Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 17 Number 2 2000 pp. 81-113

Facilitating Interorganizational Learning with Information Technology

Scott, Judy E

ABSTRACT: Increasingly, organizations collaborate to complement their core competencies. New product development, for example, is often a collaborative process, with customers and suppliers contributing complementary knowledge and skills. This study uses grounded theory to determine how and why information technology facilitates interorganizational learning. Semi-structured interviews in the disk drive industry were coded to develop a conceptual model. An important finding is that organizations collaborate closely through virtual integration. They need interorganizational learning to help them cope with the complexity of new products and the capital intensity in the disk drive industry. However, effective interorganizational collaboration needs trust. The main contribution of the model is in explaining the role of information technology in lower and higher levels of interorganizational learning, cognitive and affective trust, and virtual and humanistic interorganizational collaboration.

Key words and phrases: collaboration, interorganizational learning, new product development, tacit knowledge, trust, virtual integration