The Influence of Service Orientation on B2B e-Service Capabilities: An Empirical Investigation

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Abstract

E-Services, or the company's portfolio of service offerings available to its customers through the Internet, are an emerging area of interest to operations management. Yet little is known about the operations and capabilities needed for provision of business-to-business (B2B) e-services. This paper aims to make a contribution toward closing this gap. First, we develop a new construct of B2B e-service capability, a term that captures a generic set of five interrelated and complementary dimensions: (1) e-service recovery, (2) e-customization, (3) ease of navigation, (4) service portfolio comprehensiveness, and (5) information richness. These combined operational abilities are associated with B2B service delivery, including its portal design, technology architecture, and mix of product and service offerings. They are posited to be necessary for delivering effective B2B e-services. We also argue that, both service orientation (SO) and customer receptivity to technology, influence B2B e-service capability. We empirically test a path model using structural equation modeling on a sample of 181 businesses that have deployed B2B e-services. We find that the influence of SO on performance is not direct but rather mediated by the e-service capability, a finding that holds for both goods producers and service providers. We suggest that a firm's SO may mitigate industrial customers' resistance toward conducting business online.

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