ISSN: 1204-5357

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Research Article Open Access

The impact of electronic commerce on organizational structure: a case study of ecommerce decentralization


This paper focuses on the problem of centralizing vs. decentralizing an organizational structure for e-commerce. First, a conceptual framework is designed based on the literature. Then a case study of the Brazilian subsidiary of a major chemical multinational is explained and analyzed. A decision-making method is applied to (a) identify the alternatives for organizational structures and evaluation criteria, and (b) determine which criteria enable one to identify an alternative as better than the others. In the context of the case, a centralized e-commerce structure was recommended. This paper makes two main contributions to theory. First, it shows the usefulness of the literature on R&D and innovation management as theoretical support for studies in other fields, in this case ecommerce organization. Second, it provides a methodology, which can be adapted for use by companies facing the same decision problem. Thoughts on possible future studies close the article.


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