تجارت الکترونیک و استراتژی شرکت: چشم انداز اجرایی
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Information & Management, Volume 40, Issue 7, August 2003, Pages 663–675
Despite the recent downturn in Internet-based business, the dollar value of electronic commerce (EC) transactions is increasing at an astounding rate. In consumer-to-business applications, the amount of money spent by online shoppers is nearly doubling every year and is expected to approach US$ 100 billion by 2004 while business-to-business sales is expected to reach US$ 1.3 trillion by 2003. These opportunities, powered by the evolving computing and communication technologies, enable companies to gain tremendous operational efficiencies, personalization, and information based products and services. More and more conventional brick and mortar firms see e-commerce initiatives as offering strategic opportunities to transcend their normal operations. This study proposes that e-commerce initiatives are important strategic initiatives and that firms with a stronger EC market orientation will be more successful. Content analysis of CEO’s letter to shareholders of 145 Fortune 500 firms was conducted to evaluate the importance of EC and strategic orientation. The results provide support to the study’s propositions and indicate that EC must be pursued carefully as a strategic initiative rather than as an appendage to an existing organization.
The emergence of e-commerce is creating fundamental changes to the way that business is conducted. These changes are altering the way in which every enterprise acquires wealth and creates shareholder value. The myriad of powerful computing and communications technology enabling e-commerce allow organizations to streamline their business processes, enhance customer service and offer digital products and services. This shift in underlying marketing fundamentals is now the driving force that is luring many organizations to embrace e-commerce. However, as they are learning, organizations must proceed with caution, as the road to e-commerce is littered with failed initiatives. A plunge in the share prices of dot com companies sent the tech-heavy NASDAQ index into almost free fall; down over 70% of the record high of 10 March 2000. Though an economic slowdown was apparently likely, one thing was painfully clear; most Internet “pure plays” could not find sustainable profitability by operating only as e-commerce organizations simply by excelling in the management of technology, information, and the consumer behavior. Similarly, established companies that viewed e-commerce as a stand-alone appendage to their business would be less likely to succeed in these efforts. Therefore, it is our contention that firms must clearly recognize their e-commerce initiatives as an integral part of their strategic objectives. In addition, we propose that firms that carefully evaluate their customer and competitor base, as a part of strategic thinking, will reap more benefits. In the process of forming a corporate strategy to respond to the challenges of environmental change, normative thinking requires that a firm should analyze its industry forces and value-chain activities in order to identify opportunities for IT innovation. Furthermore, it should examine assets, resources, and competency of the staff and identify those mechanisms that confer a distinctive advantage over their rivals. Choice of appropriate strategy could then lead to superior performance. In the case of e-commerce, firms implementing such initiatives should carefully analyze external forces, internal resources and their core competencies. The outcome of this process should be reflected through a tight integration between corporate strategy and e-commerce. This study focuses on this outcome and its relationship with corporate performance. Specifically, the study investigated the extent to which large successful companies adopted an e-commerce posture that was integrated with their corporate strategy. Thus, we examined the qualitative portion of the company’s Annual Report: the CEO’s Letter to the Shareholder, using content analysis. This letter presents a unique observation point for the researcher interested in examining corporate strategy and holds potential for determining the innovative methods of the top manager’s strategy . Bettman and Weitz  argue that the CEO’s letter, which is a standardized component of the report, provides comparable and more objective data on an organization than would interviews. Pfeffer , recognizing the utility of the CEO’s letter as a source of “objective” data on organizations, has called for increased research use of annual report data. The study uses the CEO’s letter as input to address the following questions: 1. Is the importance of e-commerce to corporate strategy reflected in improved corporate performance? 2. Does a firm’s strategic orientation with respect to e-commerce have an impact on its performance?