Marketing in the Digital Era: The Implication on Organizational Performance and Channel Cooperation


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date21 Aug 2020


New technologies are influencing marketing and the marketplace. This dissertation is aimed at examining how digitalization influences firm performance as well as channel cooperation. In two interrelated essays we discuss the direct effect and moderating role of digitalization on the firm and channel cooperation, respectively.

In the first essay we examine how digital marketing affects the development of competitive advantages and performance within information-sharing and uncertain environments. Specifically, we consider two patterns of digital marketing (exploitation and exploration) and two specific types of competitive advantages (strategic flexibility and product creativity). The results obtained from a survey applied to 299 firms in China show that digital exploitative marketing has a greater positive effect on the firm’s strategic flexibility. In contrast, digital explorative marketing positively affects the firm’s product creativity more. Additionally, owing to knowledge integration and leakage occurring at the same time, digital information sharing moderates the two categories of digital marketing in different ways. These results suggest that product creativity partly mediates the effect of strategic flexibility on market effectiveness. Moreover, demand uncertainty weakens the effect of strategic flexibility but reinforces the effect of product creativity on organizational performance. Given that digitalization is disrupting current marketplaces and marketing practices, this study reveals important implications for firms in terms of digital knowledge management and its application.

In the second essay we treat digital platform use as a moderator to enrich the understanding of disruption management. How do different channel structures influence supply chain resilience in the face of macro-environment risks and disruptions? Drawing on transaction cost economics, we identify two types of information technology-enabled interfirm exchange (i.e., digital platform-enabled exchange and social media-enabled exchange) using formal and informal logic. The empirical results from our survey data in China reveal that both channel centralization and specialization have positive effects on supply chain resilience. In addition, the main effects of centralization and specialization are positively moderated by digital platform-enabled exchange, whereas social media-enabled exchange only strengthens the positive effect of the centralized channel. Moreover, supply chain resilience can promote the development of relationship extendedness. In particular, its positive effect will be more persuasive if supply chain cooperation is conducted in the face of a trade war. This essay has important implications for interfirm cooperation and macro disruption management in business-to-business markets.

    Research areas

  • Digital marketing, organizational learning theory, competitive advantages, strategic flexibility, product creativity, market effectiveness, transaction cost economics, disruption management, supply chain resilience, channel structure, IT-enabled interfirm exchange, digital platform, social media, trade war, relationship extendedness, China