Information technology

If you order your custom term paper from our custom writing service you will receive a perfectly written assignment on Information technology. What we need from you is to provide us with your detailed paper instructions for our experienced writers to follow all of your specific writing requirements. Specify your order details, state the exact number of pages required and our custom writing professionals will deliver the best quality Information technology paper right on time.

Out staff of freelance writers includes over 120 experts proficient in Information technology, therefore you can rest assured that your assignment will be handled by only top rated specialists. Order your Information technology paper at affordable prices with Live Paper Help!



Consequences of information technology on supplier- retailer relationships in the

grocery industry. A comparative study of Sweden and the United Kingdom

Assistant professor Ulf Johansson

This project is focused on investigating the effects of information technology (IT) on

live paper help



supplier � retailer relationships in the grocery industry. While IT use in business-to-business

relationships have increased dramatically in recent years, much of our knowledge of this type

of relations still rest on models where the social element of the relationships and personal

interaction have a large influence. As more and more communication is done electronically

between supplier and retailer, the need for new conceptualisations of relationships grow

stronger. In an ongoing study on buying processes in the grocery industry (Johansson &

Runolfsdottir, 000) the trend towards increasing digitalisation and automation of supplier �

retailer relations was very clear and dominant, although the stage of development in

countries around Europe differs. As relationships between organisations very much

represents where the business takes place, changes in the way these relationships are

conducted may have far-reaching implications. Increasingly based on digitalisation and

electronic communication, interaction dimensions will change and this change could effect

many areas of existing buyer � seller relationships. The focus in this study is on relationship

formation and development, distribution of power in relationships and also relationship

responsiveness and innovation. These are all areas in relationships that IT will have an

influence on. Relevant theory in respective area will be used to construct a theoretical

framework to guide empirical work in the project and analyse the empirical data collected.

The proposed study intend to use a country comparison approach, using Sweden and the

United Kingdom as cases involving different levels of sophistication with regards to IT and

supplier � retailer relationships. Here focus will be on 5-10 supplier � retailer relationships

for each country, representing different levels of IT involvement in the relationship. The

project will start July 001 finish by June 00. The contribution of the study is expected in

terms of theory development rather than theory validation. For suppliers and retailers, the

contribution will be an increased understanding of how their relationships may develop as

more IT is introduced. For government and society in general, some conclusions on how the

IT development in this area will effect efficiency and effectiveness can be expected to be

given.

Background

Information technology (IT)1 has entered many fields of organisational life in the last

couple of years. One of these is buyer and seller relationships and in that context the

phenomenon is often termed e-commerce. While the potential of e-commerce concerning

business to consumer has been thrown into some doubt this last year, e-commerce in business

to business relationships seems to have taken off very rapidly (e.g Cuthbertson, 000; OMS,

000; Supermarket, 000). It is expected to account for 5-0% of all business

communication in two years time (Fredholm, 000). While integrated and automated

customer relationship management (CRM) programs may seem distant, talk about achieving it

is already on its way (e.g. Newell, 000; Stone, Woodcock & Machtynger, 1). Buyer -

seller relationships, and our understanding of them, often has included a quite large social

1 IT is here used in a quite broad sense and referring to IT as an enabling technology; it is a set of tools based on

computer chips and computing technology with which it is possible to gather, transmit, process and present

information in its different forms (audio, video, text, graphics).

element as relationships involve social interaction of persons representing organisations (e.g.

Cook & Emerson, 178; Emerson, 176; Ford et al 18; Oliver, 10). However, things

seems to be changing also in this area as relationships are increasingly digitalised through IT,

not least in the grocery industry.

To be sure, IT has been present in the grocery industry to some extent (ordering systems,

hand-held terminals, EPOS, EDI etc.) since late 180’s and early 10’s, but recent

developments mark a clear escalation of the use into new areas. The area of the relationship

between a supplier and a retailer in the grocery industry has for a long time been a

relationship built on personal contact. The personal contact between the sales force of the

supplier and representatives for the retailers (from store managers and ‘upwards’) has been

the foundation of business relationships in the grocery sector. In recent years, the size of the

sales forces have decreased, and more and more communication is done electronically

between supplier and retailer. This is especially true in countries/areas like the United

Kingdom, where different forms of Extranet, propriety-nets based on Internet technology, is

increasingly the contact point between suppliers and retailers. Through this, suppliers can

access information on their sales and stocks, including promotions, with the retailers. For

example, with Safeway, UK’s 4th largest grocery retailer, some 500 suppliers (including all

major ones) are included in their Supplier Information System (SIS). The same applies for

number 1 on the market, Tesco, and its TIE (Tesco Information Exchange) system. The

operations set in place for number on the market, Asda, is argued to be even more advanced

as Asda is owned and operated by Wal-Mart, a retailer that builds is success largely on the use

of state of the art information technology (e.g. Arnold & Fernie, 1; Burt & Sparks, 1,

Seth & Randall, 1). In all these three chains, automatic replenishment systems are in

operation (IGD, 18), making the re-stocking of merchandise very much an automatic matter

and nothing that involves persons and social contacts. Sainsbury, the number grocery

retailer in the United Kingdom, as well as Tesco, participates in the newly opened electronic

and Internet-based market exchanges, GlobalNetXchange and WorldWide Retail Exchange

respectively. These exchanges are open to retailers and aimed at reducing purchasing costs

and standardising the purchasing process (through electronic trading and sourcing). In

Sweden, suppliers and retailers in the grocery industry have not reached the level of

sophistication of the United Kingdom, but interest and ambition makes it certain that it is only

a question of time before we see this development also in Sweden. In an ongoing study on

buying processes in the grocery industry (Johansson & Runolfsdottir, 000) the trend towards

increasing digitalisation and automation of supplier � relations was clear and dominant,

although the stage of development in countries around Europe is very different. While United

Kingdom is very much the front-runner and Italy the laggard, Sweden is somewhere in

between.

Problem area and previous research

These developments concerning relationships between suppliers and retailers are of course

driven and fuelled by increasing endeavours to rationalise and increase efficiency in these

relationships. This is, however, a too complex issue to be reduced to merely an efficiency

problem. As relationships between organisations to a large degree represents what business is

about and where the business takes place, changes in the way these relationships are

conducted may have far-reaching implications in many areas of company operations. While

technological capacity, in terms of receiving and transmitting ever larger and more complex

sets of data, will continue to grow, “richness” (Evans & Wuster, 1) in electronic

communication may not grow as fast. Richness here refers to how complex a message is

allowed to be, with personal interaction having the potential for carrying the most number of

dimensions and thus able to receive and transmit a more complex and many faceted message.

As things are increasingly digitalised and electronically communicated, interaction may

“loose” dimensions and this loss could effect many aspects of existing buyer � seller

relationships. Of special interest here are the following areas;

1. relationship formation, development and division of tasks/activities

. distribution of power and influence in relationships

. relationship responsiveness and innovation

Concerning 1) there are a multitude of models dealing with the different stages that

relationships go through as well as activities carried out by different parties in the relationship

and also activities that keep the relationship together (e.g. Anderson & Narus, 184; Dwyer,

Schurr, & Oh,187; Ford et al, 18; Ganesan, 14; Johnsen, et al, 000; Stern, El-Ansary &

Coughlan, 16). It is important to study if IT has implications for relationships formation

and development in general and how distribution and co-ordination of tasks between parties in

a relationship may be effected. Also, the distribution of power and influence in relationships

(e.g. Butaney & Wortzel, 188; Cook, 177; Dawson & Shaw, 18, 10; Elg & Johansson,

17a; Gaski, 184; Pfeffer & Salancik, 178) are often asymmetrically distributed between

supplier and retailer. Different developments concerning the conditions governing how

exchanges in relationships take place, may have an impact on the distribution of power and

influence between the different parties. Lastly, consumer and market orientation of companies

and systems is an important area in relationships (e.g., Deshpande, 1; Elg & Cerne, 1;

Grunert et al, 16; Jaworski & Kohli, 1; Slater & Narver, 15). As the way exchanges

in the relationships takes place evolves, there could be effects for the level and type of

innovation achieved and for responsiveness of the organisations in a relationship in general.

These different areas are all dimensions of supplier � retailer relationships that IT could

have an effect on and will be the focus of the proposed study. Here, relevant theory in

respective area (e.g. the one referenced above) will be used to construct a theoretical

framework to guide empirical work in the project and make the analysis of IT and

relationships possible.

While there presently exist quite a few studies on IT and business relationships in general

(e.g. Bamfield, 14a, 14b; Brenner & Hamm, 16; Roberts & Mackay, 18; Threlkel &

Kavan, 1; Walker, 14) and supplier and retailer relationships specifically (e.g. Anselmi,

17; Blackwell, 17; Esbjerg, 1; Fynes & Ennis, 14; Kahn & McAlister, 17;

Ogbonna & Wilkinson, 16; Walton & Marucheck, 17; Wilson & Vlosky, 18), it can

still be argued that this is a largely unexplored area (e.g. Cuthbertson, 1; Dawson, 14,

000; Holm-Hansen & Skytte, 17). Some of the studies that have been done so far concern

other situations than retailer � supplier (mostly industrial marketing), making transferability

of results difficult due to different settings (e.g. industrial marketing generally involves more

technically complex products or services). Other studies are very general in their approach

and more often aimed, it can be argued, at describing different technologies than investigating

their effects on supplier � retailer relationships in any specific way.

Preliminary results from the study referred to above (Johansson & Runolfsdottir, 000)

points to IT and supplier - retailer relationships as an important area for future research. In

that study some possible future directions concerning IT and supplier � retailer relationships

are also given. Between suppliers and retailers, several types of information are present and

The work in that project will be reported to KLIV towards the end of 000. The preliminary results, together

with the framework developed in the study, are going to be presented at the British Academy of Management, in

Edinburgh, mid-September 000.

4

exchanged in the relationship. Some types of information, for example commercial,

administrative and co-ordinating information, seems to be more easy to standardise in a way

that makes digitalisation possible. Others, such as information concerning knowledge building

and influencing others may not be so easy. The latter types of information seems to require

more dimensions for communication than is presently possible in existing IT solutions. Still,

while it is difficult to imagine a complete digitalisation of buyer � seller relations with present

technology, the ongoing process of digitalising the relationships continues to grow into more

and more areas. This can be expected to have profound effects on how the different parties

view and act in their relationships. As some areas of the relationship between suppliers and

retailers change due to increasing use of IT for communication, other areas of the interaction

between supplier and retailer is bound to be effected as well. However, Johansson &

Runolfsdottir does not go any further than give some possible indications as to interesting

research areas with regards to IT and supplier � retailer relationships. The main aim of that

that research is a different one from the one in the proposed study here.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to develop the knowledge of how certain areas of supplier �

retailer relationships in the grocery industry, namely;

1. relationship formation, development and division of tasks/activities

. distribution of power and influence in relationships

. relationship responsiveness and innovation

can be effected by increasing presence of information technology (IT) in these

relationships.

Research method

The empirical work in the project is partly preceded, partly parallel to the development of

the projects conceptual framework. This means that the empirical findings are expected to

form the framework to some extent as the knowledge and present theory development in the

area is not such that a relevant framework can be fully developed without relevant empirical

input. While the bulk of the empirical material will be collected from companies, suppliers

and retailers in the grocery industry, a smaller initial survey will also be done to determine

what experts and researchers in the area of business communication and IT think about the

implications of IT for what happens in business relationships. This study will be conducted in

an exploratory fashion while the bulk of the data collected will be concentrated on areas that

will be covered by the conceptual framework (see above).

As in the Johansson & Runolfsdottir study, the main empirical work in this proposed study

also use a country comparison approach, with Sweden and the United Kingdom as cases

involving different levels of sophistication with regards to IT and supplier � retailer

relationships. A cross country comparison has, I believe, several advantages when conducting

the research proposed here. Through comparing countries, rather than just business

relationships in the grocery industry in Sweden, it is possible to compare less and more

advanced use in a setting that in itself has a general level of involvement in (in this case) IT.

This gives another dimension to cross country comparisons as results can be better

contextualised. Also, this type of design ads yet another comparative dimension to the study,

increasing the analytical possibilities � across cases, across countries - beyond just comparing

This is a development of Nilsson & Host (187) compilation of variables influencing retailer’s choice and

Gadde & Håkanssons (1) discussion of different types of information present in communication between

buyers and sellers.

5

cases within one country. Through the Johansson & Runolfsdottir study, excellent contacts

with retailers as well as suppliers in both United Kingdom and Sweden exist that can be

utilised also for this research.

In this research, focus will be on choosing 5-10 supplier � retailer relationships for each

country, representing different levels of IT engagement concerning the exchange processes

present in the relationship. Comparison between “normal” types of supplier - retailer

relationships will be compared with “advanced” IT-type of relationships. Without the

possibility of comparison (between different types of relationships), it may be difficult to

draw any conclusions concerning possible effect on or changes in the relationships. In-depth

interviews (complemented by surveys where suitable) will be used to collect the data,

focusing on actual and potential changes in supplier � retailer relationships due to the

(increased) use of IT. Areas intended to be covered by the empirical work as well as models

to be used in this respect has been indicated above (see Problem area and Purpose of the

study).

Expected contributions by the study

In terms of scientific contributions, it is expected that this study will enhance the

knowledge on IT and relationships in general and specifically those present in a supplier �

retailer context. The contribution is to be viewed in terms of theory development rather than

theory validation as the theory in the area of IT and supplier � retailer relationships is still

very much developing. In general, while the theoretical positioning of the study is IT and

relationships in general, the contribution will be aimed at the different areas of relationships

development, power and influence distribution, innovativeness etc. discussed above.

For suppliers and retailers, the contribution will be an increased understanding of how their

relationships may develop as more IT is introduced. From a supplier perspective, it may be

important to see if the new technology offers an opportunity to level the degree of influence in

the relationship; will IT make suppliers more interchangeable, will suppliers loose initiative

when it comes to consumer relationships, innovation etc. or will relationships emerge tighter

and as more partnership oriented? Also, will increasing IT existence in relationships impede

or strengthen supplier innovation and ability to respond to consumer demands? From a retailer

perspective, one obvious concern is how to increase standardisation of relationships (to

achieve inter changeability between suppliers) while still maintaining a strong supplier base in

other respects at the same time (i.e., suppliers that also, besides engaging in cost efficient

relationships with retailers, can manage initiative and have enough capabilities to be able to

innovate products and services and also create valuable consumer relationships). For retailers

the question becomes one of trying to achieve economics of scale and efficiency � which IT

promises to enhance � while not loosing out on other areas � such as innovation of product

and services. For government and society in general, including consumers, the expected

contributions of the study will be the increased knowledge of how developments in supplier �

retailer relationships may influence overall efficiency and consumer responsiveness. While

the increased use of IT is one of many ways to increase efficiency of relationships, it also

involves the risk of loosing responsiveness as automation may make the system, and the

included relationships, more rigid. It may, however, also have the opposite implications, with

IT increasing the efficiency and responsiveness of the organisations and the relationships

between them. Thus, also on a more general level � i.e., government, society and consumer �

the study can be expected to contribute within areas of general interest.



Please note that this sample paper on Information technology is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on Information technology, we are here to assist you. Your cheap custom college paper on Information technology will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

Order your authentic assignment from Live Paper Help and you will be amazed at how easy it is to complete a quality custom paper within the shortest time possible!



0 comments: (+add yours?)

Post a Comment