Electronic Collaboration Ontology: The Case of Readiness Analysis of Electronic Marketplace Adoption
Miri-Lavassani, Kayvan, Movahedi, Bahar, Kumar, Vinod, Journal of Management and Organization
This paper introduces the ontology of electronic collaboration (e-collaboration) and applies it for modeling the readiness analysis of e-collaboration through the electronic marketplace (EM). Our search of the literature shows that the publication of papers in the areas of e-collaboration and EM has reached to the third phase of S-shape growth, which indicates that these areas have arrived at a certain level of maturity. However, while most of the e-collaboration studies focus on the application of collaboration technologies, less attention has been paid to the development of frameworks and the models that can describe the concept of the collaboration. Based on the notion of e-collaboration at the organization level, this paper introduces the ontology of e-collaboration. The proposed e-collaboration ontology is further applied to the case of readiness analysis for EM-based collaboration. Following the proposed ontology, the readiness model displays key measures of readiness at the strategy, process, and technology levels. At each level, the measures are segmented into internal and external contexts.
Keywords: electronic collaboration; ontology; electronic marketplace; readiness analysis; b2b; integration
The birth and diffusion of new electronic network relationships has imposed changes to the business environment. New business models have emerged and many companies have adopted new electronic collaboration (e-collaboration) mediums. These collaboration mediums range from the traditional electronic data interchanges (EDI) of the 1960s to the more sophisticated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems of the 1990s and, more recently, the web-based collaborative mediums, such as a business to business (B2B) electronic marketplace (EM).
The primary objective of this study is to enhance the understanding of collaboration in modern organizations. As it is described explicitly in the present study, this area of study has arrived at a certain level of maturity which makes it feasible for researchers to construct comprehensive ontology model. Specifically, the main research question is: What are the different dimensions and levels of analysis in studies of e-collaboration? Furthermore, to illustrate the utility of the proposed ontology, the model has been applied to the case of EM-based collaboration as one of the most advanced and promising e-collaboration technologies. The aim of this case study is to demonstrate the application of the proposed ecollaboration ontology in exploring the readiness of organizations to engage in EM-based collaboration (McNichols and Brennan 2006; Movahedi, Miri-Lavassani and Kumar 2008a).
Based on a literature review, an ontology model for e-collaboration is developed in this study. This e-collaboration ontology is based on the practice of collaborative design discussed in the literature. Wand and Weber (1993) argue that there exists a reciprocal relationship between the conceptual ontology and real-world design of constructs (Figure 1). On one hand, the conceptual ontological models are developed by theorists and based on their interpretation of the real-world practice of concepts, such as ecollaboration. A theorist reads and contemplates the area of study and tries to develop revelations or conceptual breakthroughs (Armstrong 1967). A theorist who develops an ontology is concerned with the presentation scheme of a concept or construct. In the second section of this study, a theoretical approach is employed to explore the concept of e-collaboration and develop a conceptual ontology model based on the interpretation of real-world design of e-collaboration. Conceptual ontological models can also be applied by empiricists for a representation of the application of an ontology in practice. An empiricist collects detailed information of a realworld subject and analyzes the case using the conceptual ontological models developed by the theorist. …