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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3794||2012||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11400 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Information and Organization, Volume 22, Issue 4, October 2012, Pages 252–272
This article analyzes the adoption of B2B-e-business technology in German automotive supplier companies during the internet hype period, i.e. in the very early stage of technology diffusion. While from the outset e-business was assumed to be used by companies in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs, some previous IOS research and theoretical considerations suggest that both efficiency and environmental expectations can be important reasons for companies to implement e-business. On this backdrop, the paper analyzes the reasons for e-business technology adoption, focusing on the explanatory value of institutional factors like mimesis, coercion, and normative pressures. Theoretically based hypotheses are developed and tested using regression models with a quantitative data set of more than 1900 companies. The article tries to make an innovative contribution to the field of IOS research, first, by drawing on theories of organizational structuring — new institutionalism, social psychology, and transaction cost economics; second, variation of adoption rationales in different types of companies and different business functions inside a company is taken into account. It appears that the adoption of e-business is explained by external pressures from other customers, bandwagon effects and herding behavior during the e-business hype, and expectations and interests of professionals inside a company. In the ‘core’ areas of a firm, efficiency rationales play an important role, too. The data reveals that the reasons of e-business usage differ significantly by department and company type
This article analyzes the adoption of B2B-e-business technology in German automotive supplier companies during the internet hype period, i.e. in the very early stage of technology diffusion. While from the outset e-business was assumed to be used by companies in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs, some previous IOS research and theoretical considerations suggest that both efficiency and environmental expectations can be important reasons for companies to implement e-business. On this backdrop, the paper analyzes the reasons for e-business technology adoption, focusing on the explanatory value of institutional factors like mimesis, coercion, and normative pressures. Theoretically based hypotheses are developed and tested using regression models with a quantitative data set of more than 1900 companies. The article tries to make an innovative contribution to the field of IOS research, first, by drawing on theories of organizational structuring — new institutionalism, social psychology, and transaction cost economics; second, variation of adoption rationales in different types of companies and different business functions inside a company is taken into account. It appears that the adoption of e-business is explained by external pressures from other customers, bandwagon effects and herding behavior during the e-business hype, and expectations and interests of professionals inside a company. In the ‘core’ areas of a firm, efficiency rationales play an important role, too. The data reveals that the reasons of e-business usage differ significantly by department and company type. Highlights ► Adoption of e-business is explained by institutional factors and efficiency. ► Coercion, herding behavior, and world views of certain actors play a role. ► Reasons for adoption vary by company type and department/business function. ► Theories of organizational structuring may foster theoretical debate in IOS. 1. Introduction Since the 1990s, internet-based technologies have become wide-spread tools for firms to support a variety of business processes (for example see Liu & Vijayaraman, 2007). Around the year 2000, with the rise of the new economy, many industries faced an ‘e-business hype’. Firms expected that modern internet tools would become a precondition for enhancing efficiency and maintaining competitiveness. While the media, management scholars and consultant agencies have pointed to the overall positive effects of B2B-e-business1 and focused on advising promising ways to benefit from e-business technology (see Papazoglou and Ribbers, 2006 and Fox, 2006, for instance), little attention has been paid to the risks and obstacles firms face when redesigning their structures and processes with e-business technology. If e-business technology per se is a prerequisite for coping with the challenges of the global economy, why are many companies reluctant to use electronic business? Why do some stick to more simple technologies only, like email, while others invest in highly advanced e-business systems? The purpose of this paper is to determine the rationales for the adoption of e-business technology by automotive supplier plants in an early period of innovation diffusion, i.e. between 2001 and 2002, under circumstances of a ‘hype’ situation. To this end, I seek to apply recent theories of organizational structuring to the field of technology diffusion. While there has been valuable research on IOS as well as on e-business diffusion (see Robey et al., 2008), in this study two broader concepts of organization research are utilized in order to explain the adoption of e-business among suppliers: the new institutionalism of the sociology of organizations (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983 and Meyer and Rowan, 1977); and transaction cost economics (Granovetter, 1985 and Coleman, 1994). I refer to those two broader theoretical paradigms for three reasons. Firstly, in a ‘hype’ situation, rational explanations for IOS adoption might faint as social expectations, fads and herding behavior gain importance (Hirschheim et al., 2012). New institutionalism and social psychology provide some theoretical rationales to analyze those processes, some of which have been successfully applied to the field of IOS in previous research (see Fichman, 2004 and Teo et al., 2003); however, as the sector under investigation is assumed to be highly competitive, efficiency reasons cannot be excluded from the theoretical concept. Second, linking IOS adoption research more closely to broader paradigms in sociology and economics may support the connection to current debates in social sciences. The theories chosen here appear to provide highly sophisticated rationales, enabling to ground the explanation in elaborated theoretical frameworks of (contradicting) assumptions about organizational behavior.2Thirdly, as the new institutionalism emphasizes power relations and legitimacy instead of efficiency, it is capable of avoiding the ‘pro-innovation-bias’ because, confronted with institutional pressures, companies “may adopt innovations that are not right for them and, thus, experience outcomes that fail to meet expectations” (Robey et al., 2008: 509). Transaction cost economics, on the other hand, provides a good counterpart which has already been widely employed in organization science and IOS studies. In the remainder, both theories will be presented briefly and discussed with respect to the possible explanations for e-business adoption. I will point out that the theoretical models reveal different rationales for the diffusion of e-business.3 E-business technology diffusion might be triggered by firms strategically planning to increase efficiency (market pressures); it can also stem from ‘political processes’ in the automotive industry, which is characterized by the asymmetric allocation of power in customer–supplier-relationships. Finally, as companies are embedded in their institutional environments, normative expectations or cultural demands might account for e-business technology usage among suppliers. Based on our theoretical reflections, hypotheses will be developed and tested using multivariate models based on data from 1902 companies within the German automotive supply industry. The following section contains a brief review of basic characteristics of e-business and the German automotive supply industry.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The aim of this paper was to examine the reasons why automotive supplier companies implement e-business technology in an early period of technology diffusion and in a ‘hype’ situation. Data analysis reveals that the reasons for e-business adoption differ by supplier type and by department (see Table 6). In each of the four business functions we examined, at least one type of institutional process plays an important role. E-business implementation as a result of coercion – conforming to demands of business partners, i.e. customers or suppliers – is an important rationale in all business functions: When companies implement an e-business-system, they often force business partners to use the system in order to ensure that integration and efficiency effects are achieved. There is some evidence that coercion is a strong motivation at the bottom of the supply chain: small parts suppliers (third tiers) are more likely to be forced to use e-business technology (by component and system suppliers as well as OEMs) than system suppliers, which are mostly larger companies that produce specific modules and, thus, tend to be more powerful.In sales and R&D, companies with a medium or low degree of embeddedness in the automotive sector (turnover shares below 70%) are more likely to implement e-business technology than are companies which obtain a high amount (more than 70%) of turnover in the sector. It can only be assumed that e-business technology in sales and R&D was often utilized as an ‘enabler’ for those suppliers, which up to that point had been lacking technological integration (Barley, 1986 and Malone et al., 1987). As the automotive industry is a pace maker in ICT, companies which are highly embedded in the industry certainly have been using some form of ICT in 2002, so that implementing e-business technology – as a substitute – appeared not an urgent task. Efficiency-related motivations are important reasons for companies to implement e-business technology in the core business areas of a firm, i.e. in the production and R&D departments. Obviously, those motives are less relevant in purchasing and sales. However, it is noteworthy that R&D and production/logistics nevertheless appear to be influenced by institutional processes. Obviously, companies cannot shield their core functions from institutional influences, even if they may jeopardize efficiency. Two reasons might feasibly explain this result: (1) Since the automotive sector is a highly competitive industry, coercion is an ambivalent process that may stem from the pressure to enhance efficiency: When OEMs and first tier suppliers are confronted with global market forces they may pass this pressure to their suppliers. Thus, efficiency pressures at the ‘top’ of the industry ‘trickle down the supply chain’ and may lead to coercion at the bottom.11 The analysis of the goals companies pursue with e-business technology adoption shows that many suppliers are forced to use e-business, but at the same time they pursue efficiency related goals. This indicates that companies still try to obtain benefits when facing ‘awkward’ conditions they cannot circumvent. (2) Normative pressures were found to be relevant in all business functions. It has to be taken into account that a company can hardly protect against this type of influence because it is closely linked to the organizations' members, i.e. the worldviews deeply embedded in the cognitive structures of employees and management (Berger and Luckmann, 1966 and Zucker, 1977). Thus, when IT professionals or consultants regard e-business technology as important (despite the possible risks and the lack of ability to measure its effectiveness), they may strongly advice management to adopt. Since what is perceived as rational and efficient is defined by entities in the environment, organizational structuring becomes a question of definition and cognition, and is thus subject to fashions, beliefs, and perceptions of best practice in the organizational field. But also interests and the power of influential members of an organization appear to be important in this context (Crozier & Friedberg, 1979). Consultants, for instance, will rationally ponder how to ‘sell’ e-business solutions and corresponding services to firms. Their behavior is not solely guided by taken-for-granted routines or scripts, but also by interests. Those issues have only recently been recognized in the institutional theory (Lawrence, 2008). According to our calculation mimesis plays a role in the purchasing and sales department only. To some extent, this result is plausible because during the e-business hype it was mainly those two departments which were widely assumed to benefit from the new technology. Herding behavior – doing what everybody else does – appeared to be an adequate way of acting. For larger corporations it seemed inevitable to implement e-business, since they would have been in jeopardy to be labeled as old-fashioned and outdated by business partners and the public. However, the fact that the explanatory value of mimetic effects in the quantitative data is rather low may raise different (theoretical) considerations. Firstly, mimetic and normative processes appear to be closely linked. Mimetic effects usually point to the (meso) level of the organization as an aggregate, while normative pressures point at groups of individuals (professions). The internal relationship of institutional mechanisms has drawn only little attention yet, although it clearly affects the empirical practicability (Mizruchi & Fein, 1999). As both mimesis and normative pressures are (at least to some extent) rooted in the existence of common worldviews and internalized cognitive schemata, they can only partly be distinguished with broad quantitative measures. A second consideration points to the inverse relation between mimesis and coercion. Some scholars have argued that institutions are anchored in the belief systems of individuals (Zucker, 1977). Thus, when the diffusion of e-business technology stems from coercion in the first place, it can be assumed that e-business technology is not yet as strongly an institutionalized model. Vice versa, if e-business technology were highly institutionalized one could expect that companies do not need to enforce conformity of business partners because suppliers would voluntarily adopt e-business technology — simply because it is taken for granted as the legitimate and appropriate way of conducting business in the industry. However, there certainly are different degrees of institutionalization which come with different forms of pressures. Regarding our analysis, the focus is on an early stage of innovation diffusion, and thus, coercion might be a trigger for initiating institutionalization,12 making e-business more widely accepted in subsequent years ( Scott, 2001 and Palmer et al., 1993).13 Herding behavior in the adoption of e-business technology, obviously, is driven by different forces: organizational leaders of larger corporations jump on the bandwagon as they seek to appear modern and innovative; but smaller companies follow because of direct pressures and anxiety to lose customers. The results of our empirical investigation show that the theories applied in this study contribute to the explanation of e-business technology adoption. Future research will benefit from avoiding a monistic theoretical approach for explaining organizational dynamics (Abell, 1995). However, additional theoretical accounts still may provide further insight as the overall explanatory value of most models used here is rather low. It seems beneficial to include concepts of DOI research which have been successfully employed in previous research. Further, a more detailed picture of the organizational characteristics of the suppliers and their social contexts appears necessary. The automotive industry reveals certain features that may shape diffusion processes considerably: On the one hand, many firms in the sector are members of company networks. Very often, those are long-term alliances which reveal different levels of interdependency, cooperation and trust (see, for instance, Gulati & Singh, 1998), which will influence the anticipated need for ICT (opportunism) and the way companies ‘bargain’ over its implementation. On the other hand, OEMs and system suppliers seek to foster competition among their suppliers in order to reduce costs. The result is an ambiguous industry structure marked by coincidence of cooperation and competition (Mühge et al., 2004). In a highly structured organizational field, decisions to adopt are also molded by social relations and bargaining processes between alliance partners (Granovetter, 1985). Hence, intercompany linkages and attitudes of individuals become important. For ICT usage in SMEs, for instance, it has been shown that CEO innovativeness, attitudes towards ICT adoption and IT knowledge are of great relevance (Thong, 1999). As more than 90% of the automotive supplier companies are small and medium sized enterprises (with less than 250 employees), we certainly find specific ways of adopting new organizational features. Institutional pressures are being treated in a company specific way — interpreted with reference to existing organizational cultures, individual experiences and attitudes (Sahlin-Andersson, 1996) that may be explored with case study rather than survey methods. Future research may explore how to combine those different concepts.