E-Business and the Resource-Based View: Towards a Research Agenda

E-Business and the Resource-Based View: Towards a Research Agenda

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch033
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The article provides a review of the adoption of a resource-based view of the firm (RBV) in eBusiness literature and, then, suggests directions for future research. First, a distinction is drawn between Internet resources and eBusiness capabilities. Second, the relationship between Internet resources and eBusiness value is emphasized. Third, the relationships among Internet resources, eBusiness capabilities and firm performance are argued and, finally, the complementarity of Internet resources and eBusiness capabilities is proposed as source of business value. In this regard, a set of propositions is advanced to help guide future research.
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The RBV has its origins in the management strategy literature and has been used to answer one of the most extensively researched questions in the field, related to understanding the sources of sustained competitive advantages (Porter, 1985; Rumelt et al., 1991). The RBV is based on two underlying arguments: resource heterogeneity and resource immobility. Resources and capabilities possessed by competing firms are heterogeneously distributed and may be a source of competitive advantage when they are valuable, rare, difficult to imitate, and not substitutable by other resources (Barney, 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984). At the same time, resources and capabilities are a source of sustained competitive advantage, that is, differences may be long lasting (resource immobility) when protected by barriers to imitation (Mahoney & Pandian, 1992) or isolating mechanisms such as time-compression diseconomies, historical uniqueness, embeddedness and causal ambiguity (Barney, 1991; Dierickx & Cool, 1989; Peteraf, 1993). Consequently, the RBV suggests that the effects of individual, firm-specific resources and capabilities on performance can be significant (Mahoney & Pandian, 1992).

The RVB provides a solid foundation to differentiate between eBusiness characteristics and their separate influences on performance (Santhanam & Hartono, 2003). In this respect Internet resources are not difficult to imitate as multiple firms can purchase these systems and thereby implement multiple strategies (Barney, 1991).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Supply Chain Management: An internet-based software solution that supports the management of logistics and inventory along the entire value chain and connects business partners.

External eBusiness Capabilities: The ability to mobilize and deploy Internet-based resources and other valued corporate resources with external business agents (e.g. supplier and customers).

Internal eBusiness Capabilities: The ability to mobilize Internet-based resources and other valued corporate resources within a firm’s boundaries.

Internet: Relates to Internet Protocol based networks: www, extranet over the internet, EDI over the internet, internet-enabled mobile phones.

E-marketplace: A business-to-business (B2B) Internet trading forum in which multiple buyers and sellers exchange goods and services within an industry group or geographic region.

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