A Contract-Based Architecture for Business Networks

Peter Rittgen
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 12, Number 4, Summer 2008, pp. 115.

Abstract: Contracts coordinate the interactions between organizations in a business network. Conventional frame contracts often result in ambiguous agreements with operational details unspecified, making it hard to coordinate the network effectively and efficiently. This paper suggests a structured method for designing agreements and ensuring that their terms are observed in business transactions. Based on the assumption that governing a business network means managing the workflow between the member organizations, the contract consists primarily of process models at different levels of detail. A method is proposed for negotiating these models between the member organizations of the network and enacting them with the help of an interorganizational workflow system.

Key Words and Phrases: Business networks, e-contracting, enactment, frame contract, interorganizational workflow, modeling, negotiation.