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The Effect of Market Leadership in Business Process Innovation: The Case(s) of E-Business Adoption

McElheran, Kristina (2010) The Effect of Market Leadership in Business Process Innovation: The Case(s) of E-Business Adoption. [Industry Studies Working Paper:2010-08]



This paper empirically investigates how market leadership influences firm propensity to adopt new business process innovations. Using a unique data set spanning roughly 35,000 plants in 86 U.S. manufacturing industries, I study the adoption of frontier e-business practices during the early diffusion of the commercial internet. Theory predicts that firms with greater market share will be more likely to adopt innovations that build on their existing strengths, while they will resist more radical technological advances. While prior work primarily focuses on product innovation, I extend the logic into the business process setting to find that leaders were far more likely to adopt the incremental innovation of internet based e-buying. However, they were commensurately less likely to adopt the more strategically sensitive and complex practice of e-selling. This pattern is remarkably robust, holding across a wide range of industries and controlling for factors such as productivity and related technological capabilities. The results are explicated by a framework I develop for understanding the drivers of this behavior and making it possible to classify business process innovations as radical or not. While greater market share promotes adoption of all types of business process innovations, this effect is outweighed by additional co-invention and coordination costs whenever a technological advance address strategically sensitive and complex business processes that must also span the firm boundary.

Industry Studies Series #:2010-08
Item Type:Industry Studies Working Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords:industry studies, industry studies working paper, industry studies association, industry studies research, market leadership, e-business, innovation,
ID Code:184
Deposited By:Mr Robin Peterson
Deposited On:04 Nov 2010 10:50
Last Modified:28 Jun 2011 09:48

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