A Customer-Centric Perspective on it and Firm Performance: Testing the Resource-Based View
Posted: 14 Jul 2006
Date Written: October 2005
The true nexus of any firm or industry is its customers. A sustained competitive advantage comes from the firm's ability to nurture a closer enduring relationship with it customers. Despite these longstanding truisms, the customer, as a stakeholder group, has been widely overlooked in the ongoing debate regarding the role and contribution of information technology (IT) in determining firm performance. Recognizing that IT is most likely to affect firm performance through its impact at the process level, we developed and tested hypotheses based on an integrated structural framework representing a complementary relationship between IT resources and managerial capability, and non-IT (human, and business process) resources, in keeping with the tenets of the resource-based view (RBV). These hypotheses are tested in the context of the third-party logistics (3PL) industry, which is founded on the premise of customer service through outsourcing, and in which it is widely perceived that information technology is of key strategic importance. We find evidence that IT does, in fact, contribute to firm customer service performance by way of its complementary interaction with other firm-specific resources, namely human resources. Our findings also suggest that the customer service perspective is a valid proposition to be included in the ongoing debate regarding IT and its contribution to firm (financial) performance. Furthermore, there is the implication that past models which sought to evaluate IT contributions strictly on the basis of its possible direct effect may have undervalued its true impact.
Keywords: Customer-centric Business Process, Business Value of IT, Firm Performance, IT interaction effect, IT complementarity
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