This paper investigates linkages between information technology (IT) and firm performance. Although showing recent signs of advance, the existing IT literature still relies heavily on case studies, anecdotes, and consultants’ frameworks, with little solid empirical work or synthesis of findings. This paper examines the IT literature, develops an integrative, resource‐based theoretical framework, and presents results from a new empirical study in the retail industry. The findings show that ITs alone have not produced sustainable performance advantages in the retail industry, but that some firms have gained advantages by using ITs to leverage intangible, complementary human and business resources such as flexible culture, strategic planning–IT integration, and supplier relationships. The results support the resource‐based approach, and help to explain why some firms outperform others using the same ITs, and why successful IT users often fail to sustain IT‐based competitive advantages. © 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Strategic Management Journal – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1997
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