Information Technology in Automobile Industry

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In recent years, information technology and an increasingly transparent financial sector have become key driving forces in business -- operations, strategies, structures, ownership, and performance. These forces cut across many industries to force changes that, in turn, have had significant economic and social impacts in rural communities. Structurally, the emerging lithium-ion battery technology industry is uncharacteristic of typical agricultural processing. The lithium-ion battery technology industry grows out of its developmental stage into a more embedded role. The ability of traditional firms to achieve competitive advantage is predicated, in part, on their capacity to develop efficient, internalized information systems to provide market coordination and linkages between their operations and global commodity and financial markets. However, the rapid and widespread change in information technologies has arguably eroded the power provided to these global processing concerns.

The automobile industry is often characterized in terms that limit the scope of discussion to the manufacture and sale of new automobiles. The role of information technology (IT) in this process has never been in the foreground: it has always been infrastructural, making possible subtle but profound changes in nearly every aspect of the industry. This panel will examine the mechanisms and logic of transformation in a world of rapidly changing capabilities in information processing and communication. In this, we depart somewhat from the contemporary practice of focusing on the ways in which specific information technologies (e.g., the Internet, World Wide Web, or e-commerce) change specific practices in the industry as it currently operates. Our focus is more upon the slow accretion of capability enabled by information technology that, in time, results in fundamentally new characteristics in the industry, as the main interest is in the relationship between information and...
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