IT infrastructures coupled with BPR initiatives have the potential of supporting and enabling new organiza- tional forms and helping firms face the challenges of globalization. The management literature gives prescrip- tions of how to set up, implement, and use infrastructures to reach a new IT capability; diminish transaction costs; and obtain competitive advantage. However, the scant empirical basis of such literature goes hand in hand with the lack of a theory linking the deployment of infrastructure to the nature of the business and the industry. This study of the deployment and use of infrastructures in six large multinationals sets the ground for a contingency approach to the whole issue. The different implementation processes and applications reported by the case studies suggest that there is much more variety than the “one best way” recommended by the literature. The economic theories of standards and of the firm as a repository of knowledge are good candidates to explain qualitatively the empirical evidence.
Ciborra, Claudio and Hanseth, Ole, "Toward a Contingency View of Infrastructure and Knowledge: An Exploratory Study" (1998). ICIS 1998 Proceedings. 23.