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Drivers and export performance impacts of IT capability in ‘born-global’ firms: a cross-national study

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  • An earlier version of this paper appeared in the ICIS Proceedings in 2007. The authors thank the attendees of the session, especially Huseyin Tanriverdi and the discussant, Leiser Silva, for their constructive comments. The authors also greatly appreciate the inputs and encouragement of the Senior Editor, Robert Davison and the review team for this paper at the Information Systems Journal.

Abstract

Past research focusing on large firms has argued that information technology (IT) capability enhances firm performance. However, these studies have seldom explored why firms develop IT capability, and have also left a void the understanding of the role of IT capability in Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This study attempts to fill that void by examining the effect of relevant environmental and firm-level factors on IT capability, and the effect of IT capability on the export performance of Chinese and US born-global firms, a special breed of export-focused SMEs. Results indicate that environmental factors such as information intensity, and firm-level factors such as international entrepreneurial orientation, prompt born-global firms to develop IT capability. Further, our results also strongly emphasise the positive role that IT capability plays on the performance of born-global firms. Finally, a comparative analysis of the Chinese and US born-global firms revealed a lack of a cross-cultural difference in the factors leading these firms to develop IT capability, therefore supporting the ‘convergence’ perspective in cross-cultural research.

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