Dorothy E. Leidner, Leslie H. Goldberg Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professor of Business & AI Ethics at University of Virginia

Talk title: Theory and Theorizing in IS Research with Insights from a Morality Theory Of Online Public Shaming


This presentation will begin with my thoughts on theory and theorizing in IS research. I will then present the theory from a paper under 2nd round review at ISR.  I will discuss the original theorizing and theory, the reviews, and the current theorizing and theory.  Online public shaming (OPS) is a phenomenon fueled by the impulse to informally police morality using technology features on the Internet and associated technologies – particularly social media. By blending together three theories: social identity, the social intuitionist model of moral judgment, and the needs-affordances-features framework, we theorize three phases of online public shaming where moral intuitions are triggered when (1) individuals are victims of or witnesses to mistreatment of others and are driven to expose wrongdoing during the exposing phase, (2) users encounter recordings of moral violations on social media, and they develop moral impulses to enforce norms, seek cognitive closure, and retributively punish a shamee during the shaming phase, and (3) the shamee’s social and professional connections are driven to respond to the pressure generated during an OPS episode in the responding phase.  We derive propositions to explain how perceptions of social identity by arbiters, awareness of affordances, and non-human agent (i.e., technology artifacts and tools) affordances impact the strength of moral impulses generated during online public shaming episodes. Our discussion highlights the various interventions that social media platforms may enact to curtail this dark side of technology use phenomenon, and the strategies that shamees and their social and professional contacts may enact to reduce the consequences of OPS episodes.


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About Dorothy E. Leidner:

Dorothy E. Leidner is the Leslie H. Goldberg Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professor of Business & AI Ethics at the University of Virginia. She holds a BA, MBA, and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.  In 2019, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas.  Dorothy holds an honorary doctorate from Lund University.  She is a Fellow and LEO of the Association for Information Systems.  Dorothy is a Professor Emeritus of Baylor University.

In the past 30 years, Dorothy’s research has focused on the impact of new information technologies on individuals, teams, organizations, and society.  Her work has been recognized with 11 best paper awards and over 50,000 citations (scholar google).  Her research covers an array of methods, with roughly equal attention to theory papers, empirical papers, and practitioner-oriented papers.