Understanding the Role of B2B Social and Relational Factors on Web-Based EDI Adoption: A collaborative approach in the container liner shipping industry

Cheng-Yun Yang

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Organisations today operate in a complex, unpredictable, globalised, and competitive business environment and challenging marketplace, emphasis on just-in-time deliveries and service quality through the integration of resources. In response to the changing business dynamics, web-based EDI (WEDI) has been adopted by the global container shipping industry to cost-effectively utilise available resources to build and remain its competitive advantage. To improve the current understanding of WEDI adoption factors, this research explores inter-organisational collaboration of WEDI adoption, focusing on the organisational adoption stage and examine how business level social and relational factors influence WEDI adoption in the context of the container liner shipping industry.

Based on theoretical and literature reviews on previous EDI adoption, in particular to three key inter-organisational system adoption empirical research (including Lee and Lim, 2005; Boonstra and de Vries, 2005; Zhu et al., 2006), an integrated research model was established of which features ‘Social Resources’ of (trading partner power, trading partner dependence and social network effect), ‘Relational Resources’ of (trading partner trust, top management commitment and guanxi, ‘Reward’ of (perceived interests), and ‘Technological State’ of (technological trust and e-readiness) as prominent antecedents.

Through E-mail and Web Survey approach, we examine the nine independent constructs in the research model quantitatively on a dataset of 164 respondents from the top 20 leading container shipping liner in year 2009 and 195 respondents of the top 20 leading container shipping liner in 2012 by 3 case studies through online surveys. After examining its reliability, validity and correlation of the constructs, PLS structural Equation Modelling was applied to test hypotheses.

The empirical results update how firms exchange business dada, in particular to the use of WEDI in the industry. This study demonstrated that ‘Social Resources’ of trading partner power, trust and guanxi, positively associated with the perceived interest of WEDI adoption. Relational Resources’ of trading partner trust, top management commitment and guanxi positively associated with the perceived interest of WEDI adoption. It also confirms the nine constructs to be positively association the WEDI adoption decisions. Drawing upon social exchange theory, we argue that firms simultaneously modify and adjust their social and relational resources to affect other firms’ expected benefit as a reward.

Overall, based on a rigorous empirical analysis of two different international dataset, this research provides valuable and the most updated insights into a set of key factors that influence WEDI adoption. By recognising what may influence WEDI adoption in the context of the container liner shipping, this study will be useful in suggesting strategies to overcome the constraints that inhibit adoption. Researchers will benefit from the study's theoretical insights and explore further WEDI adoption and diffusion patterns. Practitioners who learn why organisations adopt WEDI and what the related factors are that influence the adoption process will make better strategic decisions concerning the adoption of WEDI.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Jashapara, Ashok, Supervisor
  • Harindranath, G 'Hari', Supervisor
Award date1 Dec 2013
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


  • EDI Adoption
  • Electronic Data Interchange
  • web-based EDI
  • Internet EDI
  • interorganisational system adoption
  • social exchange theory
  • container liner shipping
  • technology adoption
  • e-mail survey
  • online questionaire
  • Inter-organisational Relationships
  • Collabrative supply chain

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