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Journal of Global Information Management

Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016

What are the Keys to a Successful Mobile

Payment System? Case of Cytizi:
Mobile Payment System
Mario Silic, Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland & ZSEM, Zagreb,
Andrea Back, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland


Scholars and practitioners agree that the future of payment is mobile contactless payment (MCP).
However, while many projects concerning the implementation of MCP solutions have been started,
MCP is still not available in most countries. Concerning this fact, studies on the obstacles to MCP
implementation conclude that the formation of interorganizational relationships (IORs) is an
important aspect to the success of any MCP project. In this study, the authors research the influence
of organizational culture on IORs in the French MCP service, Cityzi. They conducted interviews with
executives of the main organizations involved and collected data about the organizational culture using
a quantitative questionnaire. The results revealed that the organizations involved in Cityzi emphasize
a developmental culture that drives innovation and competition between the organizations involved,
which leads to rivalry between them. The authors conclude that the centralized structure around a
coordinating organization that displays a group culture supports the implementation of MCP systems.

Cityzi, Interorganizational Relationships, Mobile Contactless Payment, NFC, Organizational Culture


Over the last decade, mobile information technology (IT) has made remarkable improvements.
Smartphones and other mobile devices got more and more powerful and reached a substantial market
penetration, coupled with decreasing prices for such devices. A comparable development is also
evident for wireless network technology; transfer rates and network coverage increase, and prices for
wireless data transfer contracts and other services constantly decrease. This led to a situation in which
a large majority of the population owns high-end mobile devices with the capability to access the
internet independently from their location. Other technologies that extend the functionality of mobile
devices, such as Near Field Communication (NFC), also reached a substantial maturity level (Ming
2011; Ondrus & Pigneur 2007). With the combination of these technologies, smartphones and NFC,
novel mobile services, such as MCP, can be realized. Several studies (Au & Zafar 2008; Dahlberg,
Mallat, et al. 2008; Hu, Li, & Hu 2008; Ondrus & Pigneur 2006, 2008; Pousttchi 2003) conclude that
the benefits of MCP are far-reaching; on one hand, it allows a faster and more convenient payment
process at the point-of-sale, and, on the other hand, it is capable of supporting additional customer
services, such as digital membership cards. However, while the technology made great advances and
is ready for the implementation of a nationwide MCP service (Ondrus & Pigneur 2007), the industry
is still caught in a series of more or less successful trials.

DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.2016070101

Copyright 2016, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.

Journal of Global Information Management
Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016

This inefficient series of trials in the implementation of MCP services motivated information
systems researchers (ISR) to identify the particular obstacles to MCP. Therefore, several studies
conclude that the success of MCP implementation does not depend primarily on technological
aspects but, rather, on the complexity of the necessary collaborations among different organizations
(Dahlberg, Huurros, & Ainamo 2008; Ondrus, Lyytinen, & Pigneur 2009; Sammer et al. 2012; Silic,
Back, & Ruf 2014).
A study by Ondrus et al. (2009) summarized the current state of the art and analyzed three
failed MCP projects in Switzerland to conclude that the first necessary step for a successful MCP
implementation is to build up IORs. The important role of IORs is also confirmed by another study
conducted by Sammer et al. (2012), which reports evidence that some market actors, which are
necessary for the implementation of mobile contactless payment services, even actively hinder the
development of MCP services.
Hence, the existing research indicates that the formation of IORs between certain market actors
is a necessary requirement in the implementation of MCP services, but organizations are approaching
this issue in different ways. In any case, research suggests that, for a successful MCP implementation,
organizations have to reach out beyond their borders and actively support and create the necessary
IORs. Concerning the formation of IORs, research further suggests that the organizational culture
(OC) of the concerned organizations is an influencing factor to this process (Cadden, Humphreys, &
McHugh 2010; Steensma et al. 2000). In the context of MCP, this aspect has not yet been researched,
and our knowledge is still limited. Thus, research may identify IORs as a crucial factor (e.g. Au
& Zafar 2008; Dahlberg, Huurros, et al. 2008; Dahlberg, Mallat, et al. 2008; Ondrus et al. 2009;
Sammer et al. 2012), but no study has yet explored the role of OC in the domain of IORs in MCP. To
contribute to our understanding of this formation process, this study explores the influence of OC on
the formation of IORs in the implementation process of MCP services. To target this issue, we apply
the competing values model of organizational culture (Denison & Spreitzer 1991) and carry out a
single case study on an MCP implementation in France. We explore the following research question:
What is the influence of organizational culture and interorganizational relationships in the
implementation of MCP services?
We found that the organizations involved in Cityzi emphasize a developmental culture that drives
innovation and competition between the involved organizations, which leads to rivalry among them.
We conclude that the centralized structure around a coordinating organization that displays a group
culture supports the implementation of MCP systems.
This means that the competition and rivalry between organizations remains a major obstacle to
the implementation of MCP, which can be overcome only if organizations cooperate and form IORs
with the objective of establishing a complex system such as MCP.
Our research thus extends the existing theory on MCP implementation from an interorganizational
perspective by researching, in particular, the influence of OC on the formation of IORs. We further
contribute to the broader context of IOR theory and OC theory by exploring the interplay of these
constructs in a new context with unique characteristics.
The results also support practitioners and governments by deriving recommendations for the
implementation of an MCP solution. This is particularly relevant as several organizations have already
invested considerable effort and assets in the implementation of MCP services, and new MCP projects
are continuously triggered. A deeper understanding of the influencing factors is, therefore, crucial
and reveals important recommendations.
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: Section 2 discusses the related theory and
defines theoretical propositions. Section 3 discusses the methodological approach and describes the
case selection. Section 4 reports on the results, and Section 5 discusses the implications for theory
and practice, as well as the limitations of the study.

Journal of Global Information Management
Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016


2.1. Mobile Payments

Mobile payment is a new disruptive field in which various traditional players, such as banks and
telecom providers and new entrants, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, are trying to enter this
new market (Ondrus & Lyytinen 2011). Recently, NFC technology was enabled on mobile phones,
which brought a new dimension to market expectations (Juntunen, Tuunainen, & Luukkainen 2012).
However, in order to build such a service, important efforts and pre-conditions are needed from
different market actors and consumers.
For mobile payments to be a success, collaboration is needed between telecom operators and
banks (Au & Kauffman 2008), which can be challenging and lead to failure (Dahlberg, Huurros, et
al. 2008). Recently, de Reuver et al. (2015) analysed mobile payment failure as result of differing
strategic objectives and interests, conflicts, lack of dependencies and governance issues from
the collaboration among three major Dutch banks and three Dutch telecom operators. Clearly,
simultaneous cooperation and competitioncompetition being a process of interaction between two
or more actors (Bengtsson & Kock 1999; Walley 2007)is an important influencing factor when
building a network in which one champion (e.g., governing organization) should take the leadership
and governance role (Andersson et al. 2013). For Magnier-Watanabe (2014, p. 1050), there is no
doubt that until stakeholders agree on a cooperative business model using a common platform,
the adoption of mobile payment systems by companies and then by end users will remain slow. In
analysing the case of the Japan MCP implementation, the study found that the role of champion was
a key success factor in which the payment platform has become institutionalized through a regulating
body (FeliCaNetworks) (Magnier-Watanabe 2014).
Furthermore, the issue of IORs and collaboration is the concern of the strategic alliance research
(Dyer & Singh 1998; Harper 2015; Oliver 1990). Since different network actors have different strategic
interests, it is mandatory to establish the right level of IORs for the MCP solution to be a success. On
the other side, it was found that the adoption of NFC mobile payments depends on product-related
factors, personal factors and attractiveness of alternatives (Pham & Ho 2015) in which performance
expectancy is a key success factor (Morosan & DeFranco 2016). Past research has also examined a
number of factors that play an important role in the mobile payment adoption, such as the compatibility
effect, individual mobility and subjective norms (Schierz, Schilke, & Wirtz 2010), behavioral beliefs,
social influences and personal traits (Yang et al. 2012; Zhou 2011). In addition, risk related to using
the mobile payment system plays an important role in the users trust in the system (Dan & Jing 2011;
Srivastava, Chandra, & Theng 2010).

2.2. Interorganizational Relationships

IORs are a complex and challenging objective that can be better understood through the collective
action theory, which suggests that collaboration between partners to achieve a common goal on their
own is only possible by undertaking the collaboration process (de Reuver et al. 2015).
In the MCP context, IORs are also one of the key success factors. There are several reasons why
MCP implementation requires the right level of IOR support. First, the implementation requires the
combination of different services (payments, transactions, identification, etc.), which are usually
provided by different organizations and industries (Dahlberg, Mallat, et al. 2008; Ondrus et al.
2009; Sammer et al. 2012). Second, most MCP services require the adoption of existingor the
implementation of newIT infrastructures (for example, NFC-enabled terminals at the point-of-
sale). Third, MCP requires acceptance by end customers and merchants in terms of usability and
trust (Dahlberg, Mallat, et al. 2008; Shin 2009). Fourth, MCP is a substitute for existing payment
methods (common credit card payment), which, therefore, challenges existing networks, such as the
four-party system of the credit card payment process (Sammer et al. 2012).

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Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016

Clearly, an MCP solution has a number of IORs between the involved organizations, in which
organizations share resources to provide the MCP service. However, several issues need to be resolved
before an MCP service becomes a reality: 1) differing objectives and interests (Kollock 1998); 2)
interdependencies that result from differences in terms of resources, time and budget (Marwell,
Oliver, & Prahl 1988); 3) conflicts, because of the collaboration vs. competition effect (Baland &
Platteau 1996); and 4) governance, in which a higher authority is needed to attract different actors
(Bianco & Bates 1990).
In this context, it is clear that MCP is a network of different actors in which different IORs are in
place (Parmigiani & Rivera-Santos 2011). The MCP network of two or more groups of organizations
will create network effects (Ballon 2009) as different user groups, such as consumers, merchants,
banks and payment service providers, need to be part of the network (de Reuver et al. 2015). To better
understand the relationships between different actors in the network and map the involved companies
in a logical and comprehensive way, we apply the actor-network theory (Law 1992).

2.3. Actor-Network Theory and IOR

Actor-network theory (ANT) is a sociological theory that can be distinguished from other network
theories in a way that an actor-network includes not merely people, but objects and organizations
(Law 1992). These are collectively referred to as actors. The primary concept of ANT is the concept
of the heterogeneous network, which is defined as a network containing many dissimilar elements,
including both social and technical parts. Hence, ANT uses a socio-technical perspective in which
neither social nor technical positions are privileged. The task of identifying all of the heterogeneous
elements in an actor network can be used to record a comprehensive picture of a system (Au & Zafar
2008; Sarker, Sarker, & Sidorova 2006). ANT is particularly suitable for our approach as it is able
to include many facets of a system: resources, social and technological aspects and actors. Besides
the concepts of actors and the actor network, we will also use the concept of punctualization, which
treats a heterogeneous network as an individual actor to reduce network complexity (Sarker et al.
2006). We apply ANT to guide our assessment of the MCP solution and to develop a theoretical
representation of the researched system.
Concerning the broader scope of IORs, several researchers studied specific types of IORs to
better understand the nature of these relationships. One type of IOR is the vertical relationship (i.e.,
buyer-supplier) and the supply chain, respectively. Related to this subtype of IOR, Cadden et al.
(2010) developed a framework based on 16 empirical articles that indicate a linkage between OC
and supply chain performance and success. The framework demonstrates the influence of OC on
strategic, supply chain relationship performance outcomes and, thus, introduces OC as an influencing
construct. In addition to these results, the influence of national culture on the success of IORs has also
been researched by Steensma et al. (2000), and the studies of (Hillebrand & Biemans 2003; Love et
al. 2002) targeted the influence of OC on IORs. The theory, therefore, supports the proposition that
organizational culture would influence the implementation of MCP.

2.4. Organizational Culture

To explore how organizational culture influences the implementation of MCP, we need to further
define OC. One of the most common instruments to assess OC is the competing values model (CVM)
introduced by (Denison & Spreitzer 1991). CVM is a widely used approach in information systems
research (ISR) to empirically assess culture on an organizational scale (Leidner & Kayworth 2006).
It is also a well-reported approach and uses fairly short and validated measurements for OC (Denison
& Spreitzer 1991; Iivari & Huisman 2007). Culture is measured in terms of values separated by two
distinctions and dimensions: change vs. stability and internal focus vs. external focus (Denison &
Spreitzer 1991; Iivari & Huisman 2007). Figure 1 illustrates the two main dimensions on which the
CVM is based: the control-flexibility axis (vertical) and the internal-external axis (horizontal).

Journal of Global Information Management
Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016

Figure 1. The competing values model (Denison & Spreitzer 1991)

The control-flexibility axis reflects the extent to which an organization emphasizes control
and stability or flexibility and spontaneity. The internal-external axis indicates if an organization
emphasizes a focus on its internal organization or the environment. Organizations with an internal
focus strive to maintain and improve the existing organization, while external-oriented organizations
focus on competing with, adapting to and interacting with the external environment (Zu, Robbins,
& Fredendall 2010). By combining these two axes, four types of ideal cultural orientations emerge
from this distinction: group culture (GC), developmental culture (DC), rational culture (RC) and
hierarchical culture (HC). To assess OC, we follow the definitions of the four ideal types of cultural
orientation, as described in the introductory paper of the CVM by Denison and Spreitzer (1991). By
measuring OC based on the CVM, we can identify to what extent a certain organization emphasizes
the four ideal cultural orientations included in the CVM.
To guide the case study, we follow the recommendation of Yin (2009) and define theoretical
propositions to construct a preliminary theory. Concerning the influence of OC on IOR, research
takes two perspectives: (1) cultural compatibility of organizations impact the performance of the
IOR (Cadden et al. 2010); (2) certain cultural types are supportive/handicapping in the formation
of IORs (Leidner & Kayworth 2006). We will focus on the latter perspective and explore whether
certain cultural types positively or negatively influence the formation of IORs.
By their nature, IORs are always external relations of an organization, meaning that IORs
belong to the external environment of the organization rather than the internal. Therefore, the
external environment represents the external stakeholders with which the organization interacts,
e.g., customers, suppliers, the government, etc. Based on this conclusion, we propose that externally
oriented organizations (DC and RC) are more likely to support IORs. In contrast, we propose that
internally oriented organizations (GC, HC) will deemphasise IORs, as they are described as having
a primary focus on the internal organization (Denison & Spreitzer 1991).
However, aside from this differentiation, the CVM (Denison & Spreitzer 1991) and others
also propose that organizations oriented towards flexibility and spontaneity (DC and GC) are more
open to innovation and the establishment of new products and services than those oriented towards
control and stability (HC, RC). As we research IORs as a means to establish a new service (MCP),
it is predicted that DC and GC will be more open to form IORs.
In addition to these two axes, the CVM also describes each cultural type. In terms of the formation
of relations, the description of the GC is particularly relevant to our understanding as it has a primary
concern with human relations (Denison & Spreitzer 1991). Some authors (Stock & McDermott 2001;
Zu et al. 2010) have, therefore, proposed that GCs are may be focused on the internal environment
but emphasise relations in generalinternal and external ones. Hence, we propose that a GC will be
supportive in establishing and maintaining IORs.
To summarize these theoretical propositions, we conclude that DCs, GCs and RCs are expected
to support the formation of IORs. In contrast to that, we expect that an HC orientation is a handicap
to the formation of IORs. Table 1 summarizes the theoretical propositions.

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Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016

Table 1. Summary of the Theoretical Propositions concerning the emphasis of the four cultural types to form IORs

Group Culture (GC) Developmental Culture (DC)

Emphasis for innovation Emphasis for the external environment
Emphasis for relations Emphasis for innovation
Hierarchical Culture (HC) Rational Culture (RC)
Emphasis for the external environment


Concerning MCP services, we limit our view on the implementation of MCP in the developed world,
as there is evidence that the adoption of mobile payment also depends on the maturity of the financial
system in a particular market (Mas & Radcliffe 2011). Following the argumentation of Au and Zafar
(2008), we further assume that such MCP services are dependent on a complex multi-actor network,
which is the case in the developed world as comparable systems, for example, the credit card system,
already exist. To assess such an MCP solution, it is necessary to identify and categorize the involved
With this study, we will not test the hypothesis but explore if there is initial evidence for our
theoretical propositions by employing case study research. The benefit of case study research is that
it is capable of handling different types of data (quantitative and qualitative) and deriving empirically
based conclusions from even small samples (Stock & McDermott 2001). In our case, this is especially
important as our unit of analysis is a certain MCP implementation. MCP implementations are
commonly nationwide projects, and, thus, there are only a limited number of cases available. Another
constraint is that we need to assess the IORs of several organizations, which work together to deliver
the MCP service. Thus, we cant simply focus on only one organization but have to research the
whole network of organizations that provide the MCP service. This means that we have to study the
solution as well as all of its parts. We, therefore, approach the research question by collecting data
from organizations that form the MCP system.

3.1. Case Selection

As this study is based on a single case approach, we followed the recommendation of Siggelkow
(2007) to select an appropriate case. We defined that an appropriate case needs to either display a
certain amount of success or be a representation of failure. After an initial review of MCP cases, we
decided to look for a successful case, as we needed to ensure that we will have the opportunity to
acquire enough data from each involved organization. We also focused on MCP service implemented
in European countries to ensure some generalizability. After reviewing several secondary data about
different MCP services and conducting expert interviews (in total, five experts were interviewed:
three from three different MNOs from France, U.K. and Germany, one from a third-party service
provider and one expert from the mobile payment industry), we decided to assess the MCP service
provided in France: Cityzi.
Cityzi is an NFC-based multi-service that includes three end-customer applications, including
payment, and we focused our research on:

Payment, including services for public transport (purchase of tickets for the public transport)
and retailers (payment, mobile loyalty and couponing programs);
Cityzi tags, including the e-campus project with the aim to access various information using
Cityzi tags; and
Third party applications, including tourist information.

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Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016

Today, Cityzi is available in five cities (Nice, Strasbourg, Caen, Marseille and Paris), and further
expansion is planned. Technically, Cityzi is based on a state-of-the-art, NFC-based solution integrated
in subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, which is compatible with most modern smartphones. Due
to the market penetration (more than 1.5 million terminals; support for 26 different smartphones;
more than 1 million registered users), it can be considered as the largest commercial rollout of mobile
NFC services in Europe thus far (Andersson et al. 2013).

3.2. Data Collection

Cityzi is organized by an association called Association Franaise du Sans Contact Mobile (AFSCM).
AFSCM coordinates all the activities of the participating organizations, namely, MNOs, service
providers and technology vendors. AFSCM shared their contacts with us and supported us in
identifying the appropriate contacts. A summary of the interviewees, including information about
their position and organization, is shown in Table 2 below:
The data collection approach included primary data derived from interviews and questionnaires as
well as secondary data derived from press releases and organization websites. All interviews have been
conducted as semi-structured telephone interviews, which have been audio recorded and transcribed.
The interviews lasted an average of 60 minutes. The questions concerning OC have additionally been
assessed with a quantitative questionnaire, which was sent to the participants immediately following
the interview. The OC questionnaire included 12 five-point Likert-scaled items adopted from (Iivari
& Huisman 2007). The qualitative interview followed an interview guideline, which included the
following sections: information about the organization and interviewee, description of the activities
within Cityzi, description of the IORs concerning Cityzi and outlook. All interviews included only
executives from the relevant organizations. We interviewed only executives for two reasons: first, they
are most likely to have a holistic picture of the involvement of the organization in the MCP service,
and, second, they can be seen as dominant actors in their organizations and are, therefore, appropriate
representatives for the OC of the corporation (Leidner & Kayworth 2006; Sarker et al. 2006).
Further, to assess the MCP services in a case study, we defined a case study protocol to ensure
the comparability of the data collected from each company. The case study protocol represents a
generic structure of an MCP ecosystem. To apply the case study protocol, we first identified the actors
present on the market. Table 3 describes the case study concepts that we analyzed:

Table 2. Interviewees and information about their position and organization

Organization Org. Size Department Position of Interview

AFSCM Small (<50) Top Management CEO
Technology vendor 1 (TV1) Small (<50) Top Management CEO
Technology vendor 2 (TV2) Large (>250) NFC Business Development Director, NFC products
Technology vendor 3 (TV3) Large (>250) Sub Division eDocuments Senior Manager (Director,
NFC products)
Mobile network operator 1 Medium (50-250) NFC Business Development Director, NFC products
Mobile network operator 2 Large (>250) NFC Business Development Senior Manager (Business
(MNO2) Development)
Service Provider 1 (SP1) Small (<50) Top Management CEO

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Table 3. Case study concepts

Concept Description
Company Companies that are involved in the MCP service. Companies are associated and aggregated to actors of
the network.
Actor Actors represent different companies categorized by a classification adapted from Au and Zafar (2008)
and Sammer et al. (2012). The classification includes the following actors:
(7) Regulation agencies: this categorization includes government agencies that are concerned with
financial or technological issues related to MCP.
(8) Financial Service Provider: companies that facilitate the process of clearing payments.
(9) Merchants: companies at the point-of-sale, e.g., retailers.
(10) Technology vendors: companies that provide or manufacture technologies such as cell phones, NFC
transaction modules or terminals at the point-of-sale.
(11) Mobile network operators (MNO): wireless service providers that handle issues concerning the
secure element (SIM).
(12) MCP Associations: associations that coordinate the implementation of MCP services and represent
a forum for the attending companies.
IOR To identify IORs, we define them as any relation that either is a transaction (transaction cost theory
view) of real or virtual commodities (knowledge, money, information, etc.) or the option for a company
to obtain access to complementary resources (resources based view).
OC OC describes the cultural value orientation of a certain company based on the CVM. OC is measured
according to the dimensions of DC, RC, HC, and GC.

3.3. Data Analysis

All transcribed interviews have been coded based on a predefined categorization by using the software,
NVivo 10. We used the following categorization for the coding process:

Description of the MCP solution: quotes concerning the MCP solution.

Actor: quotes concerning the role and the strategy of a certain organization.
Actor network: quotes concerning relationships between organizations and the structure of the
Organizational culture: quotes concerning the organizational culture of an organization.

Two of the authors independently coded the interview data. Cohens kappa, which measures
inter-rater reliability, was statistically significant at 0.83. In a second round, discrepancies were then
discussed and resolved. By following the approach recommended by Miles and Huberman (1994),
the authors then visualized the data.
The results of the 12 items used to assess the OC have been used to calculate scores for each
organization that represent the extent the organization emphasizes a certain cultural type (i.e., DC,
GC, HC, RC). Each cultural type is represented by three items. To derive scores for each cultural
type, we calculated the mean of these three items. The values range from 1 (low emphasis) to 5 (high
emphasis) for each cultural type.


Cityzi is a brand of the organization AFSCM, that covers several NFC services, including NFC-
based MCP. Back in 2008, AFSCM was founded by three French mobile network operators (MNOs)
(Bouygues Telecom, Orange France, and SFR) upon the need to facilitate, organize and standardize
the technological development of NFC services. The objective of AFSCM is to promote contactless
mobile services and to synthesize the results of several working groups concerned with the

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Volume 24 Issue 3 July-September 2016

standardization of mobile technologies, including the NFC Forum, the mobile technologies cluster,
the secured electronic transaction group TES, and the forum for mobile contactless services. The
main stakeholders of AFSCM are the MNOs, the service providers and the technology vendors. Each
stakeholder provides specific resources for the Cityzi system: the MNOs provide access to the SIM
card, the service providers develop services and applications for Cityzi, and the technology vendors
develop hardware that conforms to the Cityzi standards.
AFSCM itself takes the role of alliance, which provides standards for NFC-enabled mobile
services and approves new services. It, therefore, also ensures the interoperability of the services
that use Cityzi. Under the brand name Cityzi, AFSCM offers a comprehensive set of technical
specifications built around the concept of an open platform for mobile applications that use NFC. This
basically enables service providers to develop applications that allow a secure data communication
and authentication between an NFC terminal and an NFC-enabled handset. To enable such a secure
communication, a secure element that is capable of identifying the user is required. In the case of
Cityzi, the secure element is the SIM card. Using the SIM card and the data communication of
the handset, a second communication channel (2) is opened over the air (OTA) that connects the
handset with the service provider. For an NFC action with Cityzi, the handset, therefore, opens two
communication channels with the service provider, one through the NFC terminal and one OTA
through the MNO. Figure 2 illustrates the data communication triggered by the execution of a Cityzi
NFC application. The data communication is illustrated with arrows. While solid arrows indicate the
communication that is standardized and defined by Cityzi, dotted arrows indicate communication
that is not comprised in Cityzi. The term NFC handset applies to any device that is compatible with
Cityzi (mainly smartphones).
In addition to the authentication and secure communication, the SIM card is also used to secure
the application. In this approach, the application is separated into two parts: the midlet and the cardlet.
The midlet is basically the application that comprises the user interface and is stored like any normal
application on the handsets data storage. The midlet transfers the user input to the cardlet, which
provides a secure communication with the service provider. Therefore, the communication through
the NFC terminal and OTA communication is handled by the cardlet. This part of the application,
the cardlet, is crucial as it enables the secure communication and is, therefore, stored on the SIM
card. By storing the cardlet on the SIM card, it is protected and has direct access on the identification
information stored on the SIM card. Figure 2 illustrates this separation in the right lower corner:
Based on this general approach of Cityzi that enables a secure communication and authentication,
service providers can develop applications to allow payment transaction with NFC-enabled
smartphones. By 2012, several banks and public transportation services used Cityzi to provide their

Figure 2. Data communication view of the Cityzi solution

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customers with application for payment. By using Cityzi, these service providers integrate NFC
payment into the existing payment process, for example, by triggering a credit card transaction. In
Figure 2, the payment process would be triggered at the dotted line between the service provider
and the NFC terminal. Therefore, Cityzi is, in many cases, not a replacement of an existing payment
system but an extension.
This is possibly due to the approach of Cityzi to provide an open system to any organization and
developer. The interview partners also regularly commented that the openness and interoperability is
a key aspect of Cityzi: The promise of interoperability means that any Cityzi service will work no
matter which MNO is used. Service providers have the guarantee that their services will work on all
mobile phones labelled Cityzi. This is very important for the operation and success of the service.
Overall, all interviewees have identified interoperability and the openness of the system as a key
success factor for the service expansion. This is enabled by the fact that all involved organizations
have to follow the specifications provided by AFSCM.

4.1. Interorganizational Relationships

AFSCM as an organization was founded upon the agreement of several MNOs to cooperate in
establishing a standard for NFC services. It was, therefore, not primarily established to enable MCP
but to create a common standard for NFC services. However, since AFSCM was founded, its role
evolved from being just an organization that defines technical standards into an organization that
also coordinates organizational relationships and maintains contracts with all involved organizations.
It, therefore, evolved from being a specification provider into being a platform provider for NFC
services: In the beginning, the mission of the alliance was to standardize the technical specifications
and create a standard platform for secure NFC services. Today, it is more and more to provide a
contractual basis with the involved organizations. This is a guarantee for all partners that if they
follow the specifications, their services and products will work fine.
Different interorganizational relationships are summarized in Figure 3. Four mobile operators
(Bouygues Tlcom, SFR, Orange and NRJ Mobile) with many associated partners (e.g., Veolia
Transport, Adelya, Airtag and Connecthings) propose a variety of different services to their customers.
One interviewee explained that there is a process flow that is defined by the alliance: ...MNOs
today implemented a global solution called Cityzi, which is manifested as interconnection of different
services provided by banks, service providers, etc. They have to establish a contractual relationship
with every provider and follow the process flow as defined by AFSCM. This process flow is clearly
described in the Cityzi application development in which each new project to be implemented needs
to go through different phases: 1) contractual and administrative phase, in which the service provider
contacts the mobile operator to define roles and responsibilities of the service provider, mobile provider
and technical service provider; 2) service development and functional validation, in which the service
provider performs functional tests; 3) information system connection, in which the NFC platform of
the service provider is connected to the OTA platform of each mobile operator; 4) pre-production

Figure 3. Schema of the general interorganizational relationships

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testing and validation, in which applications are tested in preproduction mode on the mobile operator
OTA platform; 5) end-to-end testing with application sign off and final launch; and 6) application
maintenance with application updates.
The existence of an alliance was pointed out in several interviews as being an important part
of the entire solution building, and interviewees agreed that, without an alliance in place, it would
probably be much more difficult to launch the service. One interviewee said, If there was no alliance,
all these services and projects would not be existing today so the challenge would be there. Other
interviewees agreed that the role of the alliance is to provide standards, specifications, contractual
relationships: ...principal function of the alliance was to standardize technical specifications, and
today the work of that alliance is to guarantee these standards and eventually to upgrade them with
new the national level but also a much bigger level. or to: establish a contractual
relationship with every provider...
Other interviews identified different relationships and dependencies between different actors.
For example, one interviewee said, these solutions developed in France by AFCSM (alliance)
and the work groups, and, overall, everything was pushed by the GSM association (French mobile
operators), and another spoke of different interorganizational dynamics in which retailers are also
engaged: There are retailers working aside Carrefour or Casino, which implement MCP solutions
for their customers. One interviewee also mentioned some of the current roadblocks in which some
actors relationships still need to be leveraged: ...unfortunately, some banks are still not there...some
commerce are customers of certain banks that do not yet accept the payments of Cityzi.
Today, AFSCM is operated independently and is open for any organization to join, which created
an eco-system around AFSCM and its platform, Cityzi. Each organization is, therefore, mainly dealing
only with AFSCM, as a service provider describes in the following quote: Cityzi is very important
to us, as it is the only standardized platform to provide NFC-based services in France. They provide
technical specifications of how the service must be developed, and every new Cityzi service is approved
by AFSCM. By that we know that our service will work within the Cityzi platform.
Due to this platform approach, all standards are provided by AFSCM, and, therefore, the other
involved organizations do not necessarily have to establish IORs between them as AFSCM centralizes
most of the relations and maintains contracts with each organization. The involved organizations
experience this centralization as a benefit and central success factor: If there would be no alliance
at all, these services and projects would not exist today.
Further, all interviewees identified interoperability and the openness of the system as a key
success factor for the service expansion. This is enabled by the fact that all involved organizations
have to follow the specifications provided by AFSCM. This is possibly due to the Cityzi approach
of providing an open system to any organization and developer. Interoperability in the Cityzi case,
in which several different actors were involved, was of the highest importance in order to have a
successful project to offer a solution that would not be dependent on service type, or would not
work if a customer changed MNOs. One interviewee clearly mentioned the importance of having
an operational and working system regardless of the MNO involved: ...promise of interoperability
meaning that the service will work no matter which MNO is used. Or you, as service developer, you
have the guarantee that your service will work on all mobile phones labelled Cityizi. The same for
customers that have Cityzi phones they have the guarantee when doing payment with their banks
that it will work no matter which bank or phone is used. It was also important that the notion of
interoperability is applied to mobile device makers; no matter which MNO I would be associated
with, it needs to work. Another one also highlighted that conditions of interoperability have been
agreed to and aligned between main market actors prior to the service launch: In fact, France was
a precursor in the SIM-based solution, and there were some working groups built by main mobile
operators to define the conditions of interoperability in the implementation of the solution on the
SIM card. And these solutions developed in France by AFCSM (alliance) and the work groups, and
overall everything was pushed by the GSM association (French mobile operators).

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Other interviewees raised the question of security, which is a very important aspect together
with interoperability. For example, one interviewee highlighted security risk and explained that it
represented a certain barrier for service expansion: as there is no sufficient guarantee to do mobile
payment or buy tickets and having guarantee of a safe transaction related to fraud, hacking, etc.
Overall, all interviewees identified interoperability as a key success factor for service expansion
and explained that, in order to take the solution to the next level, interoperability specifications need
to be upgraded, which will lead to increased security in the SIM-based solution. One interviewee
explained that these new specifications have been aligned and agreed to between actors and are about
to be implemented: ...actors worked on these specifications, V2, and worked together to have them
implemented by the beginning of 2013. So actors that started the V1 development continued with
V1 but work in parallel to start with V2.We, SFR, as MNO, stopped V1, and we are focusing on V2.
So today we are working on launching V2 services
From all the interviews, there was clear evidence showing that all actors do follow specifications
produced by the MCP alliance creating a strong interoperable system with a secured SIM-based
solution and underlying services.

4.2. Organizational Culture

Cityzi as a platform comprises four actors: (1) the alliance (AFSCM); (2) the service providers; (3)
the MNOs; and (4) the technology vendors.
The alliance provides the platform, and the other three actors join the alliance to use the platform
and to certify their products or provide services. We call this groupcomprising (2), (3) and (4)
the alliance members.
The alliance members commonly mention that innovation is a primary reason for them to be a
member of Cityzi. They explain that the NFC technology is of highest importance to them in order
to retain existing customers and gain new customers as they see themselves as innovation leaders in
their industries: In fact, we are one of the most innovative players in our field. Our goal is to provide
something new to our customers.
This emphasis for innovation seen in the quotes is also evident in the results from the quantitative
questionnaire. The results in Table 4 show that all interview members that belong to the alliance
members group indicate a strong emphasis on the DC. The DC is known to be a cultural orientation
that uses innovation as a key strategic resource. Therefore, both the qualitative and quantitative data
support the proposition that the alliance members emphasise a DC.
All of the alliance members have to cooperate with the alliance, but not necessarily with each
other. However, for the alliance, AFSCM, an important aspect is to collaborate with the members
and organize the relationships. A focus on managing relationships is represented by an emphasis for
a GC. Interestingly, the quantitative data reveal that AFSCM emphasises a GC more than any other
cultural type and more than any other organization in the sample.
All interviewees explained that the technology uptake with the latest trends that include NFC
technology is of the highest importance in order to retain existing customers and gain new customers.
For developmental culture, innovation represents one of the key drivers, and one interviewee pointed
out innovation as the main differentiator in which new services, such as NFC technology, will increase
their competitiveness and provide new added value to their fact, we are one of the
VMNOs, the most innovative one, and we do not look for low cost but rather to propose something
new to our customers...and we wanted to be credible and be competitive by adding new or same
services proposed to our customers... Developmental culture also suggests that the organization
is taking some actions to adapt to the external environment emphasized by the interaction with the
organizational environment.
Concerning the formation of the alliance, the interviewees explain that most organizations had
been very interested in joining the alliance from the beginning of its formation: We joined the

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Table 4. Results of the quantitative organizational culture assessment displaying mean values and the corresponding standard
deviation in brackets. The scale ranges from 1=high emphasis to 5=low emphasis

alliance because there is technical specification of standards, and we wanted to be involved from the
beginning in order to understand what will be inside and to influence its development.
In addition, this statement also mentions that some organization have the motivation to influence
the alliance or even have the ambition to strengthen their role in the NFC market. Another alliance
partner mentions something comparable when he describes the position of his organization within the
alliance as a member that not only wants to listen but to contribute: We are an active member
that is not just listening and taking the specification, but we are, rather, providing our feedback,
suggestions. We try to push all suggestions that can help to increase the current solution. One alliance
partner even called the relationship between the alliance members a power fight: In my opinion,
it is a power fight. Its about who will get what and under which conditions.
But while there is rivalry between the alliance members, AFSCM remains in a powerful position
as it can act mostly independently and possess the right to control the platform: All members have
to follow the process and the standards defined by AFSCM. This is fixed in contracts that companies
have to sign to be a part of the alliance and to provide services and products for Cityzi. Further, all
alliance members in the sample agreed that, without the alliance, they would be not that successful
in providing NFC services.


Based on the results, we conclude that Cityzi is a very centralized system with a powerful and
independent organization at its core that controls the relationships of the alliance members.
Interestingly, the alliance members indicate the same rivalling intentions between the involved
organizations (Ondrus et al. 2009; Sammer et al. 2012) that appear to be one of the major obstacles to
NFC payment implementation in Switzerland. Past research has also identified the rivalling intentions
to be linked to the challenge of differing objectives and interests in which actors come from different
industries (Markus, Steinfield, & Wigand 2006). Indeed, banks want to reduce cash transactions and
be ready for the competition, and telecom operators look to increase their revenues through existing
assets (e.g., SIM cards) (de Reuver et al. 2015). Consequently, for both actors, mobile payments can
be an opportunity as well as a threat.
CAT suggests that collective action will fail in cases in which clear authority and leadership
are missing from a central organization (Bianco & Bates 1990; Ostrom 2014; Sandholtz 1993). This
obstacle seems to be resolved by the implementation of a central organizationin this case, AFSCM
that coordinates the relationships between the organizations. Moreover, the governance aspect is
another dimension that was confirmed to play the central role in controlling the relationships with
the third-party service providers (Tilson, Lyytinen, & Srensen 2010). This explains the failure of
the mobile payment system in the Netherlands where awareness among consumers and merchants
was not created nor was there much communication with the outside world. There was no effort

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mentioned to actively involve user groups from the start of the project. Also, there was no vision yet
on governance over third-party service providers (de Reuver et al. 2015, p. 341).
Another interesting aspect is that MCP was not the primary intention of Cityzi. This fact is
supported in the establishment of a central organization, such as AFSCM, as other market actors
involved in other payment methods do not have to fear that MNOs would challenge them in their core
business: payments. On the other hand, this platform is a door opener for organizations that provide
electronic payments to extend their existing system with an MCP-feature.
Due to the organizational culture of the alliance members, it is not surprising that they constantly
challenge each other. On the one hand, these organizations push innovation, but they also see it as
a means to gain an edge over their competition. This also explains why competition and rivalry
among organizations was previously identified as a major obstacle to the implementation of MCP.
To establish a complex system like MCP, different organizations have to cooperate and form IORs.
Research (e.g. Stock & McDermott 2001; Zu et al. 2010) argues that organizations that display a
GC orientation would be more successful in managing and establishing IORs. This is also supported
by the results, which show that the alliance members lack an emphasis for a GC but that the most
central organizationAFSCMhas strong orientation towards a GC. This means that the organization
that is at the core of the system and manages all the relations required to deliver NFC services is
different than the member organizations by having an emphasis for a GC. We, therefore, argue that
the unique cultural orientation of AFSCM and the centralized structure of the system are major factors
for its success. However, the cultural dimension should be taken with precaution as the four cultural
orientations are not exclusive. An organization can switch from one organizational culture type to
another one by a strategic direction, and an organization can also have more than one organizational
culture orientation.

5.1. Practical Implications

This leads to fundamental managerial and governmental implications. It can be argued that the case
of Cityzi reveals a blueprint of how to overcome the problems with MCP implementations in other
countries. From that, we can derive a recommendation for governments, and for certain organizations
like MNOs, that the implementation of a central unit that coordinates the technical standards and
relationships among the involved organizations is a potential way to overcome the obstacle of rival
members, which hinders the implementation of MCP. We further recommend that this central
unit should have an emphasis on relations, meaning that they display a GC orientation. However,
significant uncertainties surround all MCP implementations, which top management of involved
organizations should take into account. Indeed, technological and business-related uncertainties in
the MCP ecosystem are still relatively high. One example is the high fragmentation of underlying
infrastructure technologies, which makes it rather challenging to build a common platform on which
different actors could easily connect their own solutions. This somehow tackled a central organization
that promotes a unique standard, but this approach reaches its limits as soon as some actors want to
create their own standard (e.g. Apple Pay).

5.2. Theoretical Implications

From a theoretical point of view, these results contribute to our understanding of the problems
and solutions for the implementation of such complex technological systems. The results further
contribute to the existing theory of interorganizational relationships and provide evidence for the
identified obstacles, introducing the new factor of organizational culture. Based on this conclusion,
we propose that research concerning the implementation of MCP systems or other comparable
systems should explore the influence of the organizational culture of the involved organizations. We
further recommend that research should evaluate the proposition that a centralized system structure
around a coordinating organization, which happens to display a GC orientation, is a valid approach
to overcome obstacles like rivalry in the MCP implementation.

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5.3. Limitations and Future Research

The conclusions also display some limitations. First, we derive our recommendations and conclusions
from a single case study. This means that the generalisability of the results is limited. To evaluate the
generalisability, we suggest that the given recommendations need to be further evaluated. This could
be done by expert interviews, additional case studies or by implementing the recommendations in other
markets. Second, we have been not able to collect data from all 19 involved organizations. To collect
further data from the remaining organizations would additionally strengthen the drawn conclusions
and the quality of the results. This could be done through a multiple-case study approach by using
qualitative data to further understand if other markets, in which a similar structure was implemented,
have the same interorganizational relationships and dynamics. What would be particularly interesting
is to target third-party companies to get more insights from their side on the relationships at different
levels as it is clear that interorganizational relationships may not be the same among the bigger
market players (e.g., MNOs and banks) as it would be among the smaller players (e.g., medium size
programming company).


Our research revealed that the organizations involved in Cityzi emphasize a developmental culture
that drives innovation, but also competition, among the involved organizations, which leads to
rivalry. But in contrast to other solutions, Cityzi members are coordinated by an independent central
unit: alliance. Unlike the other alliance members, alliance emphasizes a group culture with a focus
on maintaining relationships. We can conclude that a centralized structure around a coordinating
organization with a group culture supports the implementation of MCP systems. From a theoretical
point of view, these results contribute to our understanding of the problems and solutions associated
with the implementation of such complex technological systems. The results further contribute to the
existing theory on MCP implementation and provide evidence of the identified obstacles, introducing
the factor of organizational culture.

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To what extent do you agree with the following statements? (1 = totally disagree, 5 = totally agree)
1. The organization I work in is a very personal place. It is like an extended family and people seem
to share a lot of themselves.
2. The organization I work in is a very dynamic and entrepreneurial place. People are willing to stick
their necks out and take risks.
3. The organization I work in is a very formal and structured place. People pay attention to bureaucratic
procedures to get things done.
4. The organization I work in is a very production-oriented place. People are concerned with getting
the job done and are not very personally involved.
5. The glue that holds the organization I work in together is loyalty and tradition. Commitment to
the organization I work in runs high.
6. The glue that holds the organization I work in together is commitment to innovation and
development. There is an emphasis on being first with products and services.
7. The glue that holds the organization I work in together is formal rules and policies. Following rules
and maintaining a smooth-running institution are important.
8. The glue that holds the organization I work in together is an emphasis on tasks and goal
accomplishment. A production and achievement orientation is commonly shared.
9. The organization I work in emphasizes human resources. High morale is important.
10. The organization I work in emphasizes growth through acquiring new resources. Acquiring new
products/services to meet new challenges is important.
11. The organization I work in emphasizes permanence and stability. Efficient, smooth operations
are important.
12. The organization I work in emphasizes competitive actions, outcomes and achievement.
Accomplishing measurable goals is important.
(group culture orientation: items 1, 5, 9; developmental culture orientation: items 2, 6, 10; hierarchical
culture orientation: items 7, 11; rational culture orientation: items 8, 12)

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Mario Silic is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen,
Switzerland. He holds a PhD from University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. His research motivation focuses on the
fields of information security, open source software, human-computer interaction and mobile. He has published
research in Computers & Security, Information Management & Computer Security, International Journal of
Information Technology & Decision Making, and Records Management Journal.

Andrea Back received her Master Degree Diplom-Kaufmann and Doctorate for Social Sciences from the University
of Erlangen-Nuernberg in 1984 and 1988. Since 1994 she has served as full professor at the Institute of Information
Systems at the University of St. Gallen. In these years, she has also been visiting professor at City University of
Hong Kong and University of Navarra, Spain. Her research activities cover Mobile Business, Digital Transformation,
Enterprise Social Collaboration and Co-Working, Text Analytics as well as Behavioural Aspects of IT-Security.
She holds several advisory positions for innovation driven business development. Her teaching contributions to
the Business Innovation Master Program are research-based as well as focused on practical relevance, and thus
often use co-teaching formats.