Many firms have to use more than one inter-organizational information system (IOS) to support their communications with partners. The use of multiple systems can reduce the full benefits of IOS adoption. To account for this, we introduce a new concept: the landscape of inter-organizational information systems. Relying on collective action theory, we describe how opposing strategies of actors shape the IOS landscape and preclude the business community from attaining the landscape which represents collective level optimum because of the exclusive nature of this public good. Individual firms, alliances, and community representatives push the IOS landscape either towards more standardization, more hub-type connections, and less substitutable IOSs, or towards less standardization, more point-to-point connections, and more substitutable IOSs. Certain interests can prevail for a while but in practice there seems to be no equilibrium state for the business community IOS landscape which can be sustained for a prolonged period of time. We support our theoretical propositions with evidence from a case study in a seaport setting.

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Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Romochkina, I., van Baalen, P., & Zuidwijk, R. (2016). A Tug-of-War: Shaping the Landscape of Inter-Organizational Information Systems. Retrieved from