عوامل مؤثر بر توسعه وب سایت : مطالعه ای در مورد تجارت الکترونیک در سنگاپور
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3383||2001||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8911 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Information & Management, Volume 39, Issue 3, 20 December 2001, Pages 227–242
The website is the portal through which most of the electronic transactions are conducted today. The site’s development provides a glimpse of the firm’s electronic commerce (E-commerce) strategic objectives. Yet, few studies on E-commerce have related the firm’s website to its strategy. This paper examined the relationships between the strategic variables of competitive intensity, existing competencies of the firm, firm size, and strategic commitment on the one hand, and the development of the firm’s website, on the other. We developed a model based on existing literature in E-commerce and strategy. The study was conducted with 135 firms from the travel, financial and information technology (IT) sectors in Singapore. Results show that competitive intensity, firm size and existing competencies positively influence the firm’s strategic commitment to E-commerce. The commitment in turn affects the website development. We also show that websites can be classified according to their developmental level.
Although there has been a rush by most firms to establish some presence on the Internet, not all firms seem to pursue electronic commerce (E-commerce) with the same vigor. Some surveys suggest that only about 29% of all sites in the population actively engage in basic transactions or more complex exchanges . A cursory inspection of the World Wide Web (WWW) reveals a wide variety of species. Some firms have chosen to develop their sites to a high level of sophistication and integration whereas others appear to be content to maintain mere informational sites over the years. Firms’ online business models can be significantly different even within the same industry . Some writers have argued that the sophistication and complexity of the firm’s website reflects the strategic priorities of the firm since the website is the portal through which most of the electronic transactions are conducted . Several authors have also proposed an evolutionary scheme of site development in recent years. This paper asks two questions. If the website indeed reflects the firm’s E-commerce strategy, how are strategic variables related to the development of a firm’s website? Can websites be empirically classified on the basis of their complexity and sophistication? The determinants of the firm choices for E-commerce have not yet been formally identified. Few authors have linked the firm’s E-commerce objectives and strategies to the firm’s website. In this paper, we identify some of the determinants and explore the relationships between these determinants and website development. A second question pertains to the meaning of website development. Huizingh  recently proposed a useful framework for distinguishing between the content and design aspects of websites. His framework, however, does not classify websites on the basis of this framework. A secondary aim of this paper is to examine if websites can be classified according to their developmental level. An understanding of website development and the underlying strategic factors can throw some light on the firm’s strategic choice and implementation. Our review of literature on E-commerce (e.g. ), the resource-based perspective on strategy (e.g. ), first mover advantages (e.g. ), entry timing and complementarities (e.g. ), and information technology (IT) adoption (e.g. ) suggests a few potential determinants of site development. Specifically, we investigated the association between firm size, website age, firm age, competitive intensity, existing competencies and strategic commitment on the one hand, and the development of the firm’s website, on the other. The study was conducted with 135 firms from the travel, financial and IT sectors in Singapore. In the literature review that follows, we first present a brief summary of the relevant practitioner literature on E-commerce to establish our deduction of critical strategic factors. This is followed by an explanation of website development, and the development of a causal model linking the strategic factors to website development.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study has attempted to understand the primary drivers behind the development of websites. We have also evaluated the evolution of websites. We found some evidence that websites can be identified along four dimensions depending on their level of sophistication and integration. The findings also show that prior competencies, competitive intensity and firm size substantially influence the strategic commitment of a firm to E-commerce. Strategic commitment and competitive intensity affect the website development. Firm age and website age show no relationship to any of the endogenous variables. Our results do not speak for the success of the responding firms in E-commerce. Rather, they only indicate the extent of relationship between certain strategic variables and website development. 5.1. Evolutionary development of websites Our tests showed some support for the evolutionary arguments. We found four clear factors with an indication of progressive dissimilarity and proximity. We are not aware of any robust tests for such claims. Nevertheless, the results show that website development has distinct technological dimensions. While the number and notion of generations of website development remains contestable, using such a scheme should enable researchers to locate the match between the firm’s strategic posture and its true realization of E-commerce objectives. From a practitioner perspective, clear strategic goals and commitment are more important than just website development to succeed in this new domain. This is clearly reflected in the strong relationship between the articulated commitment of the management to E-commerce and the development of the website. The website should facilitate strategy implementation. A mismatch between the firm’s objectives, resource allocation and its web presence is a common occurrence in this evolving field. An interactive and complex website requires significant dedicated investments, skill acquisition and management commitment. Although E-commerce between firms has been in vogue for more than a decade, the advent of Internet has shifted many of these transactions from dedicated channels to the more generic Web-based extranet and intranet . For example, from a technological viewpoint, some of the physical additions or modifications to a website would include back-end logistics and front-end customer service integrative technology. A highly developed site should be extensible and have room for subsequent business expansion and changes in the Internet protocol. Hence, the website’s strategic importance. Our emphasis on the strategic significance of websites must be tempered with the potential impact of two factors. One is the industry effect and the other, the bandwagon effect. It cannot be assumed that all firms would want to pursue a highly sophisticated form of E-commerce at this point in time. Many firms in several sectors of Asia are either not prepared or unwilling to readily enter the fray. The website development score, as calculated here, shows a mean of 12.6 and a near normal distribution. However, the sectors examined are the most conducive to E-commerce. In the case of IT industry, web designers and solution providers can deliver their products without much physical infrastructure. The same can be said for the travel industry, where services such as reservations require only the IT infrastructure, and the firms function mostly as third party intermediaries. Singapore also has a relatively sophisticated regulatory environment that is aimed at facilitating online trading and financial services. Thus, the findings are not surprising with respect to these three sectors. It is, however, unrealistic to extrapolate to other industries from here. The manufacturing sector, for instance, has to rely on a reliable regional and global logistics network and also has to develop internal competencies to tackle the new environment. The manufacturing sector in Southeast Asia is not yet ready for this task, notwithstanding the extensive infrastructure provided by the Singapore government. In such an event, a firm is better off having a minimal informational site. We also found that competitive intensity had a significant effect on the technological sophistication of the website. The direct effect of competitive intensity could indicate either a counter-move by the respondent firms or a bandwagon effect. With rival websites appearing at an alarming rate, firms need to ensure that their sites are distinct and value adding. However, firms may also perceive that a strong presence on the web will drive away the demons of competition, even if the firm is not capable of utilizing the website’s true capabilities. These possibilities have to be further investigated. A note of prudence is appropriate at this point. It is not clear if the factor structure for website development will remain stable with changing sample types and sizes. Secondly, technologies are evolving very rapidly such that assertion over the number of dimensions will be foolhardy. Tests such as the squared Euclidean distance can only be considered as a preliminary establishment of the possibility of evolution. 5.2. Competencies, competitive intensity and firm size Our findings lend weight to the idea that strategic orientation towards new technologies and environments is often based on the firm’s existing skill-sets and capabilities. One implication of our findings is that despite the ease with which a complex site can be mounted, firms can flounder. Firms that have the skills and wherewithal also have the confidence to enter the new environment. In other words, having a complex site is not the answer to E-commerce but having the competencies to use it. The results also reinforce the notion that greater competitive intensity results in increased commitment to a threatened market. E-commerce represents a subfield since it does not necessarily displace the products or services that have been traditionally offered but alters the medium of transaction. This allows new entrants into the market through lowered geographical barriers and increased access to customers. This will in turn prompt the established players to up the ante. Thus, established firms as well as new entrants will be crowding this new space before any consolidation. The findings on size are consistent with the entry timing literature; the larger firms exhibit more commitment, refuting the media hype that smaller E-commerce start-up firms are more capable of responding quickly to the fluctuations. A plausible explanation lies in interaction effects, which are not tested here. When we view size in conjunction with existing capabilities, competitive intensity and entry timing into a new field, size favors early entry. Larger firms frequently enjoy quicker access to capital and skills, and have some in-built capabilities. This may be consequential in the case of E-commerce. Unfamiliarity with the necessary practices and technologies is likely to induce a conservative orientation. Thus, a firm’s existing competencies that are relevant to E-commerce, the competitive intensity in the environment, and the firm’s size are the most likely drivers of the firm’s commitment to E-commerce and its website development. Strategic commitment translates into website development. With regard to website age, it is probable that the liability of newness thesis is not applicable to websites. Firstly, new entrants can easily leapfrog several generations of development. Secondly, the development of viable routines may be more important than age per se for survival rate and success. The relationship between website age and learning may not be monotonic. This is particularly true in evolving markets with new technologies. On the other hand, firm age does not appear to deter firms from adopting E-commerce. 5.3. Limitations and future research The most obvious limitation to this study has been the small sample size in relation to the number of parameters, although the response rate is reasonable. This precluded a test of the measurement model and validation of the measures. Also, this paper is a static view of the constantly evolving Internet. The sample is drawn from Singapore, which has actively experienced E-commerce much later than the United States and Europe. The picture could change with experience. Future research should focus on the longitudinal aspects of website development to present a more dynamic picture of this environment. It has also been noted that firms dealing in categories of products or services find it easier to transfer their operations onto the Internet. Some products or services might be more conducive for marketing on the web, and this could affect the performance and goals of a website. This study did not test for the effectiveness or performance of the websites. We only established the relationship between size, competencies, competitive intensity, strategic commitment and website development. Assessing the performance of a website requires careful identification of the website goals and associated measures. Investigations of the relationship between strategy, website development and performance can produce more conclusive statements about the strategic importance of websites.