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The introduction of e-business practices on the Internet is making companies re-evaluate and re-define their existing intra-organizational and inter-organizational relationships. This paper explores in what ways Internet communication can facilitate the integration between companies within a business network. We study the implementation of a Web-based communication platform in an SME network with more than 20 companies. Their objective with the Web-based platform is: (1) to increase global marketing via the Internet, and (2) to improve communication both internally between the member companies and externally with other business partners. With a survey, we investigated if the participating companies perceive that better IT support helps them gain additional competitive advantage in the marketplace. Based on the results from the study, we argue that there is a need to complement the generally technical-driven discussion regarding e-business solutions with a strategic, organizational, managerial and relationship-oriented perspective, which we refer to as "giving e-business a human face".
Date of Conference: 3-6 Jan. 2001