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Social Inequality

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way telecommunication networks and services are implemented will have significant impact on the way these networks are used. We will do so by focusing on the participating actors in the implementation phase of network development, and especially the role of system integrators in this process. Case studies have been done in the Dutch sectors of music retail, construction, agriculture and the hotel industry.


Relationships between organizations develop on the basis of certain common interests and dependencies. An organization can be defined as a specific solution created by more or less autonomous actors to achieve common goals (Van de Vlist, 1988). Between organizations, relationships are developed for the exchange of goods, resources, information and so on. The inter-organizational relationships are most manifest in commercial transactions, in which goods or services are exchanged from one organization to another. Williamson (1975) has stated that transaction costs will rise when the unpredictability and uncertainty of events increases, and/or when transactions require very specific investments, and/or when the risk of opportunistic behavior of other organizations is high. Williamson argues the higher transaction costs are, the more likely transactions will take place within hierarchically organized firms. That is, when transaction costs are high, firms tend to choose vertical integration in order to control the transaction process. If transaction costs are low, that is; are straightforward, non- repetitive and require no transaction-specific investments, then the market is the optimal choice. Transaction costs thus depend upon the coordination mechanism being used. Markets are mainly coordinated by a price mechanism in which independent actors are searching for the best bargain. Firms are mainly coordinated by supervision in which actors who are involved in power-dependent relationships act according to routines.

Powell (1990) has suggested that an alternative coordination structure is emerging: networks. Networks are groups of organizational actors who participate in a general pattern of interaction (Kreps, 1990). Networks can be groups of organizations, but also groups within organizations. Network-organizations stress the interdependence between organizational actors and thus pay a lot of attention to the development and maintenance of (communicative)



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