S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Korean Regional Studies (국토문제연구소) 지리학논총 별호 지리학논총 별호 Volume 20/21 (1996)
情報通信技術과 企業空間組織의 關聯性에 대한 硏究 - 國內 電子産業을 中心으로 -
Inforrnation and Communication Technology and the Organization of Corporate Space : the Case of the Korean Electronics Companies
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국토문제연구소
- 지리학논총 별호, Vol.20, pp. 1-239
- Infonnation and Communication Technology; ICT; Computer Network; Spatial Organization of a Firm; Spatial Structure of a Firm; Spatial Linkage; Spatial Division of Labor and Function; 정보통신기술; 컴퓨터 네트워크; 기업공간조직; 기업공간구조; 기업간 공간연계; 노동/기능의 공간적 분화
- This study investigates the nature and patterns of interrelation between the emerging information and communication technology(ICT) and the organization of corporate space, both theoretically and empirically.
From the literature review, this study points out three limitations of previous research efforts on the relationship between ICT and economic space. Perspective, concept and methodology are three of them. The study proposes the importance of an interactive and comprehensive perspective which is centered on the actual agent, the firm. In this work, ICT is conceptualized not so much a space-adjusting technology as an organizational technology. ICT is considered as a govemance technology which is related to both coordination function within a firm and transaction function between firms. Therefore, it is supposed to have a great relevance to the spatial reorganization of functions between firms as well as within a firm. From this theoretical basis, following four research questions are proposed to proceed with the empirical studies on the Koreans electronics manufacturing companies.
1) How the existing spatial structure of a firm is related to its adoption and utilization of ICT within that firm?
2) In what aspects, ICT is related to the reorganization of corporate space? And,
what is the process and mechanism of this reorganization?
3) How the spatial linkage of a firm is related to its adoption and utilization of ICT
with other companies?
4) In what direction, those inter-firm uti1ization of ICT is related to the change of
spatial characteristics of inter-firm linkage?
Both questionnaire and case study method are used to gather necessary data from
Korean electronics manufacturers. Questionnaire survey has been conducted on 864 electronics companies, and one hundred twenty one questionnaires were received and used for final analysis. Case studies on 8 companies have been carried out to reveal the process and mechanism of the interrelation between ICT and spatial organization.
The results of this study can be summarized as follow.
First, the spatial structure of a firm, which is operationalised as the number and type of spatially separated estab1ishments, is turned out to have a great explanatory power to its adoption of computer networks. Computer networks in mu1i-locational companies are introduced to overcome the limits of its spatial structure, such as duplication of functions, loss of time spent in proceeding a job between different functional units, and unresponsiveness to the change of market demand. Case studies show the role that ICT plays in integrating functions among spatially separated establishments in global, national, and local level.
Second, the adoption of ICT does not seem to result in any substantial spatial change, for itself. New spatial division of labor and function could be possible, only through a learning process which accompanies a series of business process reengineering. Case studies reveal that computer network could help a firm to realize new forms of spatial division of labor, especially in those functions which is mainly based on the flow of information. Such functions as ICT management, sales logistics and after-sales service are major parts where a new operational unit has appeared with the help of ICT. The development of new information flows supported by computer networks makes it possible for these new operational units to be located in its best location, respectively.
Third, spatial characteristics of a firm s linkages is intimately related to the adoption of computer in those relevant functions(such as inbound and outbound logistics). Meanwhile, it does not connected with the actual adoption of inter-firm computer networks. This means that inter-firm computer networking reflects other nature of interfirm linkages rather than its spatial characteristics. Especially, inter-firm networks are established along with the dominant position which the major contractors have in relation with its suppliers.
Lastly, inter-firm computer networks in Korean electronics industη do not seem to
lead to a dramatic change in the spatial characteristics of existing linkage pattem. Since, this networks are mainly used for the efficiency enhancement of the established transaction process rather than for the creation of new linkages. However, along with the development of open-networking and the change of vender-seller relationship, a new forms of inter-firm relations, electronic marketing, could be realized through the diffusion of inter-firm computer networks. In that case, ICT would play a substantial role in explaining the spatial patterns of inter-firm linkages.
From above results, it can be concluded that the interrelations between ICT and
organizational space should be approached intimately integrated with the change of
industrial structure and its organizational implications.