Miami Herbert professor honored for digital insights

Award-winning research sheds light on digital infrastructure growth.
Miami Herbert professor honored for digital insights
Ola Henfridsson, Miami Herbert professor.

In 2013, Ola Henfridsson, professor at the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School insightfully co-authored and published a paper highlighting three factors that facilitate the growth of digital infrastructure systems, such as online payment platforms.

Henfridsson and University of Oslo professor Bendik Bygstad recently received the 2023 MISQ Impact Award from Management Information Systems Quarterly for writing “The Generative Mechanisms of Digital Infrastructure Evolution.”

The 25-page paper has been cited close to 1,000 times, according to Google Scholar. Management Information Systems Quarterly (MIS Quarterly) is a peer-reviewed academic journal established in 1977 and is ranked as a top academic publication by the Financial Times.  

“This paper was published ten years ago, but I think it’s still very relevant,” said Henfridsson, a Schein Family endowed chair, and Miami Herbert's associate dean of online business programs. “This paper was intended to explain how a platform like PayPal is successful.”

Henfridsson wrote that for digital infrastructure to flourish, it needs high user adoption, a technical structure that innovators can extend to accommodate their needs, and a knack for attracting new partner services.

“These generative mechanisms determine an infrastructure’s growth, the longevity and sustainability of it in the long run,” said Henfridsson.

A five-person MIS Quarterly selection committee chose “The Generative Mechanisms of Digital Infrastructure Evolution” to receive the MISQ Impact Award for 2023, said journal Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burton-Jones.

A business professor with the University of Queensland, in Australia, Burton-Jones said the selection committee was looking for a paper that had:

  • The most significant and sustained scholarly impact, as shown by citations, by how it led to a change in thinking in the field, and by its prescience in identifying an important issue today.
  • A real or potential impact beyond academia, especially through how it influences the way our field engages in an important real-world domain.

“Think to yourself–how will my office productivity software, my internet software, and the software running my phone and car and house all evolve in the coming five years?” Burton-Jones said. “No one knows for sure, but researchers are trying to figure out how they can answer this question, and Ola Henfridsson and Bendik Bygstad are at the frontier of that movement.”

MIS Quarterly has invited Henfridsson and his co-author to write an editorial reflecting back on their precedent-setting paper and what it meant.