IS in Interorganizational Networks
Theme of the Special Issue: This special issue explores the traditional and unique aspects of information systems in interorganizational networks. What makes the application of information systems different when applied between organizations and not, solely, within an organization? One key difference is the lack of central command in interorganizational systems, a characteristic often found in enterprise systems. Absent a single hierarchical control, information systems of different network actors must link and combine in ways that are driven more by ‘market-like’ behavior. Non-harmonized processes of differing actors must quickly connect together and provide end-to-end control to all actors involved without the benefit of central command. The pervasive use of information network technology such as the Internet makes ‘process linking’ and ‘shared control’ key challenges for effective networked information systems. This is a technical as much as a managerial challenge. It begins with a fundamentally different point of departure: Interorganizational networks rather than individual companies are often a determining factor in competitive advantage. Organizations and companies combining in agile and dynamic networks are able to generate exceptional or ‘smart’ results that the individual company will not be able to match or improve (Vervest et al., 2004; van Heck & Vervest, 2007; van Heck & Vervest, 2009).