Wullianallur Raghupathi on Relationship of Sustainability to Information and Communication Technologies

By Matthew Hacke, Fordham student.

On Tuesday, December 1st, Information Systems Professor Wullianallur Raghupathi, spoke to Management Systems Professor Michael Pirson’s Sustainable Business Foundations class. Professor Raghupathi presented his work regarding sustainability, specifically within the realm of information and communication technologies, or otherwise known as ICTs. The presentation, aptly titled “The Strategic Association between Information and Communication Technologies and Sustainability: A Country-Level Study,” was a collaborative research effort by Professor Raqhupathi and Fordham Management System Professor Sarah Jinhui Wu. As noted by Raghupathi, the hypothesis of this study looked to explain that ICTs have the power to promote the sustainable efforts of a country. After examining multiple factors influencing ICTs and sustainability, the results proved that their hypothesis was indeed correct—that ICTs do in fact promote a country’s sustainable efforts.
In a detailed handout that Professor Raghupathi provided to each student regarding the project’s research, it specified that this data was based upon an analysis of sustainability at the macro-level, or in other words, the impact on society as a whole. One of the interesting graphics in the slides and in the document broke down the explanatory and dependent variables, as well as the control variable in the study. The explanatory variables consisted of the factors influencing the ICTs, including: accessibility, affordability, quality, institutional efficiency and sustainability and applications. Arrows connected them to the five dependent variables characterizing sustainability including: environment, transportation infrastructure, energy consumption efficiency, economic development and education. The control variable was the country-level income.
Upon further explanation, the class learned that these dependent variables were contingent upon measurement factors derived from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators—which included measurements such as carbon dioxide emissions under the environment dependent variable and electric power transmission and distribution loss under the energy consumption efficiency dependent variable. All of these measurements provided evidence that helped Professor Raghupathi and Professor Wu come to the conclusion that their hypothesis about ICTs promoting a country’s sustainability was in fact correct—with the hope being, that these research findings will play a critical role in relaying the necessity of country-level ICT infrastructure investments in order to exercise sustainability.
Throughout the entirety of his presentation, Professor Raghupathi had the class chuckling with his quirky sense of humor, which really added to overall engaging talk he gave. He ended by taking a few questions from the audience—which even included some discussion about computer hacking. Ultimately, Professor Raghupathi’s speech was a terrific way to end the course speaker series and it truly sparked some interesting thoughts and discourse amongst the class.