The purpose of this paper is to explore the orientations of collaborative networks (CNs) for managing integrated information flow. It seeks to analyse and shed light into the main priorities of firms for sharing and coordinating information with CN partners. These priorities are needed to enhance practices to trade-off and integrate flows where appropriate for maximising profits and performance.
In this study, inductive multiple-case logic is applied to research how six industrial firms manage integrated information flow in relation to their collaborative networked organisations (CNOs). Guided by an interpretivism epistemology, 22 face-to-face and 13 telephonic semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 key informants in six industrial firms. Interview data were analysed in line with the research agenda to understand orientations for integrated information flow.
The research finds that CN management is enhanced when flow integration for industrial firms is skill, project, agreement and relationship oriented. The investigation also finds that CNO flow integration could be enhanced when industrial firms confront and prioritise schemes for fluidity prevention, systematised templates, procedural prompts, implementation checklists, confidence building, issuance policies and concern separation.
The major contribution of this paper is an exposition on priorities for integrated information flow within CNs. It also offers insights that suggest industrial firms can boost the performance of their CNOs by: working in small knit highly skilled teams, tactically implementing manufacturability and marketability programmes, strategising their production contracts and strengthening their company-customer-supplier ties.
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