October 6, 2022
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School of Management researcher explores cutting-edge topics in artificial intelligence, online healthcare

Jinglu Jiang, assistant professor of management information systems, shares deep passion for research

Jinglu Jiang, assistant professor of management information systems Jinglu Jiang, assistant professor of management information systems
Jinglu Jiang, assistant professor of management information systems Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

Amazon’s Alexa knows you well — but how well do you know her? Jinglu Jiang, assistant professor in the School of Management, explores this question and more through her work in the field of management information systems (MIS).

With a deep passion for research, Jiang investigates the relationship between humans and intelligent agents to understand how technology impacts people on an individual level as well as within a team. Intelligent agents are artificial intelligence (AI) entities, such as Alexa and Siri, that perform a service autonomously and augment human decisions based on inputs and data from their environment.

“When I do this research, my aim is to discover the mechanism behind it,” she says. “What are the motivational factors that contribute to whatever someone’s behavior is online?”

It’s no secret that technology influences human behaviors, and that intelligent agents may learn from people’s behaviors and adapt to the situation — but what exactly happens during this exchange?

By drawing on theories from fields such as sociology and psychology, Jiang conducts research to understand human-agent interactions in various contexts such as digital healthcare and team-based decision-making. That’s how she gains a further understanding of how, for example, people interact with their Fitbit or why patients may rely on Siri to create reminders on their iPhone.

“My primary goal is to create or expand my own theory for human-agent interaction,” Jiang says.

Jiang’s recent contribution to the field of MIS has been a theoretical one published in MIS Quarterly. She and her colleagues proposed a theoretical framework that explains how IT can facilitate various stages and elements of self-management of chronic diseases. This framework can be used to design IT-based self-monitoring interventions that could potentially result in higher adherence to chronic care interventions.

Jiang and several colleagues also recently published a paper in Information Systems

Frontiers that tried to clarify why patients developed a lack of trust in online healthcare, addressing both those who do not use online medical consultation and those who use it and eventually stop. Jiang and her colleagues learned that many patients did not think they would get the best care possible from both interpersonal and technological standpoints.

In addition to these papers, Jiang’s research on digital healthcare and human-agent interaction has also been published in a number of research publications such as MIT Sloan Management Review, Information Processing and Management and the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

A passion for investigation

While completing her bachelor’s degree in China, Jiang was introduced to research through an undergraduate exchange program at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. She enjoyed it and eventually returned to Queen’s for a master’s degree.

As a doctoral candidate at HEC Montréal, she grew interested in research dealing with the managerial aspects of IT and IT-augmented decision-making. Her research focused on how people digitize themselves and their lives, and how that influences individual productivity and team effectiveness.

Jiang expects to study other topics within the realm of human-agent interaction in the future. She still loves the act of research, which she describes as the fun part of her job.

“It’s internally driven, my passion and my interest,” Jiang says. “I am willing to spend 12 hours every day on one research project because I still find it interesting to investigate certain research questions.”

She believes that a certain attitude and work ethic are required in research. It’s a lesson she learned from one of her mentors as a graduate student.

“You have to question the attitude you have,” Jiang says. “When you’re doing your research project, are you task-driven? Or do you really want to know the facts and the knowledge behind a topic and make an effort to prove it? If you only view it as a task you have to do, you cannot be successful as a lifetime researcher.”