Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Inter-organizational information systems (IOIS) offer many potential benefits to organizations, and IOIS adoption has increased in the last few decades. However, IOIS adoption varies significantly across different contexts, and little research has investigated how contextual factors affect IOIS-adoption variances at the inter-organizational (IO) level in depth—particularly from a multilevel perspective. This paper proposes a novel multilevel framework to analyze what combinations of contextual factors at the national, industry, inter-organizational, and organizational levels influence IOIS-adoption variances at the inter-organizational level. We present an in-depth, exploratory case study of the Indonesian grocery industry that identified three inter-organizational configurations between manufacturers, distributors, and retailers with IOIS-adoption variances. We found that the combinations of multilevel contextual factors varied for each configuration and, thus, explain the IOIS-adoption variances we observed at the IO level in a nuanced and holistic way. We argue that our multilevel framework may help scholars avoid contextual fallacy by encouraging them to examine the influence of higher-level factors on IOIS-adoption variances at the IO level and to avoid the atomistic fallacy that results when they make the wrong assumption that IOIS adoption at the organizational level implies adoption at a higher level.