IT and Coordination Modes: The Case of the Garment Industry in France and US
The aim of this article is to illuminate the relations between information technologies (IT) and modes of coordination among firms. Does IT strengthen existing partnerships, accentuate market volatility or facilitate integration strategies ? Up to what point do the institutional environment and organisational forms favour the diffusion of IT or not? What may be said about the role of IT in the reorganisation of a supply chain ? Through a study of the garment industry we will try to throw light on these subjects, presenting here some preliminary results of our investigations. We first explain previous research and then show the interest of studying the garment industry as a supply chain comparing the two supply chains in France and the United States. The transaction cost perspective will help us to explore how IT affects relationships between companies. In this context the diffusion of electronic networks should be a major stake in rationalising inter-firm coordination modes. But we will see that this stake remains imperfectly strengthened: complex and rich social networks in some crucial stages of the supply chain offer a significant explanation.