Evolutionary patterns in e-business strategy
In 2003 we investigated the level of adoption of e-business by manufacturing firms in Europe, identifying four strategies and analyzing them in terms of contingent factors and supply chain integration mechanisms. In this paper we replicate those analyses using the new release of the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS IV), comparing new results with old ones. Data collected in Europe within IMSS III and IMSS IV are used. In particular, we cluster companies according to e-business practices adopted in supply chain management and compare the degree of adoption of e-business in the two samples. A longitudinal analysis using data from companies participating to both editions of the survey is also conducted. We show that the main underlying constructs remain valid, with a higher average level of adoption of e-business tools, but the four cluster model is no more valid, while three clusters emerge, characterized by different levels of adoption of e-business, but balanced between e- commerce and e-procurement. The paper shows that also small and medium firms in various industries today are starting adopting e-business. Results show that a balanced, cautious approach is preferred to radical adoptions, since some firms have even reduced their initial efforts.
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