Paul Benjamin Lowry, the Suzanne Parker Thornhill Chair Professor in the Pamplin College of Business, has received the 2018 Operational Research Society’s Stafford Beer Medal, together with his three co-authors, for a journal article on organizational privacy.

The medal is awarded in recognition of the most outstanding contribution to the philosophy, theory, or practice of information systems published in the European Journal of Information Systems within the year.

An internationally recognized scholar, Lowry has been identified as the world’s No. 1 information systems scholar, based on publications over the past five years in the top six journals in the field.

In the study, “Examining the Intended and Unintended Consequences of Organizational Privacy Safeguards: A Grounded Theory Investigation,” Lowry and his co-authors addressed a security and privacy issue largely overlooked by previous research: how medical practices can achieve a balance between privacy and utility that meets privacy requirements without impeding workflow.

The authors note that their study provides an in-depth understanding of the actual outcomes and implications of privacy safeguards in healthcare organizations. It introduces a theoretical framework to clearly show the process by which the consequences, intended and unintended, of implementing privacy safeguards are evaluated and bypassed and how the process affects organizational privacy compliance.

The authors, who include researchers from Penn State and Quinnipiac University, note that their work is interdisciplinary, converging the research streams of information systems and health informatics, and presents an in-depth view of privacy management within the healthcare domain.

The Operational Research Society is the world’s oldest-established learned society catering to the operational research profession. The award is named in memory of Stafford Beer, a world leader in the development of systems ideas, especially management cybernetics, and president of the society from 1970 to 1971.