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Internet and supply chain management: adoption modalities for Italian firms

Francesca Michelino (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Fisciano (SA), Italy)
Federica Bianco (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Fisciano (SA), Italy)
Mauro Caputo (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Fisciano (SA), Italy)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The aim of this paper is threefold: giving a description of how much internet‐based tools are used in inter‐firm supply chain relationships in Italy; analysing the different adoption behaviours of such tools held by Italian firms; and describing the main features of the firms using the internet for supply chain (SC) management, in terms of structures, players, processes and governance.


The paper is based on a survey carried out by involving Italian firms having more than 50 million euros turnover: 1,458 firms were involved and 463 answered, with a 31.8 per cent response rate. Firm referents were first‐level managers from SC, distribution, procurement or the IT/IS areas. The questionnaire was designed in five sections investigating: general SC features; internet‐based tools diffusion; main effects in terms of efficacy, effectiveness and customer value; relationships governance; general information about the firm.


Three adoption modalities can be pointed out: firms are divided in those mainly oriented to SC execution processes, from those mainly driven to collaboration in new product development or marketing processes. Most of the former operate with high‐order frequency and low product complexity in a make‐to‐catalogue environment, while the latter face higher product complexity, variability and customization: the use of the tools is consistent with firms' strategies. Correlation is found between the use of internet‐based tools and the collaborative environment within the SC, as marked by intense information and knowledge sharing among partners.


The paper gives a description of the adoption modalities of internet‐based tools by large Italian companies. Because of the high response rate and the international context characterizing such firms – most of them are branches of international companies, findings are generalizable and can be used to understand adoption behaviours of most firms.



Michelino, F., Bianco, F. and Caputo, M. (2008), "Internet and supply chain management: adoption modalities for Italian firms", Management Research News, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 359-374.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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