Introduction to the Special Section: Identity Management, Value Webs, and Business Models in the Networked Economy

Rolf T. Wigand and Yao-Hua Tan, Guest Editors
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 9, Number 3, Spring 2005, pp. 7.

The networked economy needs to coalesce around trust, standards, protocols, and competition. All are essential ingredients for the thriving of electronic commerce, and they will help to reduce the pain and inefficiencies-in essence, the friction-of connecting. As we connect across individuals, firms, regions, and nations, we realize that connectivity or connectedness makes it hard to protect, shelter, segregate, or bundle products and services. Much research demonstrates that these developments enable transparency, innovation, and competition, as well as expand the boundary-spanning and dynamic behavior of firms. While connectivity and its competitive forces will foster efficiency and overall economic gain, concurrently, they will also have disruptive effects on markets and societies. The four articles comprising this Special Section address these developments and thus reflect current and central concerns in the field of electronic commerce.

Michael Koch and Kathrin M. Möslein’s article, “Identities Management for E-Commerce and Collaboration Applications,” was recognized as the overall best paper presented at the 2003 Bled Electronic Commerce Conference. As it points out, the Internet was originally developed on the assumption that users would remain anonymous. Today, however, we live in a world where customers expect high levels of mass customization and personalization, requiring more and more services for which knowledge of the user is needed. As in real life, a user will interact with different services hosted by different providers. Currently users have to provide and update information about their identity for each service independently. The authors argue that user-centric global identities management is needed for future e-commerce and collaboration applications, and they present the results of their ongoing research.

Jaap Gordijn and Yao-Hua Tan, in “A Design Methodology for Modeling Trustworthy Value Webs,” introduce the e3value design methodology for business models from (a) a value web perspective and (b) a trust perspective. The first perspective models the creation, distribution, and consumption of goods or services of economic value in a network of multiple enterprises and end-consumers. The authors intend to create a shared understanding of a business model for all the actors involved and to assess potential profitability. The trust perspective depicts how value webs can be expanded with trustworthy control procedures, thus enhancing the confidence of actors in one another and thereby enabling trading. They present an outline of a formal theory for the design of trustworthy control procedures in the setting of the e3value design methodology.

Two case studies follow. The first, “Economic and Social Analysis of the Adoption of B2B Electronic Marketplaces: A Case Study in the Australian Beef Industry,” is by Caroline Driedonks, Shirley Gregor, Arjen Wassenaar, and Eric van Heck. The authors investigate the factors affecting the adoption of B2B electronic marketplaces as innovations, then develop and discuss testable propositions. The study focuses on AuctionsPlus, an electronic marketplace in the Australian beef industry. The relatively slow adoption of this system is explained by means of two theories. Kambil and van Heck’s model of exchange processes suggests a primarily economic view at the level of key stakeholder groups. Rogers’s diffusion theory offers a more social perspective, at the level of the individual stakeholder. The authors report that key stakeholder groups do not appear to be substantially worse off with AuctionsPlus from an economic exchange-process perspective. When examining the social and political dimensions of electronic marketplaces, however, Rogers’s diffusion theory contributes to further understanding of the case. Important influences appear to be loss of social capital, the nature of communication channels, time taken to reach critical mass, and the power of one group originally not recognized as a key player, specifically, the stock and station agent intermediaries.

The second case study, “E-Commerce, Human Resource Strategies, and Competitive Advantage: Two Australian Banking Case Studies,” by Yvette Blount, Tanya Castleman, and Paula M.C. Swatman, advances the argument that service organizations need to consider in depth the human resource management (HRM) strategies that will enable them to achieve sustained competitive advantage in the e-commerce era. The authors examine business-to-consumer e-commerce in the retail banking sector and the ways that HRM strategies have been developed to accommodate the changing customer service practices associated with e-commerce. Case study data sets are reported on from two banking organizations in Australia, one large, the other small. The authors look at the differences in the way these banks linked their e-commerce strategies with their overall business strategy and the extent to which their HRM strategies have assisted them in utilizing their e-commerce capability to achieve sustained competitive advantage.

The four articles comprising this Special Section were selected through the review process from the 2003 Bled Electronic Commerce Conference. The conference received a total submission of 150 papers from 31 countries. Two reviewers, the conference research chair, and the conference co-chair reviewed each paper blindly. Seventy-one papers were accepted for presentation. The four papers included here were selected from these as top contributions and went through up to four rounds of journal-level blind reviews after the Bled Conference reviews and revisions.

ROLF T. WIGAND ( is the Maulden-Energy chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science and Management at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Dr. Wigand has taught on the faculties of Syracuse University, the Stuttgart Institute of Management and Technology, the University of Bayreuth, Arizona State University, Michigan State University, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, and the University of Munich. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the German National Science Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the International Social Science Council, the Rome Laboratory, and other funding agencies. Dr. Wigand researches and consults in electronic commerce, information management, information systems standards, and the strategic deployment of information and communication technology (ICT). His research interests lie at the intersection of information and communication business issues, the role of newer forms of ICT, and their strategic alignment within business and industry.

YAO-HUA TAN ( is professor of electronic business in the Department of Economics and Business Administration of the Free University Amsterdam. Before that, he was on the faculty of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and was Reynolds Visiting Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests are the role of trust and control in interorganizational systems for dynamic network organizations and electronic commerce, ICT-enabled electronic contracting, and artificial intelligence techniques to enable automation of business procedures in international trade.