Editor’s Introduction 3(1)

International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 3, Number 1,Fall 1998, pp. 3.

Electronic commerce is conducted through a wide spectrum of inter-organiza-tional processes and means, as well as by a variety of intraorganizational supporting processes. There appears to be a mutually reinforcing relationship between the move to conduct business by electronic means and the fracturing of monolithic organizations into structures with various arrangements for ownership, control, and operations. Broadly speaking, virtual organizations are those whose structure is defined to a large degree by information systems [1]. The effectiveness and efficiency of virtual organizations will undergird much of electronic commerce.

The special section that opens this issue of the journal, guest-edited by Theodore H. Clark, is devoted to the information technology-enabled and specific aspects of virtual organizations. Communications and workflow management are therefore basic to the discussion and analysis in the four papers selected for the special section. The guest editor prefaces the section with an analytical introduction.

In the concluding paper of the issue, Robert B. Johnston and Alvin Khin Choy Yap analyze the feasibility of the use of two-dimensional bar codes for electronic data interchange (EDI). The paper presents this use as a business opportunity with advantages for a well-defined part of EDI traffic. The authors offer a multifaceted proof of concept and a stimulating discussion of why a technology developed for use on paper and similar surfaces should be considered for EDI. As the scope of the journal expands, it is my pleasure to welcome the new members of its Editorial Board: Amitava Dutta, Stefan Klein, Ting-Peng Liang, Kar Yan Tam, and J. Christopher Westland.

VLADIMIR ZWASS Editor-in-Chief

REFERENCE 1. Zwass, V. Foundations of Information Systems. Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 1998.