Strategies and policies for the adoption and development of interorganizational systems require further understanding of the theoretical background to these systems. An argument is made for development of theory that is multi-level, processual and has an emergent perspective. Such theory is needed to deal with a context where environmental influences are important in addition to complex interactions between organizational activities at the micro-level and industry structure at the macro-level. The use of structuration theory as a vehicle to advance further understanding is explored. An illustration is given of application of this theory in the development of supply chain management in the beef industry.