The Development of IT Service Quality Standards in China

  • Mike GallivanEmail author
  • Chen Tao
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


The process of developing IT-based standards has recently being labeled “a critical research frontier for IS research”. Within the last half-dozen years, IS scholars have begun to examine a variety of domains in which standards-setting occurred. Many of these studies have focused on international telecommunications standards in Asia. Despite the number and diversity of the many empirical studies, most have focused on technical standards for ICT interoperability. We consider the creation and dissemination of a distinct type of standard, known as “IT service management standards”, which are a type of process standards specific to IT vendors. To our knowledge, the subject of establishing service measurement standards has not been considered in the IS literature. We review the growing literature on standards-setting and standards-adoption, and we inquire whether the issues that consistently accompany the development process for technical standards for IT and telecommunications interoperability will generalize to the process of developing IT service measurement standards. We describe a case study of the development of standards for measuring IT services in China. Rather than analyzing our data according to a specific theory, we compare the results to date of China’s creation of IT service standards to the phenomena frequently observed in prior IS studies of standards-setting. We argue that several recurring phenomena that accompany prior standards-setting initiatives in the IS literature (i.e., conflict among parties, warring factions, etc.) are lacking in our study. We speculate about the reasons why conflict is absent and develop proposition that can be evaluated with future case data.


Standard-setting Conflict Battle IT services Service quality 


  1. Backhouse, J., Hsu, C., & Silva, L. (2006). Circuits of power in creating de jure standards: shaping an international information systems security standard. MIS Quarterly, 30, 413–438.Google Scholar
  2. Broadbent, M., Weill, P. & St. Clair, D. (1999). The implications of IT infrastructure for business process redesign, MIS Quarterly, 23, 159–182.Google Scholar
  3. Carmel, E., Gao, G., & Zhang, N. (2008). The maturing chinese offshore it services industry: It takes 10 years to sharpen a sword. MIS Quarterly Executive, 7(4), 157–170.Google Scholar
  4. Chau, P. Y., & Tam, K. (1997). Factors affecting the adoption of open systems. MIS Quarterly, 21, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clegg, S. R. (1989). Frameworks of power. CA: Thousand Oaks Sage Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davenport, T.D. (2005). The coming commoditization of processes. Harvard Business Review 1–8.Google Scholar
  7. Farrell, J., & Saloner, G. (1985). Standardization, compatibility, and innovation. Rand Journal of Economics, 16(1), 70–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gao, P. (2007). Counter-networks in standardization: A perspective of developing countries. Information Systems Journal, 17(4), 391–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gao, P. (2008). WAPI: A Chinese attempt to establish wireless standards and the international coalition that resisted. Communications of the AIS, 23(1), 151–162.Google Scholar
  10. Hart, P., & Saunders, C. S. (1997). Power and trust: Critical factors in the adoption and use of electronic data interchange. Organization Science, 8, 23–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hart, P., & Saunders, C. S. (1998). Emerging electronic partnerships: Antecedents and dimensions of EDI use from the supplier’s perspective. Journal of MIS, 14(4), 87–111.Google Scholar
  12. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. New York: Holden Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hofstede, G., & Bond, M. H. (1988). The confucian connection: from cultural roots to economic growth. Organizational Dynamics, 16(4), 4–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. King, J. L. & Lyytinen, K. (2003). Call for papers: Standard making: A critical research frontier for information systems, MIS Quarterly, 27, i-iv.Google Scholar
  15. King, J. L. and Lyytinen, K. (2006) Standard making: A critical research frontier for IS research. MIS Quarterly, 30, 405–411.Google Scholar
  16. Lee, A. S. (1989). A scientific methodology for MIS case studies. MIS Quarterly, 13, 33–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee, H., & Oh, S. (2006). A standards war waged by a developing country: Understanding international standard setting from actor-network perspective. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 15, 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lyytinen, K., & Fomin, V. (2002). Achieving high momentum in the evolution of wireless infrastructures: The battle over 1G solutions. Telecommunications Policy, 26, 149–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lyytinen, K., & King, J. (2002). Around the cradle of the wireless revolution: The emergence and evolution of cellular telephony. Telecommunications Policy, 26, 97–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Malone, T., Yates, J., & Benjamin, R. (1987). Electronic markets and electronic hierarchies: Effects of IT on market structure and corporate strategies. Communications of the ACM, 30, 484–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Markus, M. L., Steinfield, C. W., Wigand, R. T., & Minton, G. (2006). Industry-wide IS standardization as collective action: The case of the US residential mortgage industry. MIS Quarterly, 30, 439–465.Google Scholar
  22. McNaughton, B., Ray, P., & Lewis, L. (2010). Designing an evaluation framework for IT service management. Information & Management, 47, 219–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Montealegre, R. (1999). A temporal model of institutional interventions for information technology adoption in less-developed countries. Journal of MIS, 16(1), 207–232.Google Scholar
  24. Myers, M. D. (1999). Investigating information systems with ethnographic research. Communications of the AIS, 2(4).Google Scholar
  25. Nandhakumar, J., & Jones, M. (1997). Too close for comfort? distance and engagement in interpretive information systems research. Information Systems Journal, 7(2), 109–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Parasuraman, L. L., Berry, L. L., & Zeithamel, V. (1991). Refinement and reassessment of the ServQUAL scale. Journal of Retailing, 67(4), 420–450.Google Scholar
  27. Steinfield, C. W., Markus, M. L., & Wigand, R. T. (2005). Exploring interorganizational systems at the industry level of analysis: evidence from the US home mortgage industry. Journal of Information Technology, 20(4), 224--233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Van Maanen, J. (1979). Reclaiming qualitative methods for organizational research. Administrative Science Quarterly, 18, 520–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the field: on writing ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  30. Webster, J. (1995). Networks of collaboration or conflict? Electronic data interchange and power in the supply chain. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 4(1), 31--42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Weitzel, T., Beimborn, D., & König, W. (2006). A unified economic model of standard diffusion: the impact of standardization cost, network effects, and network topology. MIS Quarterly, 30, 489--514.Google Scholar
  32. Wigand, R., Steinfield, C. W., & Markus, M. L. (2005). IT standards choices and industry structure outcomes: The case of the US home mortgage industry. Journal of MIS, 22, 165–191.Google Scholar
  33. Yoo, Y., Lyytinen, K., & Yang, H. (2005). The role of standards in innovation and diffusion of broadband mobile services: The case of South Korea. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 14(3), 323–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhu, K., Kraemer, K. L., Gurbaxani, V., & Xu, S. X. (2006). Migration to open-standard interorganizational systems: network effects, switching costs, and path dependency. MIS Quarterly, 30, 515--539.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIS Department, Robinson College of BusinessGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.College of Public AdministrationHuazhong University of Science & TechnologyWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations