Despite extensive research and practitioner literature on inter-organizational information systems (IOIS), our understanding of non-adoption still has some under-explored issues. This paper offers an explanation of non-adoption that focuses on the potential structural changes that IOIS adoption entails; in particular, we contend that the contradictions between the initial social structure and the structure enacted in the use of an IOIS can be a cause of non-adoption. This paper analyses adoption from a logic of opposition where non-adoption occurs because forces of transformation are offset by forces of persistence. Relying on the concepts of social structure, duality of structure, and structural contradiction from Structuration theory, we develop a framework that categorizes the underlying social structure where an IOIS is to be adopted, and formulate some theoretical propositions. From a practitioner perspective, this paper contends that the fact that IOIS management uncovers the contradictions in the social structure that result from IOIS adoption can help avoid dead ends. Accordingly, this framework, which can be used as a coarse-grained picture for anticipating adoption problems, can inform managers when devising an IOIS implementation strategy. © 2010 Operational Research Society Ltd. All rights reserved.
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