Green IT Capability and Firm's Competitive Advantage

Green IT Capability and Firm's Competitive Advantage

Rabiah Eladwiah Abdul Rahim (Faculty of Computing, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia) and Azizah Abdul Rahman (Faculty of Computing, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/ijide.2014010104


The concept of Green Information Technology (Green IT) has been widely discussed in recent times, but the question of how a firm can afford to implement Green IT in both IT and other business operations has yet to be examined. In addition, the question of whether Green IT has made any significant contributions towards competitive advantage in organizations has not yet been studied. This study attempts to bridge this gap by viewing Green IT capability from the lens of Natural Resource-Based View. The two constructs derived from this theory, namely, as pollution prevention and product stewardship are discussed in this paper. Its application is extended into the IT context with reference to Green IT literature. This occurs among an early review of the utilisation of these constructs particularly for Green IT process management. The implications of the outcome of this study, both for the IS researchers and for the practicing managers, are discussed.
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The recent emergence of energy efficiency and cost effective IT equipment (known as Green IT) has been regarded as a social and technical arena of innovation (Davidson et al., 2011). The literature distinguishes between, namely: technical innovations, those that involve new technologies, products and services. It also includes administrative innovations, namely: those that involve procedures, policies and organizational issues (Tarafdar & Gordon, 2007). Drawing upon this, Table 1 categorises the environmental sustainability research appearing in Information Systems (IS) journals into technical and administrative research. These journals are identified from literature that point out the journals which published articles related to environmental sustainability. It shows that IS fields tend to focus more towards administrative issues, rather than on technological aspects which might be of interest to practitioners in the computer science area. Environmental capability is ongoing in operations management, marketing, and strategy, and although this is still a nascent area, a number of interesting findings have emerged (Hart & Dowell, 2010). However, discussions on environmental capability in IS context have been generally lacking to date.

Table 1.
Previous environmental sustainability studies which appeared in IS journals
Research CategoriesEnvironmental Sustainability CategoriesReferences
Technical (involve new technologies, products and servicesTechnological design Zhang, et al. (2011) Patnaik et al. (2011)
Administrative (involve procedures, policies and organizational aspects)Technological adoption (System, Grid Computing, Websites and Smartphones) Bengtsson and Ågerfalk (2011), Walker and Brammer, (2012), Vykoukal et al. (2010), Parker et al. (2010) and Pitt et al. (2011).
IS issues (principles, innovation framework, adoption, evaluation and contributions) Dedrick (2010), Standing and Jackson (2007), Melville (2010), Chen et al. (2010), Butler (2011), Schmidt et al. 2010), Bose and Luo (2011), Molla and Cooper, (2009) and Cater-Steel and Tan (2010).

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