Coordination in information exchange between organizational decision units

Anitesh Barua, Suryanarayanan Ravindran, Andrew B. Whinston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The information technology (IT) infrastructure of today's organization is often one of distributed networked computing, with a flexible architecture to incorporate diverse software and hardware components to meet the needs of different user groups. One problem that may be encountered in this environment is the lack of information exchange across user groups or teams because of incompatible data definitions, diversity of formats, and differences in information processing capabilities and IT resource allocation across the organization. Successful information flows involve a user group providing information attribute levels (e.g., levels of precision or detail, timeliness, etc.), data definitions, formats and presentation styles required by the recipient group(s). When information exchange occurs without a fit between the attribute required and that provided, we have the problem of "information coordination." It is thus critical to design and implement a set of organizational mechanisms which will encourage units within an organization to share relevant information in a coordinated manner. We develop a stylized model of coordination based information exchange between two decision units, and show that structured communication regarding the units' intended information sharing choices can partly mitigate the problem of coordination. When there is uniformity in information management capability and IT resources across the organization, the positive impact of such communication is reinforced. These results imply an emerging role of MIS, where the latter functions as a coordinator of communication and understanding between interdependent decision units, and a facilitator of equity in information processing capability across the units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-698
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Part A:Systems and Humans.
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997


  • Distributed information repositories
  • Information coordination
  • Information exchange
  • Information interdependency
  • Structured communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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