Alignment in an inter-organisational network
What is it about?
Alignment of systems to strategy is a long standing concern in the field of information systems. This study of a network of European auto clubs (comparable to AAA in the US) analyzes the problems of achieving alignment in a network setting, where the alignment must account for network members with different strategies. The paper describes the difficulties encountered during the development of a system to link across multiple clubs. From this experience, the paper develops a new kind of alignment, labelled "accordance", referring to the fit between the network strategy and systems and the strategies and systems of the different network members. A particular finding of the case is that system and strategies can be designed to be complementary rather than fully-aligned, in order to accommodate the diversity of network members.
Why is it important?
Networks of cooperating organizations are becoming more common and information systems are seen as a key enabler of this form. However, the issues of achieving alignment between systems and strategies are complicated in a setting with multiple diverse strategies. The paper provides a framework for conceptualizing different forms of alignment. The history of the case further suggests a technical approach for accommodating diverse strategies by careful selection of functions that are standardized in the network.
The following have contributed to this page: Kevin Crowston