An empirically derived model of the role of IS networks in business process improvement initiatives
During the past two decades both business managers and academic researchers have shown considerable interest in information system (IS) networks and their effect on business processes and performance. The present study builds on this interest to examine the nature of IS networks and business process improvement initiatives (BPII) and delineate the process by which IS networks influence BPII. Conceptually, both of these variables are considered multidimensional constructs, with IS networks comprising connectivity and flexibility dimensions and BPII involving process improvement initiatives and customer focus dimensions. We develop a model that elaborates on the interrelationships among these variables along with two key contextual antecedents (management support and information intensity) and pose a series of hypotheses. We then present the results of an empirical test of the model that involved structural equation modeling using data collected via a national mail survey from executives from 'Fortune 500' divisions. Overall, the results of the study found mixed support for our hypotheses. While network connectivity and network flexibility were found to be significantly related to process improvement initiatives, network flexibility did not have any significant effect on customer focus. The results of the study also indicate that top management support is significantly related to both IS network dimensions, which fully mediate top management support's influence on both BPII dimensions. Information intensity was also found to be significantly related to BPII and partially mediated by network flexibility with regard to process improvement initiatives. Implications of this study and directions for future research are also discussed.
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Volume (Year): 29 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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