Title: A critical perspective on information technology management: the case of electronic data interchange

Authors: Giorgio Gottardi, Ettore Bolisani

Addresses: Istituto di Ingegneria Gestionale, Universita di Padova, Viale X Giugno, 22 – 36100, Vicenza, Italy. ' Dipartimento di Energetica, Universita di Trieste, Via Valerio, 10 – 34100, Trieste, Italy

Abstract: The managerial studies on technology innovation are sometimes characterised by low criticism. The capability of innovations to radically modify processes, structures, and environment is not thoroughly considered. Information technology presents the greatest assessment difficulties; since it directly influences the cognitive content of firms| activities, it creates totally new opportunities and represents a formidable factor changing organizations, inter-firm relationships and market structures. The potential of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has been recognised since the mid-seventies; however, the spread of this technology has been slower than predicted, and it faces difficulties tied to non-technical factors. The existing applications are very differentiated, and partially unexpected. The aim of this paper is to examine the real nature of EDI as a tool for the automation of transactions, and to carry out a more realistic evaluation of the conditions and limits to the adoption and diffusion of this innovation. A non-deterministic evaluation of EDI potential is carried out, in order to reduce the obstacles to the comprehension of the impacts on firms and on market structure. Starting from an analysis of the variety of the existing applications, a taxonomy of EDI strategic advantages is suggested.

Keywords: information technology; electronic data interchange; EDI; technology assessment; strategic technology management; technological innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1996.025522

International Journal of Technology Management, 1996 Vol.12 No.4, pp.369 - 390

Available online: 22 May 2009 *

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