Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 30 Number 2 2013 pp. 9-40

Firm Strategy and the Internet in U.S. Commercial Banking

Goh, Kim Huat and Kauffman, Robert J

ABSTRACT: As information technology (IT) becomes more accessible, sustaining any competitive advantage from it becomes challenging. This has caused some critics to dismiss IT as a less valuable resource. We argue that, in addition to being able to generate strategic advantage, IT should also be viewed as a strategic necessity that prevents competitive disadvantage in rapidly changing business environments. We test a set of hypotheses on strategic advantage and strategic necessity in the context of Internet banking investments for the population of U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) banks from 2003 to 2005. We seek to understand whether their IT investments were made as a strategic choice or as a result of strategic necessity. Our econometric analysis suggests that IT investments (1) were made to complement firm strategy for strategic advantage as well as due to strategic necessity, and (2) paid off by enhancing firm performance and addressing the issue of strategic necessity. In addition, our analysis reveals the simultaneous relationship between performance and IT investments: high-performing banking firms appear to have been more likely to invest in IT. The econometric analysis methods that we employ made it possible for us to state all of our quantitative findings for the FDIC data to be stated after adjusting for this endogeneity through simultaneity.

Key words and phrases: banking, econometrics, financial services IS and technology, Internet banking, IT investment, strategic advantage, strategic necessity, strategy, transaction costs