Date of Award

Fall 1-8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Computer Information Systems

First Advisor

Arun Rai

Second Advisor

Wesley J. Johnston

Third Advisor

Ephraim R. McLean

Fourth Advisor

Viswanath Venkatesh

Abstract

This study extends our understanding of how information systems impact business value creation by examining the effect of digital enablement of business-to-business exchange on customer outcomes. We shed light on the connection between information technology investment and firm performance by focusing on how information technology is used (Devaraj and Kohli 2003) in an industrial services context and by highlighting the importance of indirect effects (Mittal and Nault 2009). A conceptual model is developed that combines a customer centric perspective (Sheth et al. 2000) with elements from the information systems success framework (DeLone and McLean 1992, DeLone and McLean 2003). Mediating factors are identified in the chain of effects from information technology specific business-to-business service quality characteristics to customer outcomes. In addition, we consider two contextual factors, relationship duration and customer dependence, which are known to alter the nature of buyer-supplier relationships but which have received little attention in research on digital enablement of business-to-business exchange.

An empirical test of hypothesized relationships was performed using subjective and objective archival data from business-to-business exchange relationships for a logistics services vendor. All expected main effects were confirmed. Customer satisfaction was found to be a significant mediator in the chain of effects from information technology specific business-to-business service quality characteristics to customer outcomes. In addition, logistics service quality was found to mediate the relationships between system quality and customer satisfaction and between information quality and customer satisfaction. The hypothesized moderating effects, however, were not found to be significant. Robustness of the findings was confirmed by testing model hypotheses using data from exchange relationships with customers in two different industries, manufacturing and wholesale trade. Differences in analysis results are consistent with industry differences.

This study contributes to the literatures on interorganizational information systems (Rai et al. 2006) and information technology business value (Melville et al. 2004) by identifying mediating mechanisms in the chain of effects from digital enablement of exchange to customer outcomes. Explication of mediating mechanisms improves our understanding about the indirect nature of impacts from information technology. This study also contributes to the literature on information systems by extending DeLone and McLean's (2003) model of information systems success to the context of business-to-business exchange relationships. In addition, this study contributes to the literature on services marketing (Zeithaml and Bitner 2003, Berry and Parasuraman 1993) by showing how system quality and information quality impact logistics service quality and customer satisfaction in a business-to-business exchange context.

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