Emergence of Information Infrastructures – A Tale of Two Islands
Schellhammer Stefan, Reimers Kai, Klein Stefan
The diffusion of information technology has led to the rise of information infrastructures (II), built upon standards. Because of its information intensity, the healthcare sector is regarded as a potential benefactor of an II. Public and private initiatives push towards integratingheterogeneous information, and communication systems. This papercontributes to a better understanding of the emergence of II by tracing back the evolution of a set of standards. The pharmaceutical distribution industry in the Republic of Ireland and Australia provides theempirical background for this paper. The successfulstandardization in one case and the continuation of proprietary wholesaler systems combined with different mechanisms to provide interoperability in the other serve as starting points for our analysis. By applying standardization theory we seek to explain the outcomes in each of the cases. At an empirical level, our data show that both solutions are viable options and gateways can become functionally equivalent to standards. Based on our findings we propose several extensions to standardization theory. A cross-case comparison demonstrates that successful standardization and reliance on proprietary systems not only influences the future of the electronic ordering systems but shapes emerging IIs in this sector.
Inter‐organizational information systems (IOIS); information infrastructure; standardization; electronic ordering systems