This article describes how buyers in a technologically advanced industrial cluster use their electronic procurement software. I use Media Richness Theory with an expanded boundary to include business to business (B2B) communication and investigate their communication media choice. The research is based on a qualitative (interpretive) case study, and the main finding is that buyers and suppliers choose communication media in a ‘formality layered fashion’. Buyers and suppliers in strategic partnerships are committed to transparency and comprehensive information exchange. At the same time, the responsibility to avoid costs and liabilities forces both parties to play their cards close to their chests, highlighting a negotiative aspect in communication media choice. This has implications for how Media Richness Theory should be applied in B2B settings. The identified communication layers are “committing”, “documenting”, “direct”, and “personal”.
e-procurement; buyer/supplier relationships; media richness theory; computer-mediated communication; lean media; B2B