The objective of this paper is to explore and determine a set of factors that are critical to the success of business‐to‐business (B2B) e‐markets in the aerospace and defence, healthcare, higher education and local government industry sectors, in order to advance our current understanding of what factors facilitate e‐market adoption and success. The paper examines critical success factors (CSFs) for e‐markets from a strategic fit perspective.
The study adopted a semi‐inductive qualitative approach based on a review of the literature, followed by a pilot study and 58 indepth semi‐structured interviews with senior level executives in buyer, supplier, e‐market and third‐party organisations. Qualitative data analysis software, QSR N6, was used to code and analyse the interview data for citations that corresponded with the candidate e‐market CSFs that had been identified either in the literature, pilot study or during the course of the interviews with respondents. The CSFs for e‐markets were ranked by the frequency of respondents citing a particular CSF.
The study found eight factors that are critical to e‐market success and four factors (critical mass, integration issues, value proposition, and leadership participation) were found to be conducive to e‐market success in all four industry sectors. Likewise, four factors (industry knowledge, revenue model, branding and reputation, and rich content) were found to be only conducive to e‐market success in three of the four industry sectors.
The paper can help academic researchers, managers, consultants, practitioners and other professionals better understand what factors are critical to the success of e‐markets and other online enterprises operating in the B2B marketspace.
There have been numerous calls for more empirical research on the dynamics of e‐market adoption for more than a decade. To date, research on the CSFs for e‐markets has been largely anecdotal and sporadic with a paucity of studies noting factors that are likely to be favourable to e‐market success. This study addresses the call for more research on e‐markets and imparts empirical evidence on factors that are perceived to be conducive to the success of e‐markets. It contributes to the base of knowledge on e‐markets by relating the concept of CSFs with the theory of strategic fit as, to date, no known study has examined CSFs for e‐markets from a strategic fit perspective. The study also presents the benefits capabilities‐industry participants’ needs fit conceptual model as a precursor for theory building in future studies on B2B e‐markets and informs stakeholders involved in developing e‐markets or other online B2B ventures to better comprehend the conditions and determinants of success.
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