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ANGLES OF INTEGRATION: AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF THE ALIGNMENT OF INTERNET-BASED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN INTEGRATION

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Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between the focus and implementation degree of Internet-based information technology (IT) applications and the scope and orientation of process-oriented integration in global supply chains. Using data from 205 plants, which were collected in conjunction with the High Performance Manufacturing project, the degree of supplier and customer integration and its match with the implemented IT instruments supporting interorganizational collaboration are investigated empirically. Different types of integration are differentiated from each other with the help of factor, percentile and cluster analyses. The focus and degree of IT integration is measured for each of the resulting groups and the alignment of both aspects is analyzed with the help of an approach referred to as the angles of integration. With respect to supply chain integration and IT implementation, the analysis of different integration strategies shows that most of the plants do not align their IT implementation with their supply chain strategy. The paper helps companies to evaluate the alignment of their use of IT techniques with their global supply chain management emphases. Additionally, possible reasons for a potential missmatch of functional strategies are discussed giving managers insights for dealing more effectively with a strategic alignment. Furthermore, it refines an existing framework for the comparison of different supply chain integration strategies and applies it with IT. Based on the angles of integration, the match of supply chain integration and IT is investigated by statistical analyses.

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