t data, information, and knowledge actually the same thing? And if...
Business Process Improvement and Knowledge Sharing
Ned Kock. © 2005. 16 pages.
As we have seen earlier in this book, knowledge, whether stored in the brain, computer databases, or other storage media, is more often than not used for the processing of...
The Effects of E-Collaboration Technologies on Groups
Ned Kock. © 2005. 31 pages.
The business environment since the 1990s is characterized by a tremendous explosion in the amount of information flowing within and outside organizations. Information flows...
The E-Collaboration Paradox
Ned Kock. © 2005. 12 pages.
This chapter advances a new explanation for some of the apparently contradictory findings discussed earlier in the book, which, in turn, reflect fairly well the body of mixed...
Successful Business Process Improvement through E-Collaboration
Ned Kock. © 2005. 29 pages.
The idea of business process-focused improvement has been with us for many years. Many speculate that it is as old as the total quality management movement, which began in Japan...
Some Realistic Recommendations for Organizations
Ned Kock. © 2005. 14 pages.
The first electronic digital computer, the ENIAC, was developed in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, with funding from the United States Army. By then...
Using MetaProi to Improve Business Processes
Ned Kock. © 2005. 38 pages.
In my earlier discussion in this book about business process improvement and organizational learning, I have shown that business process improvement has the potential to foster...
A Close Look at Twelve Business Process Improvement Groups
Ned Kock. © 2005. 31 pages.
In this chapter, I provide a structured description of 12 business process improvement groups conducted at MAF Quality Management and Waikato University, both in New Zealand. I...
Statistics for Those Who Hate Statistics
Ned Kock. © 2005. 12 pages.
When we analyze quantitative evidence (e.g., numbers) that describe a particular situation or phenomenon, we often need to generate coefficients based on specific statistical...
Bridging the Industry-University Gap through Action Research
Ned Kock. © 2005. 6 pages.
Virtually every university in the US and overseas has seen a significant increase in demand for information technology (IT) courses and programs in the last 10 years (Greenspan...
Advances in E-Collaboration
Ned Kock. 2005.
The Advances in E-Collaboration (AECOB) Book Series publishes books that address the design and implementation of e-collaboration technologies, assess the behavioral impacts of...
Bridging the Industry-University Gap: An Action Research Study of a Web-Enabled Course Partnership
Ned Kock, Camille Auspitz, Brad King. © 2002. 21 pages.
This chapter discusses a course partnership involving Day & Zimmermann, Inc. (DZI), a large engineering and professional services company, and Temple University. The course’s...
Process Improvement and Knowledge Communication
Ned Kock. © 2002. 13 pages.
Given the prominent role that information processing seems to play in organizational processes, and the assumption that information processing relies heavily on knowledge, the...
The Effects of Collaborative Technologies
Ned Kock. © 2002. 19 pages.
As discussed in previous chapters, one of the main reasons why such explosion of information flow is taking place is the specialization of knowledge. As more and more knowledge...
Bridging the Industry-University Gap: An Action Research Study of a Web-Enabled Course Partnership
Ned Kock, Camille Auspitz, Brad King. © 2002. 20 pages.
This chapter discusses a course partnership involving Day & Zimmermann, Inc. (DZI), a large engineering and professional services company, and Temple University. The course’s...
E-communication of Interdepartmental Knowledge: An Action Research Study of Process Improvement Groups
Ned Kock, Robert J. McQueen. © 2002. 20 pages.
This chapter presents a review of the organizational learning literature that points to process improvement (PI) groups as an appropriate tool for organizational knowledge...
Process Improvement and Organizational Learning: The Role of Collaboration Technologies
Ned Kock. © 1999. 198 pages.
Process improvement, a key element of the most influential management movements in the 1980s and 1990s, can itself be considerably improved by the use of information technology....