Topologies for Electronic Cooperation
Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the use of communication networks, such as the Internet, to facilitate cooperation between buyers and sellers (e.g., Kalakota and Whinston, 1996). In this paper, we argue that a broader perspective is more appropriate and that electronic commerce should be seen as a general form of cooperation within an organization and between an organization and its stakeholders. As a result, we distinguish between three types of communication networks (see Table 1), based on whether the intent of the network is to support cooperation with a range of stakeholders, cooperation among employees, or cooperation with a business partner. We briefly describe each of these topologies and then elaborate on how they can be used to support cooperation.
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