British SMEs’ e-commerce technological investments and firm performance: an RBV perspective

Tan Yang, Jiyao Xun*, Xiaofeng He

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the heated debate on the Information Technology (IT) investment–performance paradox, the resource-based view (RBV) has received relatively little attention as an approach to explain such phenomena, particularly in the small and medium enterprise (SME) and e-commerce context. This study draws on the RBV perspective to empirically examine the association between SME e-commerce investments and firm performance. We collected firm-level data from 430 British SMEs across 16 industry sectors. Results demonstrate that RBV provides strong theoretical support, that is, business resources, human resources, and external resources (i.e. e-commerce readiness) strongly contribute to enhanced firm performance. The sophistication of SMEs' e-commerce websites contribute to firm performance, but those firms' capital investments in IT and e-commerce training per se are not significant performance drivers. Our findings suggest that UK SMEs can and do differentiate themselves on the basis of their e-commerce capability, which is created by the synergistic combination of e-commerce resources with other organisational resources and capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101869815
Pages (from-to)586-603
Number of pages18
JournalTechnology Analysis and Strategic Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Information Technology
  • SMEs
  • competitive advantage
  • e-commerce
  • resource-based view


Dive into the research topics of 'British SMEs’ e-commerce technological investments and firm performance: an RBV perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this