Do Market Leaders Lead in Business Process Innovation? The Case(s) of E-Business Adoption
Kristina Steffenson McElheran
Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit
April 1, 2011
US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP- 11-10
This paper investigates the relationship between market position and the adoption of IT-enabled process innovations. Prior research has focused overwhelmingly on product innovation and garnered mixed empirical support. I extend the literature into the understudied area of business process innovation, developing a framework for classifying innovations based on the complexity, interdependence, and customer impact of the underlying business process. I test the framework’s predictions in the context of e-buying and e-selling adoption. Leveraging detailed U.S. Census data, I find robust evidence that market leaders were significantly more likely to adopt the incremental innovation of e-buying but commensurately less likely to adopt the more radical practice of e-selling. The findings highlight the strategic significance of adjustment costs and co-invention capabilities in technology adoption, particularly as businesses grow more dependent on new technologies for their operational and competitive performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Date posted: April 17, 2011
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