Avocados Crossing Borders: The Missing Common Information Infrastructure for International Trade

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedings


This paper address indirect global interactions that involve collaboration across continents involving different cultures, languages, technologies and nations. Specifically, we are concerned with analyzing international trade of avocados from trees in Africa to grocery store shelves in the European Union. The methodology of the paper is a revelatory case study of a particular trade lane from Kenya to The Netherlands. Drawing on Activity Theory Framework and theories on Information Infrastructures, we provide an analysis of the complex inter-organizational systems and infrastructures involved in the selected case of international trade, identify critical issues in information flows, and propose ideas for design principles for a new information infrastructures for international trade. Our analysis shows that the existing infrastructure can be described as very fragmented and grossly ineffective. Our findings indicate that the implementation of a common integrated information infrastructure could significantly contribute to reducing costs especially by speeding up processes, by providing transparency in the flow and reducing the lead time for international trade of fruit and vegetables. Further, the description format developed for this case can be useful for visualizing and analyzing other supply chains involving collaborations across borders.

Publication information

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCABS '14. Proceedings of the 5th ACM International Conference on Collaboration across Boundaries : Culture, Distance & Technology
EditorsNaomi Yamashita, Vanessa Evers, Carolyn Rosé, Mary Beth Watson-Manheim
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)9781450325578
StatePublished - 2014
EventThe 5th ACM International Conference on Collaboration Across Boundaries (CABS 2014) - Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 20 Aug 201422 Aug 2014
Conference number: 5


ConferenceThe 5th ACM International Conference on Collaboration Across Boundaries (CABS 2014)

ID: 40962025