Date of Award

August 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Member

Jason B Thatcher

Committee Member

Michelle S Carter

Committee Member

Janis L Miller


Digital technologies have deeply weaved into the infrastructures of society and organizations, fundamentally transforming how individuals interact with each other and, consequently, transforming how individuals verify and express their sense of self. Rooted in this context, this dissertation explores two hitherto largely ignored areas in Information Systems (IS) research with two essays related to the theme of self and identity. The first essay investigates whether and how stigmatized self presented on social media (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn) impacts a job applicant’s hireability ratings. Nowadays, more and more companies use social media to screen job applicants before contacting them for interviews. This process, termed social media (SM) assessments, is convenient in many aspects, however, it is potentially discriminatory. What is even worse, recruiters might not be fully aware of the discrimination during SM assessments given the lack of structure. We need to understand the mechanisms through which stigmatized self presented on social media impact hireability in order to mitigate potential discrimination. This essay uses a veteran with PTSD, the effect of which on hireability has not been looked at yet, as the proxy for stigmatized self. With a pair of experiments using Facebook and LinkedIn profiles that vary the presence of PTSD disclosure and of individuating information, this essay found that PTSD can lead to stigmatization of the job applicant. The stigmatization led to lower hireability ratings. We also found support for the mediating mechanisms of trust, which has not been extensively investigated in the literature on personnel selection. This essay contributes to the literature by exploring PTSD’s effect on hireability, investigating trust’s role in the process, and unpacking potential discrimination during SM assessments. The second essay theorizes how individuals, using digital technologies, verify their sense of self, and achieve self-continuity both actively and passively. IS researchers tend to focus on the active mechanisms, but these passive mechanisms through which individuals verify their sense of self are largely ignored. This essay contributes to the IS literature by juxtaposing the active and passive mechanisms through which individuals using digital technologies to achieve their sense of self-continuity (termed digital self-continuity).



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