This exploratory research project set out to investigate the architecture and design principles of inter-national information systems. Analysing six case vignettes in a modified grounded theory approach, a two-dimensional topology for international information systems—postulated from previous research as a seed concept—was confirmed as a useful architecture paradigm. In its terms, international informa-tion systems are configured from two elements: core systems (common for the whole enterprise) on the one hand, and local systems (specific only for each site) on the other. The interface between the two is a third component. The cases showed that achieving the correct balance between core and local can be a difficult political process and requires careful organisational engineering to be successful. One case vignette, in particular, highlights the logical and organisational difficulties in defining these systems ele-ments. Object orientation as the fundamental design principle is investigated as an approach to provide a solution for this problem. Because it enables implementation differentiation and flexibility for future functional changes, it is conjectured that object technology is an optimal—technical—development strategy for international information systems. Directions for further research are outlined.