Information Systems Frontiers

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 81–95 | Cite as

Reinvention of interorganizational systems: A case analysis of the diffusion of a bio-terror surveillance system

  • Jane FedorowiczEmail author
  • Janis L. Gogan


Innovation diffusion theory proposed that adopters—whether individuals or organizations—sometimes reinvent an innovation as they gain experience using it. Reinvention can enhance (or impede) the likelihood of an IS innovation’s acceptance and further diffusion. This paper reports on a case study of BioSense, an interorganizational system that was designed as an early detection tool for bio-terror attacks and subsequently modified to better serve this need as well as to operate as a public health system for pinpointing geographic clusters of dangerous/acute disease outbreaks. By examining the interplay among the political and organizational dynamics and technical properties of the BioSense system, we shed light on processes affecting reinvention in an interorganizational context. We discuss our findings in light of theories of the diffusion and reinvention of innovations. We use Rogers’ (1995) list of factors supporting reinvention to structure the discussion of the fidelity and uniformity of the innovation within the processes it supports in adopting health services organizations.


Interorganizational System Reinvention Diffusion of innovation Bioterrorism E-government Fidelity and uniformity Adaptability and flexibility 



We wish to thank our Biosense contacts for their assistance on this case, and the IBM Center for the Business of Government, which provided support. We also thank Christine Williams, who contributed valuable insights on this case and others in the broader study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bentley UniversityWalthamUSA

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