Advances in information technologies (IT) are creating unprecedented opportunities for interorganizational collaboration, particularly in large-scale distributed projects. The use of advanced IT in such projects can foster new forms of social exchange among organizations and change the way organizations view themselves in the context of their relationships. Despite a wealth of research on IT use, social exchange, and organizational identity, little is known about how new IT and the enactment of related IT affordances within interorganizational contexts enable social exchanges and organizational identity orientations. To address this gap, we conduct multiple case studies that describe the changing use of two-dimensional computer-aided design technology and new three-dimensional modeling technologies by a leading metal fabrication company in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. The case studies demonstrate that changes in the company's IT and the enactment of related IT affordances within variable interorganizational contexts enable new forms of social exchanges. These exchanges, in turn, provide the context for the rearticulation of the company's identity orientation. Based on these insights, we formulate a theoretical model to delineate the relationships between IT use, IT affordances, social exchanges, and identity orientation. We conclude by outlining the implications of our study and suggesting possible avenues for future research.
Organization Science, 2014, Vol 25, Issue 5, p. 1372-1390
Organizational identity orientation; Social exchange; Information technology; Affordances; Interorganizational collaboration