تاثیر تجارت الکترونیک بر شرکت های کوچک و متوسط تایوان: اثرات بازاریابی و عملیات
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19687||2012||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 140, Issue 2, December 2012, Pages 934–943
The purpose of this paper is to distinguish the impacts of e-commerce on marketing and operations functions and investigate how these impacts have affected performance of Taiwanese SMEs. We also investigate the moderating roles of size and e-commerce experience of SMEs on the e-commerce impact–performance relationship. We have used resource-based-view of a firm to provide the theoretical underpinning to understand how e-commerce adoption is linked to firm performance. We have conducted a survey and obtained 110 usable responses from Taiwanese SMEs. We first verified our variables to check they get grouped to marketing and operations effects using confirmatory factor analysis. We then identified their influence on performance using regression. Finally, we verified the roles of size and e-commerce experience using moderated regression analysis. Our results show that operations and marketing aspects of e-commerce have strong impacts on performance of SMEs. Size of SMEs, measured using number of employees, moderates the impacts of operations and marketing aspects on performance, while e-commerce experience, measured using the length of time SMEs have adopted e-commerce, does not moderate. Our results will help SMEs in general and Taiwanese SMEs in particular to understand the influence of e-commerce on their performance.
Small and medium enterprises (SME) are generally characterized by the limited scale of their operations (Carson, 1995, p-61). SMEs play an important role in economic development of many countries around the world. Given the enormous benefits of e-commerce, many businesses are attempting to harness the benefits of e-commerce and SMEs are not exception to this trend. E-commerce is about using computer networks (including the internet) to conduct business like buying, selling, exchanging products, services and information (McKay and Marshall, 2004). In recent days e-commerce has also been used to improve operational aspects such as order processing, order fulfillment and delivery, and marketing aspects such as online advertising. There are a number of research studies in the literature that have aimed to identify how SMEs have benefited by adopting e-commerce. For instance, Santarelli and D’altri, 2003 have identified that e-commerce helped Italian SMEs to increase their customer base, develop new markets and improve communication with customers. In the context of some European and North American SMEs, Johnston et al. (2007) have found that e-commerce helped to increase revenue growth and reduce cost. In a wider context, several research studies have attempted to understand the nature of influence of e-commerce adoption on performance of companies (e.g., Gunasekaran et al., 2002, Chen, 2004 and Kumar and Petersen, 2006). For instance, Kumar and Petersen (2006) have reported that e-commerce adoption results in improved customer satisfaction, improved availability of information and reduced errors. From the literature, Gunasekaran et al. (2002) have identified various applications of e-commerce in the operations of manufacturing and services. Recently, Gunasekaran and Ngai (2012) have stressed that e-commerce will continue to shape the future of operations management. But, to our knowledge, studies that have focused on operations and marketing effects of e-commerce in the performance of firms are rare. The term e-commerce is interpreted differently in different contexts (Chaffey, 2006, Gunasekaran et al., 2002 and Sung, 2006). The term was earlier interpreted simply as transactions over the internet (Adam et al., 1999). However, over the years, e-commerce has been interpreted to include a variety of organisational activities including selling, buying, logistics, and/or other organization-management activities via the Web or doing business over information networks (Westland et al., 1999 and Weill and Vitale, 2001). For the purpose of this study, we interpret e-commerce to include the use of electronic technologies for selling/advertising using the internet in B2B and B2C contexts, for improving internal functions (such as order processing/fulfilment), and for facilitating communications among supply chain partners. Our interpretation is based on several relevant previous studies including (Cagliano et al., 2003, Clayton and Waldron, 2003, George, 2001, Kumar and Petersen, 2006, Soliman and Youssef, 2003 and Turley, 2001). In this paper, we focus on Taiwanese SMEs. It is said that Taiwanese SMEs experienced their golden age in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this period, they accounted for 70% of total exports. They also accounted for nearly 97% of the total number of enterprises in Taiwan until (SMEA, 1991, 2007). Unfortunately, over the years, the numbers of SMEs and the amount of exports have started declining. Subsequently, SMEs in Taiwan have started realizing the importance of employing innovative business structures with opportunities to employ new technologies (Daniel and Grimshaw, 2002). Thanks to the enormous breakthroughs in Information Technology (IT) and e-commerce, several businesses have begun to harness its potential to achieve competitive advantage and SMEs also followed this trend (Taylor and Murphy, 2004 and Oke et al., 2007). There are only a few studies on the adoption of e-commerce in the context of Taiwanese SMEs (Chen, 2004 and Chu, 2009). Based on a review of the literature, this study has found two important gaps. First, there are only a few studies (e.g., (Chen, 2004 and Chu, 2009)) looking at Taiwanese SMEs on the impact of e-commerce on performance. Second, while most of the studies have focused on the general influence of e-commerce on firm performance, there seems to be relatively few studies that attempted to understand the influence of e-commerce on various functional aspects in a business. On the other hand, there are studies that have highlighted that e-commerce can be applied differently in different functions, such as sales or logistics planning and on time delivery (Barnes et al., 2004 and Ramanathan, 2011). Hence, it makes sense to study the impacts of e-commerce on various functions of a firm. To fill these two gaps, we distinguish impacts of e-commerce on two major functions, namely marketing and operations, and study how these two influence performance of Taiwanese SMEs. In addition, we also test whether the length of experience of a firm after adopting e-commerce or its size have a moderating influence on the impact of e-commerce. To do our analysis, we have collected data from Taiwanese SMEs using specially designed questionnaire. In this research we have used resource-based-view as our theoretical underpinning, which is further explained in Section 2. Rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 outlines the existing literature and develops research hypothesis. Section 3 describes the research method used in this paper with specific importance to survey questionnaire. Data analysis and results are discussed in Section 4. Section 5 discusses the results further. Section 6 concludes this paper with details on managerial implications, limitations of our study and scope for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
E-commerce and information technology are considered as aids for businesses to implement and improve their present business activities. In this study, we have analysed the impact of e-commerce adoption on performance of SMEs in Taiwan using questionnaire survey. The impacts of e-commerce have been captured in terms of operations effects and marketing effects. We have found that the operations effects and the marketing effects of e-commerce have significant positive impact on business performance. This result is a contribution of our present study because, though most of the previous studies (e.g., Wu et al., 2003) have reported a positive relationship between e-commerce adoption and performance improvement, they did not study the operations effects and marketing effects separately. Our study shows that e-commerce helps improve both the operations and marketing functions of SMEs. We have also attempted to identify the moderating effect of size and e-commerce experience in the performance of SMEs. Using moderated regression analysis, we have found that e-commerce experience of SMEs (expressed in number of years) does not influence the impact of e-commerce on firm performance. On the other hand, size of firm, measured in terms of number of employees, has a strong moderating influence on the impact of e-commerce on business performance. The results of this study provide insights into how marketing and operations effects impact on SMEs’ performance to complement the lack of literature. A major key finding is that e-commerce adoption has helped Taiwanese SMEs to improve their overall performance by helping their operations and marketing functions more efficient. This finding supports the RBV as e-commerce uses almost all possible resources to achieve higher performance. Operations effects, measured using the operational activities (see Table 3), such as order processing, order fulfillment and supplier development, are able to improve the overall performance more positively compared to marketing effects. Marketing effects, captured using measures such as online advertising, higher customer awareness, brand recognition, and exposure to products or services following e-commerce adoption, are also able to improve performance. Overall performance of SMEs has been measured in terms of sales, customer base, customer satisfaction, process enhancement and competitive advantage. Our findings are consistent with similar observations in the literature, in a general context (e.g., Heim and Field, 2007, Kumar and Petersen, 2006 and Santarelli and D’altri, 2003) and in the Taiwanese context (e.g., Hu and Schive, 1998). A second key finding is that SMEs with more experience (measured in terms of the number of years) in adopting e-commerce applications have not shown better performance compared to a lower experience. This is another contribution of this study as there are no previous studies that tested moderating role of e-commerce experience. In a general context, this finding agrees with similar findings in the literature (Tornatsky and Fleischer, 1990, Wang and Ahmed, 2009 and Wu et al., 2003). Finally, we have found in Table 6 that larger firms (with higher number of employees) are able to use e-commerce better to improve their operations than smaller firms, whereas smaller firms achieve better marketing improvements with e-commerce than larger firms to help improve their overall performance. To our knowledge, these findings are unique to our study but we believe there are interesting similar observations in the literature. The main argument to explain the moderating role of size is the achievement of economies of scale; larger firms are able to achieve synergy with their large scale investments. RBV can also help explain the moderating role of firm size. Larger firms may have made large investments in e-commerce over time and during the period they may also have accumulated valuable inimitable knowledge. Typical areas in which electronic technologies can be used to achieve operational improvements are the ordering process, information processing, security of payments, order reliability, delivery reliability, order accuracy and supplier communications. In general these areas benefit by large investments. Ordering process can handle more order efficiently when automated using e-commerce technologies. Higher levels of e-commerce investment can help in improving security. Similarly, order picking accuracy and delivery reliability can also improve with larger investments. In general, larger investments are possible with larger firms, and hence these operational benefits accrue generally to larger firms. These results are in agreement with similar observations by Tornatsky and Fleischer (1990), Wang and Ahmed (2009) and Wu et al. (2003). This result is also similar to the findings of Daniel and Grimshaw (2002), who found that larger businesses showed greater interest in adopting e-commerce for improvements in operational efficiency. In contrast, our study has found that smaller firms achieve better marketing improvements with e-commerce than larger firms to help improve their overall performance. Typical areas in which marketing function of a firm can be improved using investments in electronic technologies are online advertising, customer awareness and brand recognition. These marketing impacts are generally based on several factors and may not be specifically attributable to e-commerce impacts. From the RBV point of view, smaller firms are generally able to attribute their efforts in e-commerce adoption more directly on marketing improvements (and hence accumulate knowhow more effectively) compared to larger firms that have more variety of investments to improve their customer base, brand recognition or advertising. In addition, compared to operations effects (delivery, order processing, etc.), the marketing effects (brand recognition, advertising, etc.) require relatively less investments (Clayton and Waldron, 2003). For example, design of a website or an online advertisement require more initial investments but less follow-up investments in contrast to order processing capabilities that may require investments at regular intervals. The power of the internet has generally helped both small firms and big firms alike in terms of online advertising, and there need not be specific advantage for larger firm in this aspect. Insofar as customer awareness and brand recognition are functions of online advertising, they follow similar behavior and do not accrue any specific advantage to larger firms. In summary, our finding that marketing effects of e-commerce helps larger firms less than smaller firms is somewhat new and is line with the findings of Clayton and Waldron (2003). In a limited context, this finding agrees with those of Daniel and Grimshaw (2002), who found that smaller businesses showed greater interest in adopting e-commerce for improvements in areas (such as responding to competitors and providing enhanced customer services) other than operational efficiency. In spite of the useful conclusions, our study can be further improved. For example, more indicators can be employed for measuring marketing. The interactions between operations and marketing functions and their effects on performance can be explored using the method of structural equation modeling. Since e-commerce technologies represent very dynamic and evolving field, similar surveys can be conducted over various periods of time and the trends over time can be analysed. They form scope for future research.