Project

Digital Transformation of the Taxi Industry

Goal: This research stream aims to investigate how digital transformation occurs in the taxi industry. Our multidisciplinary approach combines longitudinal process research, policy, practice theory, impact and sociotechnical research.

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Karin Väyrynen
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Interact researchers Väyrynen and Lanamäki receive AIS Impact Award
The Association for Information Systems (AIS) has awarded Karin Väyrynen and Arto Lanamäki the AIS Impact Award. The award was given for the societal impact in studying technology regulation in the context of the Finnish taxi industry. The award ceremony was held in the annual International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) in Austin TX in December 2021. The chair of the award committee Dr. Tilo Böhmann noted: “When someone cites your work writing to the European Commission you can be pretty proud of that.” Väyrynen and Lanamäki have studied digital transformation in the Finnish taxi industry since 2017.
Information about the AIS Impact Award: https://aisnet.org/page/AISImpactAward
 
Karin Väyrynen
added a research item
Dynamic pricing (DP) was introduced into the taxi industry through ride-sharing platforms such as Uber. Prior research has identified benefits of DP for ride-sharing organizations, drivers and consumers. A legal reform in Finland in July 2018 made DP of taxi rides legally possible. However, even though traditional Finnish dispatch organizations have adopted different technology (e.g., ride-hailing apps), they have not adop-ted DP. To find out the reasons for the non-adoption, we conducted a qualitative case study among Finnish dispatch organizations. Utilizing IT artifact as an analytical lens, we identified ten aspects related to the technology, the structure and the context within which DP is embedded that help explain why it has not been adopted. We propose that DP in the taxi industry should be seen more broadly than just as “Uber-type” real-time DP, as it has been viewed in previous literature. Our findings have implications for research and practice.
Karin Väyrynen
added a research item
The principle of technology neutrality (PTN) is being used as a starting point for regulation by regulators around the world. While technology neutral ICT regulation is seen as an answer to regulators' struggles to keep up with fast-paced changes of ICT, also critique towards this principle has been voiced. Here, we report on the results of a scoping review we conducted on literature in three research databases to summarize the current understanding of the benefits and challenges in the context of technology neutral regulation. We contribute to IS research by introducing to the IS community four benefits of and seven challenges related to technology neutral regulation-which has been foremost addressed in legal research so far-and by suggesting three research themes and questions for future IS research on, e.g., technology innovation, the development, adoption and use of technology, and a better theorization of the PTN.
Karin Väyrynen
added 2 research items
Institutions influence the design, use and adoption of information technologies. The IS field has a long tradition in institutional analyses, especially concerning how ICT gains legitimacy in organizational settings. However, few analyses have been conducted on how legal reforms influence regulative ICT legitimacy. We studied the effect of policy ambiguity on regulative legitimacy through a revelatory case study of a legal reform concerning the taximeter regulation in Finland. The regulation changed from being specific and providing legal certainty to being ambiguous and resulting in legal indeterminacy. We contribute to the IS institutions and legitimacy research stream by arguing that the transition from specific to ambiguous regulation shifted the locus of regulative legitimacy from an inherent property of legal formulation to a processual form, and provide a framework to support studies on regulative change by distinguishing between type of policy and legal state of the technology. Our study has methodological implications.
Arto Lanamäki
added a research item
Digital transformation has become a central construct in information systems (IS) research. Current conceptualizations largely attribute transformation to intentionality, focus on transformation within a single organization, or assign technology the role of a disruptive agent of change. Likewise, “digital” tends to be a general category of technology, rather than a specific technology enacted in a time and place. Inspired by Schatzkian practice theory and its site ontology, we suggest a contextual viewpoint on digital transformation and call it “relational digital transformation.” We analyzed the change dynamics in the context of taxi dispatch practice in Finland, studying the changing taxi dispatch platforms over years. We investigated five powerful industry actors: two incumbents, two entrants, and a federation of taxi entrepreneurs. We identified events of change in the material arrangements in sites and explain the changes through the process dynamics in the focal practice. We define relational digital transformation as a process through which practice-arrangement bundles of digital technologies evolve over time. This approach assumes the default nature of an industry is to be found in the changing relations between entities rather than in entities themselves. This provides a theoretical extension to the prevailing views of digital transformation in IS literature. It enables studying digital transformation in retrospect without attributing change agency to any entities or technologies a priori. We also contribute to practice-theoretical IS literature by demonstrating how the applicability of practice theoretical analysis extends beyond microphenomena to larger industry-level changes.
Karin Väyrynen
added a research item
The Finnish taxi industry has already long been technologically developed, and since 2011 taxi hailing apps have been available in Finland. The amount of these apps has steadily increased, spurred by the arrival of Uber and Taxify in Finland in 2014, and by the deregulation of the Finnish taxi industry in July 2018. In the present paper, the aim was to identify ride-hailing app acquisition related strategies that traditional Finnish dispatch organizations (DOs) employ. A qualitative case study with five focus organizations was conducted between 2018-2020. This study contributes to extant research in two ways. First, by identifying five ride-hailing app strategies employed by DOs (three related to the question of make vs. buy, two related to discontinuing/selling). Second, by showing that different ride-hailing apps can play different strategic roles-which helps explain DOs' multihoming strategy-and that the strategic role of a specific ride-hailing app can change over time.
Karin Väyrynen
added a research item
Suomen taksiala on ollut myllerryksessä 2018 kesällä voimaan tulleen liikennepalvelulain jälkeen. Taksamittariin liittyvä sääntely on ollut suurimpia epäselvyyden lähteitä. Olemme Oulun yliopiston Interact-tutkimusyksikössä tutkineet taksialan digimuutosta jo vuodesta 2017 alkaen. Taksamittarisääntely on yksi tutkimuksemme painopisteistä. Tässä raportissa kerromme analyysimme taksamittarisääntelyn nykytilanteesta ja tulkintamahdollisuuksien ongelmakohdista. Tunnistimme kaksi kohtaa, joita tulkitaan monilla eri tavoilla: (1) milloin hinta perustuu ajan tai matkan mittaamiseen, ja (2) millainen on taksamittaria vastaava laite tai järjestelmä. Olemme tunnistaneet nämä epäselvyydet, analysoineet eri toimijoiden tulkintoja sääntelystä ja tutkineet markkinalla käytössä olevia teknologisia ratkaisuja hinnan määrittämiseen. Analyysimme auttaa ymmärtämään eri tulkintojen taustoja ja tekemään tarpeellisia korjauksia lainsäädäntöön. Tunnistimme kuusi nykyisin käytössä olevaa teknologiaa, joilla hinta määritellään ja ilmoitetaan: tyyppisertifioitu kiinteästi asennettu taksamittari; kiinteästi asennettu taksamittari, jonka tyyppisertifiointi on kesken; sertifioimaton fyysinen taksamittari, jota ei ole kiinteästi asennettu; internet-pohjainen kyydinvälitysalusta, jossa hinta on sitova; internet-pohjainen kyydinvälitysalusta, jossa hinta ei ole sitova; ja sovelluskaupasta ladattu ”taksamittarisovellus.” Lisäksi käytössä on tapa, jossa kuljettaja ja asiakas sopivat hinnasta ilman teknologiaa. Ehdotamme myös huomioonotettavia asioita ja kysymyksiä lainsäädäntöuudistusta varten, koskien taksamittaria ja sille rinnakkaisia laitteita tai järjestelmiä.
Arto Lanamäki
added a research item
Information Systems (IS) researchers have become increasingly interested in policy. Government policy enables and constrains the range of technologies operating on the market. In the spirit of enabling innovation, governments around the world have moved to the principle of technological neutrality: regulating goals instead of specific technologies. In this paper, we focus on the legislative context of the Finnish taxi industry. Finland's previous legislation mandated all taxicabs to be equipped with a taxi-meter, while prohibiting other vehicle classes from using it. Finland's recent deregulation reform The Act on Transport Services adopted the principle of technology neutrality and thus introduced deliberate ambiguity into legal text. This ambiguity leaves room for different stakeholders to construct their own interpretations. For this paper, we conducted 19 interviews with five stakeholder types in the Finnish taxi industry and related regulatory bodies: legislators, legislation implementers, new entrants, incumbent taxi industry, and incumbent technology providers. We found how policy ambiguity opened a plethora of contesting discourses about what this seemingly mundane technology is for. We depart from the mainstream conception of policy, which views policy as a "best practice" that can be easily transferred across contexts. Instead, we call for more attention to policy ambiguity, multi-stakeholder policy contexts , and conflicting power interests.
Karin Väyrynen
added an update
Arto Lanamäki and Karin Väyrynen wrote a column for the Finnish newspaper Kaleva about why - after the deregulation of the Finnish taxi market - the expected jump to mobile ride ordering channels has not yet happened.
 
Karin Väyrynen
added a research item
While the worldwide market expansion of Uber has raised controversy, Uber has also received praise for its mobile phone app. Its many features – taxi ordering, pricing, real-time location information, paying, and service evaluation – have provided significant customer value. When Uber entered Finland in November 2014, few other taxi apps were available. Between 2014 and 2018, this shortage of taxi apps turned into an abundance, with many companies introducing their own taxi apps. By leaning on institutional theory, and more specifically by applying coercive, mimetic and normative pressures as a lens, we provide an explanation for why three Finnish taxi apps now resemble Uber in some features, whereas they differ in others. Based on our interviews, we can explain the present-day differences between these apps by coercive and normative pressures in the institutional environment of the Finnish taxi industry. We contribute to the IT and institutionalization research stream by illustrating how mobile applications as IT artefacts can be seen as carriers of institutional pressures materializing in the features they provide.
Arto Lanamäki
added a research item
While the worldwide market expansion of Uber has raised controversy, Uber has also received praise for its mobile phone app. Its many features – taxi ordering, pricing, real-time location information, paying, and service evaluation – have provided significant customer value. When Uber entered Finland in November 2014, few other taxi apps were available. Between 2014 and 2018, this shortage of taxi apps turned into an abundance, with many companies introducing their own taxi apps. By leaning on institutional theory, and more specifically by applying coercive, mimetic and normative pressures as a lens, we provide an explanation for why three Finnish taxi apps now resemble Uber in some features, whereas they differ in others. Based on our interviews, we can explain the present-day differences between these apps by coercive and normative pressures in the institutional environment of the Finnish taxi industry. We contribute to the IT and institutionalization research stream by illustrating how mobile applications as IT artefacts can be seen as carriers of institutional pressures materializing in the features they provide.
Arto Lanamäki
added an update
DigitalPlatformsandWork21012018_shortversion.pdf - positioning the research agenda for Digital Platforms and Work
 
Arto Lanamäki
added a project goal
This research stream aims to investigate how digital transformation occurs in the taxi industry. Our multidisciplinary approach combines longitudinal process research, policy, practice theory, impact and sociotechnical research.