Considerable attention is currently focused on using information technology to obtain and maintain competitive advantage. Numerous mini-cases have been used to illustrate the use of information systems for competitive advantage, and various conceptual frameworks have been proposed to aid in the identification of such applications. Much of this work is grounded in a single concept of strategy formulation, an approach that we refer to as "top-down." A survey of senior information system executives demonstrates the potential problems of relying on a top-down approach. A second, "adaptive" approach, appears to offer potential value for the identification of competitive applications in organizations facing considerable environmental turbulence or in which senior strategists are relatively uninformed about information system resources. Five organizational roles are defined that can help support this adaptive approach.