The Role of Digital Technologies in New Normal: The Emergence of Contactless Digital Technologies and Services

Call for papers for: Internet Research

Guest Editors

One-Ki (Daniel) Lee
College of Management, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

Jaehyun Park
Department of Design and Architecture, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Japan

Juyeon Ham
School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, China

Younghoon Chang
(Managing Guest Editor)
School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, China

Paper submission due: July 31, 2021


The entire world is experiencing a significant transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current event, which produces an enormous number of infectious and fatalities in most countries around the world within a very short period, threatens our society with very strong propagation power. In response, most countries lockdown businesses, limit the movement of citizens, and implement social distance to slow the rate of transmission of this virus among people. As a result, the entire world is moving toward contactless businesses and daily environments, a.k.a. the contactless, un-tact, or remote society as the new normal (e.g., Dwivedi et al., 2020; Gursoy & Chi, 2020; Pani et al., 2020). In line with this social transformation, the role of digital technologies in such new personal and organizational environments has been disruptively increased and evolved (Carroll & Conboy, 2020; Leclercq-Vandelannoitte & Aroles, 2020; Pan & Zhang, 2020).

This special issue is intended to recruit studies about the role of digital technologies in the new normal environments in various aspects. According to the co-evolution perspective, a societal evolution happens through the co-influences among the different levels of evolutions (Lewin & Volberda, 1999; Johnson et al., 2016; Volberda & Lewin, 2003). Particularly, this special issue focuses on socio-technical phenomena at the individual, technology, service, and organization levels. which are interdependent to each other and are likely to co-evolve through the current event that affects all aspects of human and organizational activities. 


"Diagram showing interlinked components"

Figure 1. Four Components of Contactless Digital Evolution

Under the current pandemic situations, for example, most office workers have been forced to work at home using remote-work computing platforms like video conference applications, which requires significant transformations of organizational work processes and practices (Carroll & Conboy, 2020). Likewise, as most people are required or want to limit their daily travels even for basic daily needs like grocery shopping, on-line purchases, and their deliveries have been dramatically increased in terms of both volume and variety, which requires new service designs and corresponding changes in business strategies and operations (e.g., Gursoy & Chi, 2020; Pani et al. 2020). Therefore, the current changes or transformation to a contactless society triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic need to be understood and explained in terms of the interdependent relationships or co-influences among the above four components as well as their own evolution phenomena.  

Topics of Interests

  1. Contactless Technology Artifacts

In the process of rapid change to a new environment, the roles of information technology (IT) are becoming more important. In traditional environments, products or services have been delivered mainly face-to-face in analog manners. In the new environment, however, not only the delivery of products and services but also the work environment are changing in contactless manners (Lee & Lee, 2020). Behind this digital evolution, there are contactless technology artifacts that constantly interact with users (e.g., self-service systems, remote working systems, distance education systems, internet streaming platforms, etc.). In this case, the scope and depth of functions that can be provided by contactless technology artifacts can be varied according to the needs of users. Accordingly, the types and roles of information technology (Brem et al., 2020; Froehle & Roth, 2004) and their impacts on the new society will also be changed. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • New concepts and theories of the contactless technology artifacts
  • Types and roles of contactless technologies and their impacts on the new society
  • Scope and depth of the contactless technology artifacts
  • Interactions between users and the contactless technology artifacts
  • Case studies about contactless technology artifacts
  1. Contactless Service Design

In emergent situations like the COVID-19, every individual and organizational environment becomes complicated. As Verganti (2009) argues, “design” is a vehicle to understand human behaviors and synthesize new design features beyond the technology-driven innovation. With this notion, information systems and innovation studies have considered a variety of features of digital innovation and transformation (Nylén & Holmström 2019; Nambisan et al., 2017; Yoo et al., 2010). Therefore, “contactless service design” will deal with a research dilemma—how do contactless service design features could represent unexpected human behaviors (desires, needs, and requirements) and transform organizational issues? On this research dilemma, the research topics and issues can be diverse as follows:

  • Discovering contextual inquiries about unexpected human behaviors (desires, needs, and requirements) and creating new contactless service design features
  • Developing contactless service design scenario planning, illustrating the temporal and longitudinal problems, interactions, and solutions
  • Understanding the role of design discipline on the emergent situations (e.g., COVID-19) and providing design policy for the contactless service design
  • Delivering contactless service design theories as a new disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and practice beyond technology-driven and market-driven innovation
  1. Individual Behaviors

Individual user’s adoption and usage behaviors are still an important research area in the information systems society and other academic disciplines. This special issue will also cover this adoption and user’s behavior issues as a core part of understanding the contactless digital technology development and its diffusion in society and the market. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • New theory and perspective for the contactless digital technology adoption and diffusion
  • Success and failure factors of the contactless digital technologies
  • The benefits and risks of adopting contactless digital technologies
  • Individual’s privacy and security issues of the contactless digital technologies
  • Cross-cultural issues related to disruptive information technologies
  • Digital literacy and digital divide issues of the contactless digital technologies
  • Cultural and psychological issues in the technological development of contactless digital technologies
  • User interface, usability, the user experience of the contactless digital technologies.
  • Individual adaptation of the contactless digital technologies
  1. Organizational Transformation

As the business environments have been dramatically changed during the pandemic period with emerging or disappearing market demands and changing compliance requirements, organizations are facing significant challenges to adapt to the huge uncertainties (e.g., Carroll & Conboy, 2020; Gursoy & Chi, 2020;). While many organizations have failed to adapt to such hyper-uncertain environments, some organizations have successfully adapted to the new environments through organizational transformations particularly using contactless digital technologies (e.g., Lee & Lee, 2020). Hence, another set of research topic will be the role of digital technologies in transforming organizations or businesses to be responsive to the contactless society and its new requirements. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Digitally-enabled organizational transformation processes and outcomes
  • Organizational IT resources and capabilities for contactless organizational transformations
  • The emerging and new role of digital technologies in contactless business environments
  • The impacts of contactless digital technologies on internal operations, supply chain, and customer management   
  • The impacts of contactless digital technologies and services on industry competitions
  • Digitally-enabled organizational capabilities for a firm’s survival in the new normal
  • IT governance policies and practices for the contactless digital technologies
  • Emerging IT architectures for the contactless technologies and services.

Research Design and Methodological Requirements

This special issue encourages a variety of research design and methodological approaches including (but not limited to):

  • Conceptual and empirical studies
  • Quantitative, qualitative, and multi-method approaches
  • Using data from direct observations and secondary sources
  • Using correlation-based, econometrics, configurational approaches, data mining, and text mining for data analysis


Submission and Review Schedules

Submission system open: May 1, 2021

Paper submission due: July 31, 2021

First review result: October 31, 2021

Revision due: January 31, 2022

Second review result: March. 31, 2022

Final decision: June 30, 2022


Editorial Review Board

Ajay Kumar, EMLyon Business School, France

Anant Joshi, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Arkalgud Ramaprasad, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Aron Lindberg , Stevens Institute of Technology, USA,

Brian Donnellan , Maynooth University, Ireland

Christian F. Libaque-Saenz, Universidad del Pacifico, Peru

Chulmo Koo, Kyung Hee University, South Korea

Daniel Perez Gonzalez, University of Cantabria, Spain

Haejung Yun, Ewha Womans University, South Korea

Harminder Singh, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Helen S. Du, Guang Dong University of Technology, China

Jae-Nam Lee, Korea University, South Korea 

Jinxing (Gordon) Hao, Beihang University, China

Jinyoung Han, Chung-Ang University, South Korea

Josephine Namayanja, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

Jung Lee, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Kalle Lyytinen, Case Western Reserve University, USA

Keongtae Kim, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China 

Kyung Young Lee, Dalhousie University, Canada

Loo Geok Pee, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Namho Chung, Kyung Hee University, South Korea

Namil Kim, Harbin Institute of Technology, China

Natt Leelawat, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Noha A. Mostafa, Zagazig University, Egypt

Novandra Pratama, University of Indonesia, Indonesia

Philip Sugai, Doshisha University, Japan

Richard Boland, Case Western Reserve University, USA

Shan Jiang, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA 

Shan Wang, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Siew Fan Wong, Sunway University, Malaysia

Soo Il Shin, Kennesaw State University, USA

Soo Jeong (Chris) Hong, Pepperdine University, USA

Sujeong Choi, Mokpo National University, South Korea

Sumin Han, Auburn University, USA

Sunghan RYU USC-SJTU Institute of Cultural and Creative Industry, China 

Yoko Ogushi, Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Japan

Zakaria Abdelgawad, Fayoum University, Egypt

Zeyu (Zerry) Pang, East China University of Science and Technology, China




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