The objective of this article is to show by means of a case study how attempts to develop and implement inter-organizational systems (IOS) can be perceived as power battles, reflections of interests of stakeholders and struggles for domination. The paper shows that IOS is not simply a technical and rational solution but that it involves political processes of articulating interests, building alliances and struggling over outcomes. These issues will be examined through an empirical study of a project to introduce an electronic patient file (EPF) system in The Netherlands. We will seek to expand our knowledge of how inter-organizational systems impact relations among organizations and individuals who use these systems and how such systems affect the division of power inside and between organizations. Such knowledge can be useful when applying an analysis of power during the process of the design and implementation of IOS, which can help managers to implement IOS more effectively.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Interpretations of Stakeholders: The observation that various groups of people within and between organizations may have different perspectives on an inter-organizational system that may shape their actions and influence the implementation and evolution of the IS
Interest of Stakeholders: The interest of a stakeholder reflects the perception that an IOS contributes to the overall goals of the stakeholder.
Power: Power is the capacity to exert the will over others in order to realize certain intended benefits.
Interdependence: The phenomenon that various organizations depend on each other to implement an inter-organizational information system.
Inter-organizational System: ICT-based system that enable organizations to share information and to electronically conduct business across organizational boundaries.
Power (Re)distribution: Power (re)distribution is the degree to which power is distributed within and between organizations and the extent that an IOS changes that division of power.
Electronic Patient File: A computer-based system that can capture patient information from many sources, and so create a complete and consistent electronic medical history.