Photo of Zenan Chen

Zenan (Alan) Chen

PhD Candidate
Information & Decision Sciences


  • BBA 2018
    Economics The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen


Zenan "Alan" Chen is a final-year Ph.D. candidate in the Information and Decision Sciences department at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. His research is centered on the design and societal implications of digital tools, such as large language models (LLMs) and social media blockers. Key areas of his research delve into 1) the impact of technological tools on individual work outcomes, 2) the design considerations of digital platforms at a macro level using analytical modeling, and 3) the societal effects of emerging AI technologies.

A hallmark of Zenan's research approach is the utilization of experimental design combined with software engineering. He has self-developed and deployed software features in experiments to assess their effects, often leveraging fine-grained and unstructured data to capture detailed insights into user behaviors and technological impacts. He has also co-developed software tools and platforms, sharing them openly with the public.

His research contributions are under review at esteemed IS journals, including Management Science and Information Systems Research. He has presented his findings at renowned IS conferences such as CIST, ICIS, and WITS, and has been honored with recognitions like the CIST 2023 Best Student Paper Runner-up, ICIS 2022 Best Track Paper Award, WITS 2022 Best Student Paper Award, the Dean’s Small Grant from the Carlson School of Management, and the highly selective Carlson School of Management Dissertation Fellowship. Beyond his research, Zenan has been actively involved in the academic community, notably as a founding member of MISQ Insider, a platform that provides insights into pivotal IS research.

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Selected Works & Activities

  • Working Papers
    Large Language Model in Creative Work
  • Working Papers
    Less is Not Always More: The Impact of Block Intensity and Immediacy of Social Media Blockers on Work Time
  • Working Papers
    The Coordination of Functionality Richness, First-party Content Quality, and Revenue-sharing on Digital Platforms
  • Working Papers
    Would AI Replace Friends? Examining the Impact of AI Interaction Frequency on Social Relationships
  • Working Papers
    Dynamics of User Preference in the Broadband Market: Implications on Pricing, Broadband Provision, and Coverage

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