Tools without skills: Exploring the moderating effect of absorptive capacity on the relationship between e-purchasing tools and category performance

Katri Kauppi, Alistair Brandon-Jones, Stefano Ronchi, Erik Van Raaij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose
– The paper examines the moderating role of a purchasing function's absorptive capacity (AC) on the relationship between the use of electronic purchasing tools and category level purchasing performance. The authors argue that an e‐purchasing tool may not in itself positively influence performance unless combined with AC as a human interface to maximise its information and transactional improvement potential.

Design/methodology/approach
– Survey data collected from 297 procurement executives of large companies in ten countries are analysed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and hierarchical moderated regression.

Findings
– The results demonstrate few significant direct effects of e‐purchasing tools on category performance. All performance measures studied are enhanced when dimensions of AC and their interactions with the e‐purchasing tools are added. Specifically, buyer competence, manager competence and communications climate have performance‐enhancing effects. In some cases, AC on its own appears to increase performance more than e‐tools.

Originality/value
– This paper is the first to study the moderating effects of AC on the relationship between e‐purchasing tool usage and category performance. Its findings support the view that simply implementing technology does not lead to performance improvements, but that a human interface is required to maximise the information and transactional improvement potential of e‐purchasing tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-857
JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Volume33
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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