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E-Commerce = G Squared (Growth and Globalization)

10/10/2007 --

Nigel Melville's "groundbreaking" book examines the impact of the Internet in social and economic development, and the role of electronic commerce in global expansion and growth opportunities.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Are the Internet and e-commerce truly revolutionizing business practice?

A new book edited by the Ross School's Nigel Melville and colleagues demonstrates that companies are, indeed, using the online world to reinforce their existing relationships with customers, suppliers and business partners.

His book, "Global E-Commerce: Impacts of National Environment and Policy," published by Cambridge University Press, is a systematic analysis of the impact of the Internet and e-commerce across firms, industries and economies that separates reality from hype.

"We focus on understanding the topographical patterns of e-commerce across diverse economies and industries in order to assess the evolution of e-commerce and the extent to which globalization diminishes the power of nations, shapes local economies and realigns national cultures," says Melville, assistant professor of business information technology.

Detailed case studies of eight economies—the United States, Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, China, Japan and Taiwan—show that, rather than creating a borderless global economy, e-commerce strongly reflects existing local patterns of commerce, business and consumer preference, and its impact, therefore, varies greatly by country.

While e-commerce is increasing the efficiency, effectiveness and competitiveness of firms, it also is increasing the complexity of their environments as they have to deal with more business partners and also face greater competition from other firms, Melville says.

The book addresses these and other issues by reporting the results of the Globalization and E-Commerce project, which used case studies, secondary data and survey data collected across 10 economies, three industries and small and large firms.

Four key themes emerged: 1) a series of global factors influenced the diffusion and adoption of e-commerce at the global, national and firm levels; 2) in all countries, technologies emerged through evolution rather than radical steps; 3) significant notable diversity exists between countries, particularly in the downstream market sales and other customer activities; and 4) U.S. hegemony increasingly turns out to be a myth as its influence on e-commerce development is rapidly diminishing as countries adapt to their local conditions.

Melville's co-editors include Kenneth Kraemer and Jason Dedrick of the University of California, Irvine, and Kevin Zhu of the University of California, San Diego.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone: (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847