• Posted Oct. 11, 2017

How to develop information systems for inter-organisational networks?

Study: Bernhard R. Katzy, Gordon, Sung, & Kevin Crowston. Alignment in an inter-organisational network: the case of ARC transistance. European Journal of Information Systems, November 2016.


Business firms are increasingly part of inter-organisational networks, and information systems provide an essential infrastructure for these networks. Traditionally, strong alignment between information systems and business strategies is seen as prerequisite for organisational performance. But, how to reach IS-business alignment in case of several business strategies as they exist in inter-organisational networks?

How it was studied:

These recommendations are based on the experiences from the formation phase of the ARC Transistance network organisation. This organisation is an inter-organisational network comprising thirty-eight independent European automobile clubs, with partially shared and partially diverging business interests. The study examined the development of the common information system for this organisation.

Take away:

The study makes important recommendations for the development of information systems for interorganizational networks:

  • Reaching and maintaining network alignment is a long-term effort requiring regular communication between partners.
  • The information system should match the current state of the inter-organisational structural relationship.
  • Using a system development project as an instrument of change and network alignment increases the risk to both the project and network alignment.
  • For network organisations, neither a simple match between one business and one information system, nor the most possible alignment among business strategy and information systems, is sufficient for success.
  • For network organisations, an information system that is neutral to a specific business strategy (e.g., open standard information systems) enables a broader adoption and thus better performance through supporting multiple business strategies,

Bernhard R Katzy

started his professional career as a car mechanic and later earned master degrees in electrical engineering and business management and a Ph.D. in industrial management from University of Technology (RWTH) Aachen in Germany. Until his untimely death in November 2015, he was professor at the University BW Munich (D) and Leiden University (NL), and director of CeTIM – Center for Technology and Innovation Management.

Gordon Sung

was a member of the Center for Technology and Innovation Management’s Virtual Organisation Competence team. He received his Ph.D. on the topic of Coordination & Communication of Virtual Projects from the University BW Munich.

Kevin Crowston

is a Distinguished Professor of Information Science in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. He received his A.B. (1984) in Applied Mathematics (Compu- ter Science) from Harvard University and a Ph.D. (1991) in Information Technologies from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Publication Details

  • Authors:Bernhard R Katzy
  •  Gordon Sung
  •  Kevin Crowston
  • Categories: Information Systems
  • Link: https://www.tandf...

European Journal of Information Systems
  • Year: 2016
  • Volume: 25
  • Issue: 6
  • Pages: 553–568

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