IT as agent of social change : "Lonxanet" and the case of the galician artisanal fisheries
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TitleIT as agent of social change : "Lonxanet" and the case of the galician artisanal fisheries
APPLEGATE, L., GALLIERS, R. and DeGROSS, J. I. (eds.). Proceedings of the Twenty-Third International Conference on Information Systems, December 15-18, 2002, Barcelona (Spain). Atlanta, USA : Association for Information Systems, 2002
[Abstract] Information technologies (IT) can be used as an agent to foster social change. This case study describes an Internet start-up, Lonxanet, and analyzes its potential role as a catalyst of changes in the Galician (northwest Spain) artisanal seafood fisheries. These fisheries are traditionally associated to rural communities of fishers, selling their products in local auction markets known as lonxas. Galician seafood is hugely appreciated in the Spanish market, where products achieve very high prices and have luxurious connotations. However, the product passes through a wide array of intermediaries where lack of transparence prevails until it reaches the end market, so fishers achieve just a tiny amount of the potential profits despite assuming all the risks associated to the extractive phase. In order to foster social and economic change, Lonxanet proposes a large electronic marketplace initiative partially owned by fishers' organizations, integrating marketing and logistic services and selling directly to restaurants and other final consumers. This change enables fishers to exert control over the whole commercial cycle. Consequently, they switch from a survival mentality to an industrial one, and they become especially interested in the sustainability of the resource, thus achieving environmental benefits.