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Pergamon

European Management Journal Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 421–437, 2003  2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Printed in Great Britain
doi:10.1016/S0263-2373(03)00080-X
0263-2373 $30.00 + 0.00

Internet-Business or Just
Business?
Impact of ‘InternetSpecific’ Strategies on
Venture Performance
VANGELIS SOUITARIS, Imperial College, London
MARCEL COHEN, Imperial College, London
This study examines the relationship between 21
‘internet-specific strategies’ and the performance of
internet-trading ventures. ‘Internet-specific strategies’ are defined as business strategies specifically relevant in the internet-trading context. They were
proposed mostly by practitioner-oriented exploratory literature, based on case studies of leading dotcoms. Does the application of such strategies increase performance for the bulk of the new ventures (dot.coms and new divisions of large companies) trading on the internet? The results of

a large survey of 406 internet ventures in the UK
were quite controversial. Despite the fact that we
have found statistically significant correlations
between the majority of ‘internet-specific strategies’
and venture performance in at least one industrial
sector, the coefficients were weak and the
regression model proved statistically insignificant.
This raises questions over the validity of practitioner-led theories about internet business. Business on the internet might be just business.  2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Internet ventures, Internet-specific strategies, Drivers of performance

Introduction
The internet is an extremely important new technology, and it is no surprise that it has received so European Management Journal Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 421–437, August 2003

much attention from entrepreneurs, executives,
investors and business observers (Porter, 2001). Internet-trading ventures represent one of the largest segments of new start-up and incidences of corporate entrepreneurship in the US (Galbi,...
European Management Journal Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 421–437, 2003
2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Pergamon Printed in Great Britain
0263-2373 $30.00 +0.00doi:10.1016/S0263-2373(03)00080-X
Internet-Business or Just
Business?
Impact of ‘Internet-
Specific’ Strategies on
Venture Performance
VANGELIS SOUITARIS, Imperial College, London
MARCEL COHEN, Imperial College, London
This study examines the relationship between 21
‘internet-specific strategies’ and the performance of
internet-trading ventures. ‘Internet-specific strateg-
ies’ are defined as business strategies specifically
relevant in the internet-trading context. They were
proposed mostly by practitioner-oriented explora-
tory literature, based on case studies of leading dot-
coms. Does the application of such strategies
increase performance for the bulk of the new ven-
tures (dot.coms and new divisions of large
companies) trading on the internet? The results of
a large survey of 406 internet ventures in the UK
were quite controversial. Despite the fact that we
have found statistically significant correlations
between the majority of ‘internet-specific strategies’
and venture performance in at least one industrial
sector, the coefficients were weak and the
regression model proved statistically insignificant.
This raises questions over the validity of prac-
titioner-led theories about internet business. Busi-
ness on the internet might be just business.
2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Internet ventures,Internet-specific stra-
tegies,Drivers of performance
Introduction
The internet is an extremely important new tech-
nology, and it is no surprise that it has received so
European Management Journal Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 421–437, August 2003 421
much attention from entrepreneurs, executives,
investors and business observers (Porter, 2001). Inter-
net-trading ventures represent one of the largest seg-
ments of new start-up and incidences of corporate
entrepreneurship in the US (Galbi, 2001). However,
many internet ventures are also failing at a high rate
(Dussart, 2000) and hence, a greater understanding of
the determinants of performance on internet-trading
ventures is needed.
Despite the recent growth in electronic commerce,
academic literature on the impact of internet trading
is still limited and there are very few studies based
on rigorously tested empirical data (Hamill and Gre-
gory, 1997; Berthon et al., 1998; Griffin, 2000; Ston-
ham, 2001). Whilst extensive studies have been done
on the determinants of new venture performance (for
an excellent overview see Chrisman et al., 1999), the
authors do not know of many works to date that
address empirically either ‘established’ in the litera-
ture or ‘emerging’ drivers of performance for new
ventures trading on the internet.
This study seeks to test empirically the relationship
between emerging ‘internet-specific strategies’ and
performance of internet-trading ventures. ‘Internet-
specific strategies’ are defined as business strategies,
specifically relevant in the internet-trading context.
The definition incorporates mainly new and revol-
utionary ways of doing business enabled by the new
technology and trading medium (such as price cus-
tomisation and price negotiation) but also includes