There are a number of benefits that can be achieved if information is shared automatically between partner organizations. While inter-organizational systems (IOS) are considered to be well adopted, a number of industries, amongst others the wood industry, lag far behind. This study aims to explain how industry characteristics can contribute to the explanation of this low adoption phenomenon. Based on eleven case studies and 204 survey responses, this mixed method study identifies five industry characteristics and their influence on adoption factors. The identified industry characteristics are organizational size, aged staff, low diffusion of IS, low government support, and heterogeneity in IT infrastructures. A theoretical model is developed integrating the industry characteristics and the Technology-Organization-Environment (TOE) framework constructs. This study demonstrates that partner pressure, relative advantage, regulatory environment, and technological readiness significantly influence the adoption of IOS. Thus, this research provides valuable insights and offers guidance for policymakers and practice on factors leading to an improved adoption. As well, we conduct a new research design to identify industry-specific actions to help improve the adoption of IOS.