This case study documents the history of e-commerce adoption and usage in a fabric and garment manufacturing firm operating in an African country. Lessons drawn from the case could be applied to understanding the achievement of e-commerce benefits through the complex interrelationships between firm-level, national and global resources.
The case study presents a summary of e-commerce capabilities in the firm, the key resources developed and actions taken to deploy e-commerce capabilities and the notable benefits obtained through these e-commerce capabilities. The study shows that, first, the ability to access information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure matters in developing countries, but managerial capabilities matter more. Managerial capabilities enable firms to find external resources (both in-country and globally) to substitute for internal resource deficiencies. Second, intangible social resources – trust, reputation and credibility – play a critical role in determining whether the e-commerce strategies of firms are successful or not.
Expected learning outcomes
An understanding of how managerial capabilities influence the creation of e-commerce capabilities and the achievement of e-commerce benefits, especially in an African or Ghanaian context. Learners can also draw lessons that could be applicable to understanding how a firm's strategic orientation, resource portfolio and the nature of its target market differentiate the extent of integration or adoption and usage of e-commerce in the firm.
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The author's heartfelt acknowledgements goes to Mrs. Sheena Lovia Boateng of University of Ghana Business School, Prof. Richard Heeks of University of Manchester and Prof. Alemayehu Molla of RMIT University for their support and advice in developing and writing this case study. The author also thanks Derrick and Jessica Montford for their time and efforts in telling the story about their company.
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