Prof. Victor Mbarika

My Research Interest

My research is focused on identifying the social, cultural, and infrastructural elements that accelerate or decelerate information technology and business knowledge transfer to developing economies – both domestically in the US, and internationally, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Much of this research targets the interactions of human technology interaction, user experience, and the potential impact of minorities and women in information technology. I have adopted an eclectic mix of social science and technical research approaches in all three streams of this research. Essentially, much of my work looks at how societies and cultures impact the transfer and adoption of information technology and vice-versa. This research, using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in 20+ countries, has resulted in 200+ publications – textbooks, book chapters, and peer-reviewed journal articles.
To support this research, I have been fortunate to have secured more than $4 million in funding from external sources (i.e., funding secured in addition to the funds provided by my employing Universities). This funding includes ongoing grants from foundations, nonprofits, and governments. Primary sources from which I secure research funding include –
 National Science Foundation (NSF)
 NSF’s Office of International Science & Engineering
 NASA
 State of Louisiana
 African Development Bank (among many others)
There is a demonstrated need for focused research on the transfer and management of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures and web based technologies for developing economies. Although ICTs are well established in wealthy areas, the same is not true for developing economies in general. Research focused on ICT transfer and management in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, a major region within the world’s second largest continent, is almost non-existent in mainstream IS research. In fact, two decades ago, not counting my own publications, a search of six major IS publication outlets (The Information Society, Information Systems Journal, MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Communications of the ACM, Journal of the AIS, and Journal of MIS) revealed only one article published related to Sub-Saharan Africa (de Vreede et al. 1998). Similarly, looking back at those early years about two decades ago, only one article (in Communications of the ACM) published any ICT work emphasizing Sub Saharan Africa (Goodman et al. 1993). There are other journals, such as the Journal of Global Information Management, The African Journal of Information Systems and the Journal of Global Information Technology Management, dedicated to information systems in a global context, which include research on Sub-Saharan Africa. However, this research on developing countries’ global context has often overlooked the particular situation of Sub-Saharan Africa, home to 32 of the world’s 48 least developed countries. Given this background, I have spent a large part of my academic career investigating information technology transfer issues in this region (and the similar but distinct issues impacting economically challenged areas in the US) and have published extensively in over 200 journals, books and conferences. I have published in the some of the journals listed above, including Journal of the AIS, Information Systems Journal, The Information Society, Communications of the ACM and other premier journals not listed above such as European Journal of Information Systems, IEEE Transactions on Education and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. The IS research community has a unique and valuable perspective to bring to the ICT infrastructure the challenges this region faces, and can substantially improve ICT transfer and management. There exists a plethora of benefits that could accrue to Sub-Saharan Africa countries based on sound ICT transfer –
 Health – TeleHealth & TeleMedicine
 Education – Remote / Distance Learning
 Trade – Commerce & Ecommerce
 Democracy & Related Freedoms – Digital Democracy
 Theory Bases:
o Task-Technology Fit Theory
o Cognitive Learning Theory

I examined potential relationships between the use of multimedia instructional materials and higher order cognitive skill improvement with two intervening variables: the learning-driven factor and the content driven factor. The learning-driven factor is composed of constructs that show the intrinsic value of the instructional materials to the end user. The learning driven factor also explains how the multimedia instructional materials were used as a tool to challenge the end user in learning difficult management and technical topics, in connecting theories and practice, in improving students’ understanding of basic concepts, and in providing the students a platform on which to learn from one another. The content-driven factor is composed of constructs that measure the extrinsic value provided to the end-user by the use of multimedia instructional materials. The end user has no control over the design of this factor. This factor constitutes the technical quality of the multimedia instructional material, how easy it is to use and locate information contained on the instructional material, and how the design of the instructional material helped to make it easier and more feasible to complete assigned tasks in a timely manner.
 Theory Bases:
o Racioethnicity
o Social Identity and Similarity-Attraction

The extremely low percentage of minority faculty in IS / IT illustrates the gap between minority versus non-minority academics. This global trend is conspicuous in many parts of the world—minority black / majority white academics in England, minority Aborigine / majority white academics in Australia, minority black / majority white academics in Canada, and for the purpose of my research, the minority Native American, Hispanic American, and African American academics compared to the majority white academics in the US. I examined the low levels of racioethnicity and mentoring in the information systems/science fields and offered lessons learned from The Ph.D. Project (business doctoral programs for minorities) model for sparking change and mentoring within the IS / IT community. Using data from a six-year period, I examined diversity issues, lessons learned, and was able to make practical recommendations and methodologies for mentoring a group of under represented information systems /science doctoral students. Mentoring under-represented groups offers the field a myriad of avenues to change the “face” of the classroom and reduce these gaps.