From Exploitation to Exploration: A Staged Model of Supplier Information Technology Use for Buyer Value Creation

AbstractThe use of information technologies (IT) in a supply chain has been recognized as essential for both organizational exploration and exploitation activities. Drawing upon organizational theories, we submit that a punctuated equilibrium approach is most viable in the context of supplier IT use for generating buyer benefits in a supply chain network. Through the analysis of matched-pair data collected from a major North American electronic components distributor and its key suppliers, we find that the supplier’s IT exploitation has direct influence on IT exploration, which in turn directly contributes to the buyer’s operational and strategic benefits (and fully mediates the effect of IT exploitation). This study enriches both the IS and supply chain management literature by providing empirical findings that uncover the mechanisms through which collaborative supply chain IT use would influence value creation for trading partners.

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