IS485      Half Unit
Management and Economics of E-Business

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephen Smithson NAB3.31 and Dr Antonio Cordella NAB3.30


This course is available on the MSc in Management, Information Systems and Innovation and MSc in Management, Organisations and Governance. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

It is available as an outside option to other MSc students.


None, but a basic understanding of information systems within organisational contexts is assumed. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of the challenges of implementing and managing information systems in organisations. A short study pack of selected readings will be provided for students who require this background understanding.

Course content

The course discusses managerial, economics and innovation aspects of online business. History and foundations of online business are introduced to discuss the managerial challenges of the different e-business practices: Business-to-consumer (B2C) and Business-to-business (B2B) systems; e-marketing; intermediation; e-procurement; and IT in supply chain management. Economic theories, such as transaction costs and principal agent, are used to discuss the impact of e-business on market structure and organisation. The course introduces practical and management aspects of the impact of diverse technologies on interorganisational relationships, new organisational forms, such as networked organisations, and electronic markets. Strategies for e-business innovation including web 2.0 and similar developments are also discussed.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Classes are based around reading and discussing selected journal articles from the course study pack and case studies. Formative feedback is provided through class presentations and a formative essay of 1000 words on which feedback will be provided.

Indicative reading

J.Reynolds, E-Business: A Management Perspective, OUP, 2010 and G Schneider, Electronic Commerce, 8edn, Thomson, 2009 provide introductory/background reading.

Various journal articles are supplied as a study pack, including:
Benslimane, Y., Plaisent, M., & Bernard, P. (2005). Investigating search costs and coordination costs in electronic markets: A transaction costs economics perspective. Electronic Markets, 15, 213-224.
Bharadwaj, A. S. (2000). A resource-based perspective on information technology capability and firm performance: An empirical investigation. MIS Quarterly, 24 (1): 169-196
Chu, C. & Smithson, S. (2007) E-business and organisational change: A structurational approach. Information Systems Journal, 17 (4), 369-389; Clegg, C. et al (2005) A Socio-technical Study of E-business: Grappling with an Octopus. Journal of E-Commerce in Organizations, 3 (1), 53-71, 2005
Jason Dedrick , Sean Xu , Kevin Zhu, How Does Information Technology Shape Supply-Chain Structure? Evidence on the Number of Suppliers, Journal of Management Information Systems, v.25 n.2, p.41-72
Garicano, L., & Kaplan, S. N. (2001). The effect of business-to-business e-commerce on transaction costs. Journal of Industrial Economics, 49, 463-485; Govindarajan, V. & Trimble, C. (2005) Building breakthrough businesses within established organizations. Harvard Business Review, May, 58-68; Lee, H.L. (2002) Aligning supply chain strategies with product uncertainties. California Management Review, Vol.44, No.3, 105-119; Malone, T. W., Yates, J. and Benjamin, R. I. (1987), Electronic Markets and Electronic Hierarchies: Effects of Information Technology on Market Structure and Corporate Strategies, Communications of the ACM, 30:484-497; Mukhopadhyay, T. and S. Kekre (2002). Strategic and operational benefits of electronic integration in B2B procurement processes. Management Science, 48 (10): 1301-1313; Picot A., Bortenlänger C., Röhrl H., Organization of electronic market: contributions from the new institutional economics, The Information Society, 13, (1997),107-123; Shan Wang, Shi Zheng, Lida Xu, Dezheng Li, Huan Meng. (2008) A literature review of electronic marketplace research: Themes, theories and an integrative framework. Information Systems Frontiers10:5, 555-571; Shapiro, C.L. and Varian, H.R.: Information Rules, Chap.2, Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 1999; Stigler, G.J. The economics of information, Journal of Political Economy 69(3) (1961) 213-225; Subramani, M. R. and N. Venkatraman (2003). Safeguarding investments in asymmetric inter-organizational relationships: Theory and evidence. Academy of Management Journal, 46: 46-62


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Information Systems and Innovation Group

Total students 2012/13: 76

Average class size 2012/13: 16

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 68.6%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)