Collaborative Research: Interorganizational Information Systems Integration (Fall 2007 to Fall 2010)

Date: Fall 2007 to Fall 2010

Funding: $292,754

Funding Sources:

  • CSE Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering
  • Division of Information & Intelligent Systems
  • NSF Program(s): HUMAN-CENTERED COMPUTING

Author: Charles Steinfield

One way industries harmonize the actions of individual organizations is via formal agreements on process and specification standards. Little is known about the mechanisms that drive this critical coordination so foundational to our national economic competitiveness. New information architecture technologies (e.g., XML) are rapidly replacing decades-old, stable formats (e.g., EDI), transforming the standards process in unforeseen ways.

This proposal empirically examines the development, adoption, implementation, and diffusion of industry-wide vertical information systems standards in three diverse industries: automotive, retailing, and mortgage finance. As standards diffusion is a complex interaction between independent organization-level action and collective industry-level action, the three case studies are grounded by data collection with a sample of 60 companies from each industry, which enables comparisons of relative success of a standard's adoption and use as well as its consequences. This is a unique multi-level approach, investigating the impact of collective action dynamics on specific IT design features.

Broader impacts: Improved electronic interorganizational collaboration has enormous potential to reduce transaction costs and develop more competitive industries. Such benefits can lead to lower prices for consumers. Moreover, the greater use of open Internet standards promises new opportunities for smaller organizations that were not able to enjoy the full benefits of earlier EDI approaches. The research will also produce materials for the education of practitioners and will advance the state of knowledge in several fields, including information systems and technology, management, industrial engineering, economics, sociology, and social informatics.

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