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)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-587-2.ch504
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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.

Hooft and Stegwee (2001) attach supplier and customer life cycles to Porter’s (1985) value chain. The value chain views a company as an entity, which transforms raw materials, through a value adding process, into a finished product or service. The supplier and customer life cycles outline the process of interactions with suppliers and customers to buy raw materials and to sell finished goods. Both processes have been revolutionized by IT. Hooft and Stegewee’s model also suggests that a company’s relations with employees are within the company’s value chain.

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