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Pattern of information technology use: The impact on buyer–suppler coordination and performance

Journal of Operations Management
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jom.2007.07.003
  • Buyer–Supplier Coordination
  • It Use
  • Exploration
  • Exploitation
  • Supplier Performance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Structural Equation Modeling


Abstract The use of information technologies between supply chain organizations has been shown to promote organizational coordination and have a positive impact on performance. Drawing from organizational theories of learning, we build on this research by proposing a model that relates the pattern of supplier use of IT to specific types of supply chain coordination activities and a comprehensive set of organizational benefits. Specifically, we evaluate how two patterns of IT use by suppliers (exploitation and exploration) relate to two specific types of coordination activities with their buyers (operational and strategic coordination), which in turn are posited to promote specific organizational benefits. Using data from 241 first-tier OEM suppliers in the computer industry, our findings show that each pattern of IT use directly promotes a specific type of coordination activity. Although both types of coordination activities are needed to achieve both strategic and operational benefits, we find each coordination activity to be uniquely promoted by a specific pattern of IT use. IT use for exploitation is found to be an antecedent to operational coordination; IT use for exploration is found to be an antecedent to strategic coordination. No crossover between pattern of use and coordination activities is found. Our findings show that to achieve a complete set of benefits, suppliers must ultimately use IT for both exploration and exploitation. These findings provide a deeper understanding of the mechanism of how the pattern of IT use can result in a comprehensive set of organizational benefits for supplier firms.

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