IT Knowledge Spillovers, Absorptive Capacity, and Productivity: Evidence from Enterprise Software

Information Systems Research, Forthcoming

39 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2013 Last revised: 25 Oct 2021

See all articles by Peng Huang

Peng Huang

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Marco Ceccagnoli

Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech

Chris Forman

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

D. J. Wu

Georgia Institute of Technology - Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business

Date Written: April 2, 2013

Abstract

We examine the productivity implications of external knowledge flows obtained through an Internet-mediated discussion forum in which IT professionals help one another solve problems related to the implementation and use of enterprise software. We extend elements of the absorptive capacity (ACAP) framework (Cohen and Levinthal 1989, 1990) that have not previously been studied in the Information Systems (IS) literature to a new context. Consistent with prior results from the IS literature, we first show that IT spillovers—acquired through employees’ participation in this forum—only accrue to firms with prior related investments in enterprise software. We then demonstrate boundary conditions for ACAP based on characteristics of external knowledge affecting the ease of learning. Our results show that IT spillovers are not “free”; the ability to derive the value of IT spillovers through informal channels—such as online communities—critically depends on both prior related IT investments by the recipient firm and the novelty of external knowledge. Less intuitively, when knowledge originates from relatively novel or emergent domains, the role of prior related knowledge in absorbing spillovers becomes more important.

Keywords: Information systems, IT knowledge spillovers, Productivity, Enterprise software, online community networks

Suggested Citation

Huang, Peng and Ceccagnoli, Marco and Forman, Chris and Wu, D. J., IT Knowledge Spillovers, Absorptive Capacity, and Productivity: Evidence from Enterprise Software (April 2, 2013). Information Systems Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2243886 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2243886

Peng Huang (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States

Marco Ceccagnoli

Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Chris Forman

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

D. J. Wu

Georgia Institute of Technology - Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States
404-894-4364 (Phone)
404-894-6030 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mgt.gatech.edu/wu

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