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Information technology and marketing performance within international market-entry alliances

International Marketing Review, 2017, Vol. 34 Issue: 1, pp.5-28,


Shasha Zhao, Constantinos-Vasilios Priporas

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to engage in a comprehensive review of the research on information technology (IT)-mediated international market-entry alliances. Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides a theory-informed conceptual framework of IT-enabled cross-border interfirm relationships and performance outcomes. It integrates perspectives of resourcebased view (RBV) and transaction cost economics (TCE) to argue that the establishment of interfirm IT capabilities enhances the marketing performance of the foreign partner in the host location by improving interfirm relationship governance. Furthermore, IT-related risks and contextual restrictions are identified as important moderators. Findings – Conceptualisations of IT capabilities, IT-enhanced interfirm governance, and IT-led marketing performance improvement are suggested. Drawing on RBV and TCE, IT resources, related human resources, and IT integration between partner firms in combination enhances the ability of firms to manage the relationship more effectively through shared control, interfirm coordination, cross-firm formalisation, and hybrid centralisation. These benefits then bring about better upstream and downstream marketing performance in the host location. Additionally, IT capabilities help to mitigate possible contextual limitations and risks. Research limitations/implications – The paper offers a number of theory- and literature-informed research propositions which can be empirically tested in future studies. Practical implications – Top managers of firms currently in or planning to enter international alliances for market entry should carefully consider effective development of interfirm IT capabilities in terms of readiness of hardware and software, human resources, and organisational resources. Originality/value – The paper provides an integrated framework and propositions which contribute to limited understanding and appreciation of IT value in international market-entry alliances.
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