IEI framework

Tim Foster

Division of Industrial Marketing and E-commerce, Lulea University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to provide a better understanding on the use of web sites for creating value in industrial buyer-seller relationships.

Design/methodology/approach - Through an extensive yet not exhaustive review of previous studies on business-to-business (B2B) web site development, the extranet level of a conceptual model (the I-E-I framework) is tested in an industrial setting in Sweden. Using four research questions as a guide, a qualitative, case study approach is followed in order to uncover both the industrial sellers' and buyers' perspectives on the true value of an industrial extranet.

Findings - The findings show that, for true value to be created at this level, both the seller and the buyer must not only take value out, but also put it in. Value in this setting focuses on information as the heart of true value creation, and the view that the extranet can indeed be considered the "super-glue" of such seller-buyer relationships.

Research limitations/implications - Although the aim of qualitative research is rarely to generalize in any way, it does allow one to probe more deeply and uncover detailed clues and descriptions of what is happening in an area of research that is itself dynamic and constantly changing. What practitioners can take from this study is that extranets can be developed to serve and create true value at the (core) seller-buyer relationship. Originality/value - Empirical evidence regarding extranets in such settings has been limited. This study helps to fill this gap and provide a foundation for future research efforts within the area.

Keywords Extranets, Worldwide web, Business-to-business marketing, Manufacturing industries, Buyer-seller relationships, Sweden Paper type Research paper

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