تاثیر قابلیت های IT بر عملکرد شرکت : نقش واسطه ای ظرفیت جذب و مهارت زنجیره تامین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|901||2012||37 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11290 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Decision Support Systems, Available online 23 December 2012
Researchers and practitioners regard information technology (IT) as a competitive tool. However, current knowledge on IT capability mechanisms that affect firm performance remains unclear. Based on the dynamic capabilities perspective and the view of a hierarchy of capabilities, this article proposes a model to examine how IT capabilities (i.e., flexible IT infrastructure and IT assimilation) affect firm performance through absorptive capacity and supply chain agility in the supply chain context. Survey data show that absorptive capacity and supply chain agility fully mediate the influences of IT capabilities on firm performance. In addition to the direct effects, absorptive capacity also has indirect effects on firm performance by shaping supply chain agility. We conclude with implications and suggestions for future research.
Leveraging information technology (IT) to derive competitive advantage is emerging as a top priority for firms , ,  and . IT capabilities are required for efficient and effective knowledge management and change management in a firm's supply chain , ,  and . However, previous empirical studies report mixed findings about the effects of IT capabilities on firm performance  and . “The role and articulation of ‘the underlying mechanisms’ through which IT capabilities improve firm performance remain unclear” (, p. 238). As such, scholars have called for more empirical studies on the influential mechanisms of IT capabilities especially in the supply chain context  and . The current study is an effort toward this research direction. In particular, this study explores the roles of two IT capabilities that affect firm performance, namely, (1) flexible IT infrastructure, which is a carefully planned and developed technological foundation on which present and future IT applications are built ,  and , and (2) IT assimilation, or the ability to diffuse and routinize IT applications in business processes . Previous studies indicate that both flexible IT infrastructure and IT assimilation are valuable, rare, and imperfectly imitable IT capabilities that firms must acquire to prosper in a rapidly changing business environment ,  and . Specifically, firms continue to make significant investments in IT infrastructure, facilitating the flow of knowledge and information across supply chains that, in turn, helps them maintain competitive advantage ,  and . Given that the market has become increasingly uncertain, managers now consider creating flexible IT infrastructure as a critical capability that allows firms to achieve superior performance . Thus, greater attention is given to the business value of a flexible IT infrastructure , ,  and . Furthermore, previous works report that a flexible IT infrastructure alone is insufficient — it simply cannot enable firms to maintain competitive advantage ,  and . For example, Devaraj and Kohli , indicate that the performance benefits of IT infrastructure investment may not be fully realized unless IT applications are actually assimilated. Practically, as an increasing number of organizational processes are becoming IT-enabled, IT assimilation is becoming essential in supporting business processes within and across organizational boundaries, thereby determining the value realized from IT applications ,  and . Recent literature question the direct effects of IT capabilities on firm performance by contending that the effects are mediated by other capabilities , , ,  and . For example, Wade and Hulland , state that “information systems exert their influence on the firm through complementary relationships with other firm assets and capabilities” (p.109). Sambamurthy, Bharadwaj, and Grover  posit that knowledge management and agility are two important mediators that help establish the nomological network for IT capabilities' impact on firm performance. Mithas et al.  further argue that IT capabilities normally affect firm performance by enabling higher-order business capabilities. Following this notion, we draw upon the dynamic capabilities perspective and investigate the underlying influencing mechanisms of IT capabilities. In particular, we follow Grant  and Rai et al.  in conceptualizing IT capabilities as fundamental capabilities that shape higher-order capabilities (i.e., absorptive capacity and supply chain agility) that, in turn, affect firm performance. Absorptive capacity refers to a firm's ability to value, assimilate, and apply new knowledge received from external sources, such as customers, suppliers, or alliance partners ,  and . Supply chain agility is defined as a firm's ability to effectively collaborate with channel partners to respond to market changes in a rapid manner  and . Both absorptive capacity and supply chain agility are viewed as the critical, direct sources of superior firm performance in the competitive market , ,  and . A flexible IT infrastructure provides the platform that can help firms exchange knowledge, align processes, and achieve operation flexibilities, whereas IT assimilation affects the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes within and across organizational boundaries through embedding IT applications into business processes ,  and . As such, we propose that IT capabilities (i.e., flexible IT infrastructure and IT assimilation) support the development of absorptive capacity and supply chain agility, thereby influencing firm performance. The research model is supported by data collected from senior executives in China. The rest of the paper is organized into sections. Section 2 presents the theoretical background and hypotheses development of this study. Section 3 describes the research methodology employed. Section 4 discusses our data analysis and research findings. Finally, Section 5 presents our discussion and conclusion.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of IT capabilities on firm performance in the supply chain context. By applying the dynamic capabilities perspective and the view of a hierarchy of capabilities, this study proposes a conceptual model in which IT capabilities, as lower-order capabilities, exert influence on firm performance through higher-order capabilities, namely absorptive capacity and supply chain agility. Our empirical findings on the effects of IT capabilities, absorptive capacity, and supply chain agility are not only consistent with prior studies, but also offer new findings on the association between IT capabilities, absorptive capacity, and supply chain agility in improving firm performance. Along the line of evidence for the relationship between higher-order capabilities and firm performance (see, e.g., , , ,  and ), this study has provided empirical evidence of the performance implications of both absorptive capacity and supply chain agility. Consistent with the dynamic capabilities perspective, the findings have highlighted the critical role of dynamic capability and operation capability in achieving firm performance. The results strongly support the claim that a firm's IT capabilities – both flexible IT infrastructure and IT assimilation – can help the firm improve its absorptive capacity. From a hierarchical perspective, a firm's specialized lower-order capabilities can be combined to generate higher-order ones. This finding is consistent with prior studies that proposed the notion that IT capabilities can help the firm develop dynamic capabilities (see, e.g.,  and ). The current study responds to the calls of scholars who have stressed the need for empirical research that examines the relationship between IT capabilities and absorptive capacity . The research results have highlighted the amplifying role of IT capabilities in developing absorptive capacity. However, the results of this study do not support the hypothesis on the association of IT capabilities and supply chain agility. A possible explanation is that the effects of IT capabilities on supply chain agility are fully mediated by absorptive capacity. The results of the mediating effect test (see Table 4 and Fig. 2) indicate the full mediation of absorptive capacity on the relationship between IT capabilities and supply chain agility. Indeed, Pavlou and El Sawy  suggest that the direct impact of IT capabilities is on the firm's ability to manage general knowledge rather than on its capability to manage operation-specific knowledge. This notion indicates that the influence of IT capabilities on supply chain agility may be indirect. The current study further finds that both absorptive capacity and supply chain agility can fully mediate the impact of both flexible IT infrastructure and IT assimilation on firm performance. This finding reinforces the view of a hierarchy of capabilities, which proposes that the lower-order capabilities can help a firm develop higher-order ones . This view is consistent with that of previous studies, which posited that the impacts of IT capabilities, as lower-order capabilities, on firm performance are mediated by dynamic and operational capabilities, as higher-order capabilities (see, e.g., , ,  and ). Nevertheless, it is necessary to evaluate the contributions of this study in light of certain limitations. First, there may be other IT or organizational capabilities that can influence firm performance. Future research may extend the scope of this study by examining the effects of manufacturing, marketing, and managerial capabilities on firm performance. Meanwhile, future research can also investigate how IT capabilities may facilitate the development of new types of contracts, which would enhance the efficiency of capacity investment, allocation decision and contracting . Second, all major constructs in this study are measured by the perceptions of individual respondents, which are inherently subjective. Although our analysis results do not show that the common method bias is a serious problem, we urge future researchers to use objective data or collect data from multiple informants. Third, the generalizability of our findings may be limited by the demography of the respondents. Specifically, we conducted the study only within the context of China. We chose informants who obtained training from the same institution. Although doing so may have enhanced the internal validity of this study, it has also limited the external validity of this particular work. Scholars and practitioners should, therefore, exercise caution in generalizing our findings to firms located in different economic, political, and cultural environments. Fourth, this study only considers three control variables. Future research should examine other possible control variables, such as the firm's embeddedness in a supply chain, which may influence firm capabilities and performance. Finally, considering the unsatisfactory RMSEA value of supply chain agility, future research should develop an instrument with better psychometric validity for this construct. This study makes three major theoretical contributions. First, it bridges separate studies on IT, dynamic capabilities, supply chain, and firm performance. It empirically tests their relationships in the supply chain context. Our findings help address the controversial issue of the value of IT capabilities ,  and . The results demonstrate that, although IT capabilities do not have a direct impact on firm performance, they do have an indirect effect through absorptive capacity and supply chain agility. Second, this study investigates how absorptive capacity affects firm performance directly and indirectly by shaping supply chain agility. The extant literature has examined either the direct or indirect effects of dynamic capability on firm performance (see, e.g.,  and ). However, limited studies have examined these two types of effects simultaneously. The findings of this study thus lend empirical support to the idea that dynamic capability may exert both direct and indirect influence on firm performance. Third, this study enriches our understanding of supply chain agility. Specifically, we provide empirical support for conceptualizing supply chain agility as a second-order construct. Meanwhile, consistent with prior studies (see, e.g., ,  and ), our findings confirm that supply chain agility is critical to firm performance. The results of the present study also extend our current understanding of the impact of IT capabilities on supply chain agility (see, e.g., ). Our findings indicate that supply chain agility can be shaped by absorptive capacity rather than affected by IT capabilities directly. This study also has major practical implications for managers. Firms have invested millions of dollars in IT to help achieve superior firm performance, especially in supply chain management. However, these investments may not reach their highest level of efficiency if firms do not leverage their IT capabilities to achieve superior operational and dynamic capabilities, and to derive competitive advantage. Therefore, it is critical for managers to apply their firms' IT capabilities to improve higher-order organizational capabilities, such as absorptive capacity and supply chain agility, to improve firm performance. Our study provides the necessary guidance and knowledge. Managers have to realize that justifying IT investments based on the immediate impacts of IT capabilities on firm performance is not appropriate. Rather, they should be aware of the interrelationships among IT capabilities, absorptive capacity, supply chain agility, and firm performance. Our findings indicate that the effects of IT capabilities on firm performance are mediated by absorptive capacity and supply chain agility. Thus, managers should focus on the effects of IT capabilities on enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of information and knowledge intensive processes in the supply chain, rather than on improving firm performance directly. Managers should also pay attention to the different effects of IT capabilities on absorptive capacity and supply chain agility. This study indicates that IT capabilities do not influence supply chain agility directly. The firm should apply IT capabilities to improve absorptive capacity first, and then enhance supply chain agility with superior absorptive capacity, which could then lead to superior performance.