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Information technology and performance in industrial business relationships: the mediating effect of business development

Cecilia Lindh (Department of Society and Engineering, School of Business, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden)
Emilia Rovira Nordman (Department of Marketing and Strategy, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The study addresses a gap in research concerning the specific purpose of information technology (IT) in business relationships and how it impacts business development and relationship performance. To fill this gap, the purpose of this study is to investigate the prospective effects of IT on business development and relationship performance in the business relationships of industrial firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on previous research from the industrial business relationship field, 353 relationships between Swedish industrial firms and their customers are analyzed with linear structural relations in LISREL.

Findings

The findings show that the effect of IT on relationship performance is not direct but mediated by business development measured in terms of business creation and product development.

Research limitations/implications

The study’s results imply that IT that is integrated in inter-firm operations has to be assigned a specific purpose to effectively influence relationship-specific performance. The results also indicate that more research is needed to provide additional insights about the relation between IT and performance in business relationships.

Social implications

If the full potential of IT-based solutions could be reached, then this could lead to the generation of new products and technologies and more competitive companies, which in turn would create more jobs and greater wealth.

Originality/value

In conclusion, this study fills a gap in research by highlighting that IT studied with a business relationship approach is particularly important under certain conditions. As such, the study contributes to the research stream seeking to understand the role of IT in industrial marketing and how IT should be used for increasing relationship performance.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation. This foundation has neither been involved in the study design, analysis or writing of the paper nor have it influenced the analyses or results herein.

Citation

Lindh, C. and Rovira Nordman, E. (2017), "Information technology and performance in industrial business relationships: the mediating effect of business development", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 998-1008. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-12-2016-0282

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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