Explaining Cybermediation: An Organizational Analysis of Electronic Retailing

Lei Jin and Daniel Robey
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 3, Number 4, Summer 1999, pp. 47.

Abstract: Early in the information age, it was widely thought that wholesalers, distributors, and other intermediaries would be removed from the value chains of many businesses. This disintermediation offered the prospect of more efficient supply and marketing channels. The early forecasts proved to be shortsighted, however, for instead new cybermediaries have lodged themselves in the value chain between manufacturer and customer. This paper explains the phenomenon of cybermediation by looking beyond transaction-cost economics toward newer theories of consumer economics and several theories drawn from institutional theory, social exchange theory, social network theory, and theories of organizational knowledge creation. Researchers who utilize the contributions of these diverse theoretical perspectives will be better able to explain the emergence of cybermediaries in electronic commerce.

Key Words and Phrases: Electronic commerce, institutional theory, knowledge creation, social exchange, transaction-cost theory, virtual organization.