Discusses the issue of business‐to‐business e‐commerce implementation and the factors affecting it, considering the appropriateness of the various theories which underpin research into systems implementation (primarily diffusion of innovation and traditional change management theory). Describes the results of a case study of BHP Steel, the largest steel producer and one of the largest companies in Australia, which is a leader in e‐commerce implementation. The results suggest that, over time, the driving force for e‐commerce changed significantly. From an initial push to improve current business processes by adopting EDI to achieve savings and improve efficiency, the company came to be driven by a desire for greater supplier involvement and customer service in later implementations. Discusses the ways in which BHP Steel’s e‐commerce innovations have changed and suggests that, in addition to considering the characteristics of the innovation process, other more contextual aspects of implementation (such as the social system in which the innovation evolves and the timing of the innovation’s introduction) be considered in an inter‐organizational context.
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