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Paper info: Using IT for Managing Resources in Business Networks A Case Study from the Swedish Furniture Industry

Title


Using IT for Managing Resources in Business Networks A Case Study from the Swedish Furniture Industry

Authors


Enrico Baraldi
Uppsala University
Sweden
Enrico Baraldi

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 17th IMP-conference in Oslo, Norway in 2001.

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Abstract


A case study is used in order to analyse information technology's function in managing the complexnetwork of resources that interact behind a specific product and that contribute to a final product readyfor use (see, for instance Wedin, 2001). This "product-centred resource network" is analysed bymeans of a resource categorisation introduced by Håkansson & Waluszewski (forthcoming).Information, about each used resource and performed activity, enters various firms' informationsystems and information technology (IS/IT), attempting to ?mirror? and ?translate? the concretebusiness network. The collected and processed information is moreover used in order to manage andco-ordinate resources and activities in the business network. How the digital information-based,"meta-network" translates the actual relations between resources and activities affects how they aremanaged and co-ordinated by means of IS/IT. The analysis focuses on activity co-ordination and onresource utilisation with reference to a specific product, by a Swedish furniture manufacturer. The casestudy maps how the various activities and resources, behind the focal product, are transformed intoinformation, part of which is also translated and interpreted by the computerised IS/IT systems in use.This type of analysis helps to identify the interplay between information, IT and strategy in a networksetting (see Snehota, 1990, and Ford et al., 1998). The link between information and concreteresources appears e.g. in the process of ?information development?. The case study analysis introducesthe notions of ?IT-sation?, ?informational needs?, ?information horizon? and ?network embeddedinformation?. These concepts are used in order to investigate possibilities, requirements andlimitations of ?IT-based? resource management.