Assessing Relational E-Strategy Supporting Business Relationships

Assessing Relational E-Strategy Supporting Business Relationships

Anne-Marie Croteau (Concordia University, Canada), Anne Beaudry (Concordia University, Canada) and Justin Holm (Concordia University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch028
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Abstract

As per the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2009 was $31.7 billion. For the same period, e-commerce accounted for 3.5 percent of total sales with a value of $30.2 billion sales. As electronic business (e-business) has become essential in our economy, organizations have begun to demand a return on their investment in such endeavors (Damanpour and Damanpour, 2001). More recently, research indicates that webbased technologies enhance performance when the environmental pressures are high, the technical capabilities within the organization are well integrated, and the management team highly supports and sees value in e-business initiatives (Sanders, 2007). An extensive and diverse body of literature has been produced regarding e-business. One research angle that lacked over the years is the definition and assessment of an e-business strategy (e-strategy). Some efforts were made in evaluating e-strategy through an electronic simulation (Ha and Forgianne, 2006). Another recent research observed that human, technological and business capabilities and e-business implementation influence the business performance at various levels (Coltman, Devinney, and Midgley, 2007). However, both studies did not develop an e-strategy construct empirically tested with managers.
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Relational E-Strategy

Chandler (1962) defines strategy as the “determination of the basic long-term goals of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out these goals” (1962, p. 13). Strategy is also defined as “either the plans made, or the actions taken, in an effort to help an organization fulfill its intended purposes” (Miller and Dess, 1996, p. 38). Therefore, a business strategy is the outcome of decisions made to guide an organization with respect to its environment, structure and processes that influence its organizational performance (Croteau and Bergeron, 2001).

In the e-business context, the concept of e-strategy refers to how the web-based technologies can restructure organizations by providing them with a new competitive edge (Cagliano, Caniato, and Spina, 2003). The term “relational” is defined as the way web-based technologies are being used to facilitate relationships (Murillo, 2001). Therefore, borrowing from previous definitions, we define “relational e-strategy” as the way organizations use electronic means to facilitate their business relationships.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business-to-Business (B2B) e-strategy: Electronic means used to facilitate relationships between your business and other businesses

Business-to-Employee (B2E) e-strategy: Electronic means used to facilitate communication between your employees and to help them in carrying out their jobs

Electronic business (e-business): The process of using web-based technologies to improve and transform key business processes

Relational e-strategy: The way organizations use electronic means to facilitate their business relationships

Electronic strategy (e-strategy): The way web-based technologies restructure organizations by providing them with a new competitive edge

Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-strategy: Electronic means used to facilitate relationships and transactions with the consumers of your products or services

Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce): The process of buying and selling products, services and information via computer networks

Business performance: Measure used to position a company against its competitors and/or to evaluate how it financially operates

Web-based technologies: Electronic tools and applications used to support and facilitate exchanges between organizations and individuals

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