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Enabling the business strategy of SMEs through e‐business capabilities: A strategic alignment perspective

Louis Raymond (Département des sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Trois‐Rivières, Trois‐Rivières, Canada)
François Bergeron (Département Travail, Économie et Gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Canada)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 23 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The present study aims at a deeper understanding of the performance outcomes of the alignment between the e‐business capabilities of manufacturing small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) and their business strategy in terms of Miles and Snow's recognised strategic typology that includes prospectors, analyzers, and defenders.

Design/methodology/approach

From a contingency theory perspective, a survey of 107 Canadian manufacturers was used to collect data that were analyzed through correlation analysis.

Findings

Results indicate that the ideal e‐business profiles vary in the relation to the firms' strategic orientation, whether it is of the defender, analyzer or prospector type. E‐business alignment has positive performance outcomes for manufacturing SMEs in terms of growth, productivity and financial performance.

Research limitations/implications

The nature of the sample impose care in generalizing the results of the study. These results also allow us to emphasise the nature rather than the investment value of the SMEs' information technology investment, given that certain forms of e‐business would be more appropriate for certain firms, depending upon their strategic orientation.

Practical implications

For SME owner‐managers that require greater manufacturing flexibility, increased systems integration, products and services of better quality, and higher levels of product and process innovation, the results of this study allow us to prone an examination of their firm's level of e‐business assimilation, this being done in conjunction with their strategic intent.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to have used a rigorous conceptualisation and measure of alignment to confirm the theoretical validity and empirical usefulness of this notion and of the strategic contingency approach for research on e‐business, and to compare this approach with the universalistic approach founded upon “best practices”.

Keywords

Citation

Raymond, L. and Bergeron, F. (2008), "Enabling the business strategy of SMEs through e‐business capabilities: A strategic alignment perspective", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 108 No. 5, pp. 577-595. https://doi.org/10.1108/02635570810876723

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited