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New professor Ting Li puts RSM in leading position in digital business

Dr Ting Li has been appointed Professor of Digital Business at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). This new academic chair, endowed by the Erasmus Trustfonds (Erasmus Trust Fund), aims to lead the development and dissemination of knowledge in the field of information systems, digital strategy and business analytics.



Growth of mobile devices, digital technologies, social media, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data and connected cars has created new opportunities across different industries as companies innovate to meet changes in consumer demand, and has given rise to new business challenges from digital transformation to platform strategy, bringing digitisation of human behaviours, information personalisation, and privacy concerns to the forefront. The field of digital business is a broad field encompassing several main areas of research, all related to digital transformation enabled by the use of innovative digital technologies in a business context.

Professor Ting Li works closely with companies and organisations to bring new knowledge from her findings straight into business through industry collaboration projects and RSM’s executive education courses. She is also the academic director of RSM’s MSc in Business Information Management programme, and is the founding member of the Erasmus Centre for Data Science and Business Analytics.

Digitisation of human behaviour

Prof. Li’s research revolves around understanding the impact of emerging technologies on consumers, organisations, public policies, and system designs. “These technologies allow us to examine people’s behaviour and their interactions in both online and offline environments. Learning from such fine-grained, large-scale digital traces of individual behaviour can help us understand individual decision-making across different platforms, channels and devices,” she said, adding it is becoming increasingly important for organisations in various areas, such as marketing, finance, operation, healthcare, transportation, to learn from such digitised behavioural traces in order to lead successful transformations and to compete in the digital economy. She says she sees good opportunities to make a strong impact on theory, research, and practice in the area of digital business.

Competitive strategy

Her research aims to contribute to the ongoing discourse on the impact of IT/information in competitive strategy and economics of information systems literature.

Theoretically, Prof. Li thrives to propose new theoretical perspectives to develop the understanding of why and how firms develop digital capabilities, using not only IT but most importantly information, to improve their business capabilities, and the impacts of information on consumer behaviour and decision-making, and how this knowledge can be used to improve public policies and system designs.

Methodologically, her research applies interdisciplinary approaches combining survey, lab experiments, large-scale randomised field experiments, eye-tracking, agent-based simulation, with machine learning techniques such as sentiment analysis and text mining to empirically investigate the strategic use of information.

Practically, the goal is to introduce methods, models, and principles to guide organisations to manage informational challenges and strategise the fully informed market environment.

Three themes

Prof. Ting Li’s research and education focuses on three themes:

  • Information as a strategy. The aim in this research direction is to understand the impact of firms’ strategic use of information on firm performance and individual decision making in areas such as digital advertising, online platforms, mobile targeting, supply chain, health care, financial services, education, and urban transportation.
  • Information personalisation. Information personalisation is a popular and effective way used to reduce user effort for the assessment of abundant information load. In this line of research, she focuses on targeting, retargeting, personalisation, and recommendation systems in digital, social and mobile platforms. Prof. Li studies how firms can leverage consumer information (obtained from click-stream data, purchase data, ad campaign data, social media data, mobile data, search data) to design and tailor hyper-differentiated products, services, and information to different consumers across multiple channels and devices.
  • Information privacy concerns. A major characteristic of the digital economy is the collection, aggregation, analysis, and leveraging of people’s private information given the relative ease by which data can be collected during browsing online, interacting with friends on social media platforms, and using their mobile devices. It is increasingly important for future research to understand how people make decisions about their privacy in the context of increasingly connected world that arguably poses substantial risks to people’s privacy in exchange for relatively meagre rewards.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at mschouten@rsm.nl.


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