Tools without skills: Exploring the moderating effect of absorptive capacity on the relationship between e-purchasing tools and category performance

Katri Kauppi, Alistair Brandon-Jones, Stefano Ronchi, Erik M. van Raaij

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose: The paper examines the moderating role of a purchasing function's absorptive capacity (AC) on the relationship between the use of electronic purchasing tools and category level purchasing performance. The authors argue that an e-purchasing tool may not in itself positively influence performance unless combined with AC as a human interface to maximise its information and transactional improvement potential. Design/methodology/approach: Survey data collected from 297 procurement executives of large companies in ten countries are analysed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and hierarchical moderated regression. Findings: The results demonstrate few significant direct effects of e-purchasing tools on category performance. All performance measures studied are enhanced when dimensions of AC and their interactions with the e-purchasing tools are added. Specifically, buyer competence, manager competence and communications climate have performance-enhancing effects. In some cases, AC on its own appears to increase performance more than e-tools. Originality/value: This paper is the first to study the moderating effects of AC on the relationship between e-purchasing tool usage and category performance. Its findings support the view that simply implementing technology does not lead to performance improvements, but that a human interface is required to maximise the information and transactional improvement potential of e-purchasing tools. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)828-857
    Number of pages29
    JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
    Volume33
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Keywords

    • Absorptive capacity
    • E-purchasing tools
    • Purchase category performance

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