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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
the first paper of this issue explores the impact of technology on business value – a much-debated issue with its origins in the evaluation literature. In particular, determining the impact of information technology (IT) on business value remains a key challenge for information systems (IS) researchers and practitioners alike from the perspective of consensus building. The value of IT on a business holds the conditions of systematic and advantageous use of the IT resource. From Germany, Heinz-Theo Wagner and Tim Weitzel – extend their earlier work by proposing an IT production function that incorporates organisational routines and alignment. The authors report organisational routines are decisive for turning firms’ resources into an IT capability and in turn, better business process performance. In regards to the latter, the authors perform a critical review of the resource-based literature that leads to the construction of an IT value framework based on IT capability, resource, and routines and then formalised as an IT production function. The biggest contribution of this paper appears to be how the IT value creation process in general and routines in particular can be measured and formalised.
Following on the value strand, the next paper represents an international collaboration between Jimmy Huang, Sue Newell, Brad Poulson and Robert D. Galliers. In their paper, they conceptualise the unique value that can be created by performing a commodity process, in this case, call handling at a call centre, as a means of challenging the notion that an organisation should differentiate between the management of a core competence and a commodity process. To explore this matter further, the authors conduct an inductive case study where they examine the strategic planning and management of a call centre in one of the largest retailers headquartered in the UK. Based on the findings derived from the study, the authors propose a notion of “differentiated commodity” to illustrate that a commodity process, such as handling customers’ complaints and enquiries using standard call-centre technologies, can be significantly beneficial to the business, if embedded into the architecture and management of the business process. The findings not only challenge the aforementioned assumption but also provide an explanation as to how strategic value can be generated by performing commodity processes, which is often under-estimated.
From New Zealand, in the next contribution, Andreas Schroeder and David Pauleen investigate the case of a knowledge intensive research organisation. Their paper (which received the best paper award at Knowledge Management in Asia Pacific (KMAP) 2005, November 28th and 29th, Wellington, New Zealand) is to identify the knowledge management (KM) governance configuration of an organisation and, to investigate its impact on the development of knowledge management. To satisfy the exploratory characteristics of the study and to allow for an in-depth investigation and rich description, a single-case research strategy was adopted. The authors use this approach to extrapolate data from a single organisation with its respective KM governance configuration and KM approach. The findings portray the particular importance of the centralized structure of the KM function for the creation of synergies among the different KM aspects; and the importance of leadership, communication and coordination processes to integrate other functions and to promote KM aspects in the organisation.
Moving on, French companies are increasing establishing codes of conduct specific to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Reporting from France, Marie Bia and Michel Kalika attempt to identify organizational factors influencing the adoption and diffusion of a formal code of conduct. The authors review the literature and find out that such codes have multiple goals, such as improving efficiency of use, IS security awareness and ethics. The authors use a survey instrument that they administer to 505 companies. To highlight the emerging nature of this practice, the study was conducted in similar conditions for two consecutive years (2002 and 2003). The results indicate that though still marginal, the adoption of ICT codes of conduct concerns an increasing number of companies. This practice is related to the degree of standardization, technological content (degree of virtualisation) and the strategic importance placed on ICT by the management and size of the organisation. However, the adoption of ICT codes of conduct is not associated with specific industry sectors and nationality.
Next, Andrea Lösch and J. Siân Lambert explore information behaviour and its potential impact on buyer-supplier relationships in electronic reverse auctions (e-RAs) in the context of the automotive industry. This is an emerging subject of interest because in spite of the widely assumed benefits of e-RAs, recent studies have identified negative effects of e-RAs on buyer-supplier relationships. The research is based on nine interviews with automotive buyers and suppliers who use e-RAs and 15 interviews with automotive companies who do not use e-RAs. The interviews were analysed using the method of content analysis. The analysis process was supported relying on the qualitative software package Atlas/ti. Overall, the results indicated that a difference in information behaviour may affect buyer-supplier relationships. Particularly the inadequate treatment of suppliers and the reduced quality for the communication proved to be the major mediating factors for negative outcomes.
Hemanta Kumar Doloi from Australia discusses the development of an Integrated Management System (IMS) by linking quantitative and qualitative decision parameters with a view to ranks and optimising capital investment projects. Both tangible and intangible information associated with a project’s lifecycle have been considered, with a dynamic operating environment evaluated in a proactive decision making processes. In this research, a closed-loop feedback system incorporating stakeholders input with a project’s business objectives has been developed. The “triple bottom line” has been employed as decision-making criteria. The overall functionality of the system has been established incorporating a multi-criteria decision hierarchy module and a number of intelligent functions. Integration of the system is achieved through a common database and appropriate user interfaces. The capability of the overall model has been discussed with the focus on a road infrastructure project. Implementation of the model has been highlighted with appropriate examples.
Our final contribution is from Canada, where Louis Raymond and Sylvestre Uwizeyemungu build and validate a typological profile of manufacturing SMEs in regard to their eventual adoption of an ERP system, based on the predisposition of their environmental, organisational and technological context. In particular this study proposes a number of contextual elements upon which to compose a predisposition profile of manufacturing SMEs in regard to their adoption of an ERP system. An attempt was then made to empirically validate such a profile through an analysis of questionnaire data obtained from 356 Canadian SMEs. The authors obtain three types of SMEs: “internally predisposed”, “externally predisposed” and “unfavourable disposed”. The authors argue that this provides a valid framework for analysis that can serve ERP vendors and consultants, as well as SME owners-managers.
As always, JEIM represents a truly international journal, with papers from around the globe. The contributions published provide an overview of the themes, issues, and concerns surrounding enterprise information management systems.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as I enjoyed editing it for you.