Linking digitalization and human capital to shape supply chain integration in omni-channel retailing

Shaohua Song, Xianliang Shi, Guang Song, Fahian Anisul Huq

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Supply chain integration (SCI) is key to implementing omni-channel retailing (OCR) strategy. In this paper, the authors explore the role of digitalization as a driver of SCI, as well the role of human capital (HC) in digitalization, using a knowledge management (KM) perspective.

An empirical study was conducted using survey research. A sample of 188 omni-channel retailers in the Chinese market was analyzed using factor analysis and structured equation modeling (SEM) to examine the hypotheses presented in the conceptual model.

This study reveals that HC is positively related to the level of a firm's digitalization in OCR, and that digitalization is positively related to the retailer's SCI. Moreover, the authors found that employees' capital has a greater impact on digitalization than managers' capital, while digitalization has a stronger driving effect on internal and customer integration.

Research limitations/implications
The findings suggest that although digitalization requires retailers to accept the long-term investment challenges, it has a significant positive effect on the key of OCR strategy implementation, i.e. SCI. The findings also provide evidence for the application of KM in OCR, as this theoretical lens enriches our understanding of the phenomena of SCI in OCR and provides explanation to our results by linking digitalization and HC.

Digitalization is quantified and examined in OCR. Moreover, this study reveals the importance of HC on the implementation of digitalization and the different effects of digitalization on each dimension of SCI.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Early online date19 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2021


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