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Paper info: The use of information in strategic business networks


The use of information in strategic business networks


Anette Bergman
Mid Sweden University
Anette Bergman , Edith Andrésen and Tommy Roxenhall

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 18th IMP-conference in Perth, Australia in 2002.


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Strategic network actors use modern information technology in order to link activitiesand tie resources. Common means of transferring written information are EDI and email.The manner in which actors use written information to secure resources istherefore an essential issue for the development of strategic networks. The focus of thispaper is to describe how the actors in a strategic networks use written information byway of e-mail.Since knowledge of how actors use written information by e-mail is limited, this paperendeavors to clarify how e-mail is used and to find factors to explain this use on thebasis of the interaction and the network approach.There are three different purposes for using written information by e-mail. The actormay use e-mail to coordinate activities, to control individuals and organizational unitsor to gain and provide new knowledge. In this paper, we concentrate on the controllingcategory. It is possible, according to Gadde and Hĺkansson (1993), to classify writteninformation by e-mail into three different categories. The first category deals with theproduct, or the seller's ability to resolve a problem the buyer may have, and itscharacteristics. The second category deals with the commercial terms negotiated beforethe decision to buy was made, i.e. the information the buyer requires making the order(prices, discounts, terms of delivery and payment). The third category deals with thestructure of the transaction (appointments, volumes, method of delivery, formal rulesand routines). The first category is referred to in this paper as the technical content, thesecond category as the commercial content, and the third category as the administrativecontent. In this paper we try to classify the written information by e-mail into the threedifferent categories and then attempt to examine just how the actors use writteninformation by way of e-mail to control organizational units and individuals.