The impact of electronically mediated exchange on collaboration

Electronically mediated exchange refers to the degree to which partners communicate through electronic media such as the internet, intranets, electronic mail, or electronic data interchange (EDI) systems (cf. Kulchitsky, 1997). Nohria and Eccles (1992) suggest that electronically mediated exchange contributes to increased collaboration because it empowers front-line workers with information; enables direct communication between individuals at low levels in the organization across time and space; and blurs organizational boundaries. In a supply-chain context, integrated information flows often absorb uncertainty (Allaire and Firsirotu, 1989) as well as reduce system volatility induced by information delays (Towill et al., 1992). The common theme is that electronically mediated exchange supports interorganizational collaboration by facilitating interaction and dissemination of information at all organizational levels.

Because electronically mediated exchange is of assistance for people at the operational-level who need up-to-date information to effectively carry out their roles in supply-chain relationships, electronically mediated exchange is likely to have an immediate impact on the construct of collaboration with its day-to-day focus. This logic results in the following hypothesis:

H2. The extent of electronically mediated exchange between the manufacturing business unit and a supplier is positively related to the degree of collaboration in the relationship.

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