This paper attempts to shed light on the debate between the “cultural imperative” approach which argues that the enduring nature of organizational and national cultures will idiosyncratically influence the way firms use IT, and the “global convergence” approach which contends that common pressures in global markets and the ongoing worldwide convergence in information technologies will force firms to use IT in similar ways. Our theory predicts that global firms will use IT in similar ways but will derive different levels of competitive benefit. We predict that this disparity will arise from two fundamental sources 1) mismatches between organizational structure and the intent of IT applications and 2) the influence of path dependencies arising from historical business practices. We test our theory by comparing patterns of IT use and relative levels of IT benefit across a sample of American, Korean, and Swedish global manufacturing firms. In particular we examine how these firms use IT to support the ubiquitous strategies -- mass customization and time-based competition. Findings regarding IT use to support time-based competition support the theory’s predictions while findings regarding mass customization only partially support our predictions.
McIntosh, John, "A Comparison of Patterns of Information Technology Use among American, Korean, and Swedish Global Manufacturers" (1998). AMCIS 1998 Proceedings. 248.