The impact of industry structure on e-commerce initiatives in the developing world: Two case studies from Trinidad and Tobago
First Monday

The impact of industry structure on e-commerce initiatives in the developing world: Two case studies from Trinidad and Tobago by Alexander Vuylsteke and Simon Fraser



Abstract
E–commerce promises benefits for businesses in developed and developing countries, such as the ability to reach new international markets. However, merely adopting e–commerce will not produce these benefits. Industry structure plays a powerful role in determining success or failure of e–commerce efforts. This paper investigates the impact of industry structure on two small companies in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island republic in the southern Caribbean.

Contents

Introduction
Industry structure and profitability
Methodology
Findings
Discussion
Conclusion

 


 

Introduction

Wigand (1997) defines e–commerce as “any form of economic activity conducted via electronic connections”. Zwass (1998) uses a similar definition, i.e., “the sharing of business information, maintaining business relationships, and conducting business transactions by means of telecommunications networks”. According to the Organization for Economic Co–operation and Development (2005), “it is the method by which the order is placed or received, not the payment or channel of delivery, which determines whether the transaction is an e–commerce transaction”.

Electonic commerce is believed to benefit businesses by reducing transaction costs, facilitating the development of geographically dispersed markets and improving coordination between cooperating parties (Robey, et al., 1990; UNCTAD, 2001; UNECA, 1999). These benefits have been assessed in a number of studies of large and small businesses. (Fey, et al., 2006; Fitzgerald, et al., 2005; Poon and Swatman, 1999).

However, the mere adoption of e–commerce does not ensure superior performance because it is a challenge to translate IT–related organizational resources into collaborative process capabilities (Zhao, et al., 2008). Research has also shown that companies in developing countries realize far less benefits of e–commerce than expected. Most merely achieve communication improvements and may even suffer from increased competition from companies in developed countries (Molla and Heeks, 2007; Wresch and Fraser, 2006).

In developed countries, researchers have analyzed why some companies successfully adopt e–commerce while others fail. Success depends on strategic choices, organizational capabilities (e.g., innovation capability) and market characteristics (Polatoglu, 2007; Weltevreden and Boschma, 2008; Nikolaeva, 2007; Fruhling and Siau, 2007). However, comparatively little research has been done about e–commerce success in organizations operating in developing countries, particularly in the Caribbean (Moodley and Morris, 2004).

The purpose of our research is to investigate the impact of industry structure on the likelihood of success of electronic commerce initiatives of firms operating in small island developing states. Toward this end we use Porter’s (1980) five forces model as the theoretical framework. To answer this question, we investigate two small companies operating in Trinidad and Tobago, a middle income country in the southern Caribbean.

The following section outlines the theoretical framework that will guide our investigations. We then turn to a description of our research methodology, report on our findings and end with discussions and conclusions.

 

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Industry structure and profitability

Many observers have commented on various impediments to successful electronic commerce initiatives in the developing world. These include poor physical infrastructure, inadequate telecommunications infrastructure (Okoli and Mbarika, 2002; Molla and Licker, 2005), underdeveloped technical and managerial skills base (UNCTAD, 2002; Travica, et al., 2007; Wresch and Fraser, 2006), culture not attuned to ICT mediated transactions (Travica, 2002), banking systems (Wresch, 2003), legal and bureaucratic “red tape” (Taaffe, 2001) and negative security perceptions (Alijifri, et al., 2003).

Few, however, have looked at the impact of industry structure on the likelihood of success for electronic commerce ventures (Porter, 2001) and fewer still have looked at this impact in the context of small developing economies (Fraser and Wresch, 2005). Towards this end we turn to Porter’s (1980) five forces model.

The extended five forces framework

Porter’s (1980) five forces model provides a framework for analyzing a firm’s competitive position within a well–defined industry structure. According to Porter, the attractiveness of an industry, and thus the average long–term profitability of firms operating therein, depends on five forces. The combination of these forces determines how economic value is shared between major actors in the industry, namely competitors, customers, suppliers and producers of substitutes. Each force can have a favorable or unfavorable impact on profitability. Porter points out, however, that even in an unattractive industry firms can earn above average profits by deploying strategies that differentiate them from their competitors.

Nalebuff and Brandenburger (1996) extended the framework by adding a sixth force called “complementors.” Complementors are organizations offering complementary products or services that enhance the value of the industry’s output. The modified model is presented in Figure 1.

 

Figure 1: The forces that determine industry attractiveness
Figure 1: The forces that determine industry attractiveness (Porter, 1980; Nalebuff and Brandenburger, 1996).

 

The bargaining power of buyers determines the pressure that industry competitors feel to enhance their value proposition so that potential buyers accept their offer. This depends on:

  • Concentration of buyers relative to concentration of industry. If there are few buyers relative to the number of firms in the industry, then buyer power is high.
  • Importance of buyer as a customer. If a large proportion of sales are purchased by a given buyer, then this buyer experiences enhanced bargaining power.
  • Buyer switching costs. If the buyer’s switching costs are low then the buyer benefits from negotiating leverage vis–à–vis the seller.
  • Possibilities for backward integration by buyer. If it is feasible for the buyer to backward integrate into the industry’s space, the buyer’s negotiating position is also enhanced.
  • Product differences. If the industry’s products are undifferentiated, buyers can play one firm against the other.

The bargaining power of suppliers determines the pressure that competitors feel to pay higher prices in order to secure required inputs. This depends on:

  • Concentration of suppliers relative to concentration of industry. Suppliers selling to more fragmented industry will usually be able to exert considerable influence in prices, quality and terms.
  • Importance of industry as a customer of supplier. When an industry represents a small fraction of sales of the supplier, this supplier experiences increased negotiating leverage.
  • Costs of a company switching to an alternative supplier. If the industry firms have high switching costs the balance of negotiating power swings toward the supplier.
  • Availability of substitute inputs. If the industry has no alternative inputs, supplier bargaining power is enhanced.
  • Possibilities of forward integration by suppliers. If there is a credible threat of forward integration by an industry’s suppliers the bargaining power of these suppliers is correspondingly increased.

The threat of new entrants relates to how difficult it is for outsiders to start competing in an industry. Any structural feature that deters entrants enhances the long term profitability of exiting industry actors. This depends on:

  • Economies of scale. If scale economies are significant, entrants are forced to enter at large scale and risk strong reaction from existing firms, or come in at a small scale and accept a cost disadvantage. In this situation economies of scale act as a disincentive to entry.
  • Switching costs. If customers face high switching costs, it is necessary for a new entrant to offer significant value improvements in order to persuade the customer to switch.
  • Access to distribution channels. An industry is less attractive to potential entrants if the distribution channels are limited and are already controlled by existing competitors.
  • Cost disadvantages independent of scale. Existing firms have certain cost advantages that potential entrants cannot copy, regardless of their size. Some examples are: proprietary product technology, favourable access to raw materials and experience curve effects.
  • Government policy. Entry into certain industries may be limited or forbidden by government regulations.

The threat of substitute products refers to the alternatives to which customers can turn to satisfy the same basic needs. The existence of alternatives reduces industry attractiveness. This depends on:

  • Relative quality/price ratio of alternatives. An industry is less attractive if a credible substitute is available.
  • Switching costs. When customers need to make large investments to switch to a substitute, the threat of this substitute is reduced.
  • Buyer’s willingness to switch. Customers may be reluctant to buy a substitute product because they are attached to the image of their current provider.

The intensity of rivalry between existing industry players has an impact on long–term average industry profitability. Intense rivalry reduces average industry profitability. The intensity depends on:

  • Industry growth rates. If the industry is characterized by slow growth then firms must compete for market share in order grow at above average rates.
  • Exit barriers. When it is difficult or costly to exit an industry, weak companies will not exit, leading to overcapacity and price wars.
  • Market concentration and balance. Rivalry will be more intense when there are a lot of small and equally balanced competitors, and less intense if there are fewer firms or if there is a clear market leader.
  • Fixed costs. Industries with high fixed costs encourage competitors to produce at full capacity, leading to excess output and discounting.

Complementors refer the influence of actors, not necessarily part of the industry, that affect the profitability of players in an industry in a positive way (Nalebuff and Brandenburger, 1996). The primary examples of complementors are:

  • Companies offering complementary products or services. For example, car loan providers benefit from increased car sales.
  • Government. Government subsidies or investments directly increase the profitability of an industry. For example, government investments in highways act as a complementary service to the automobile manufacturers.
  • Strategic alliances. For example, different players in an industry benefit from joining forces to promote their industry to the consumer. These players can either be competitors or businesses active in different parts of the value chain such as the microprocessor and software industries.

The impact of the Internet on industry structure

Many commentators (Elbeltagi, 2007; Molla and Heeks, 2007; Poon and Joseph, 2000) have written about the positive impact the Internet can have on small and medium companies, particularly in the developing world. They have pointed to the ability of these firms to reduce transaction costs and to profitably sell to new markets (Mustaffa and Beaumont, 2004; UNCTAD, 2002).

However, when examining a wide range of industries, Porter (2001) found that the Internet can weaken industry profitability by reducing barriers to entry and by reducing switching costs.

 

Figure 2: How the Internet influences industry structure
Figure 2: How the Internet influences industry structure (adapted from Porter, 2001).

 

 

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Methodology

We have used the case study approach, which is well suited for qualitative research focussed on contemporary events that involves the relationship between information systems and corporate strategy (Yin, 1994; Benbasat, et al., 1987). Yin (1994) suggests that case studies “are justifiable when research questions focus on reasons behind observed phenomena, when behavioural events are not controlled, and when the emphasis is on contemporary events”. Stuart, et al. (2002) argue that the case method is “appropriate and essential where either theory does not exist or is unlikely to apply, where theory exists but the environmental context is different ... or where cause and effect are in doubt or involve time lags.”

One of the weaknesses of the case study method is the difficulty to generalize from findings (Cavaye, 1996). Moreover, studies on developing countries “have put assumptions of the normal process of Internet development to a severe test” implying that research conducted in the developed world cannot be easily generalized to the context of developing countries (Mueller, 1999).

Given the distance between the primary researcher and the two companies being studied, data was collected during telephone interviews and e–mail exchanges with the managing directors and owners of two Trinidadian businesses, Caribbean Music Group (CMG) and Tribe, a large Carnival band. All interviews were conducted in English and focused on business models, strategic positioning and the current and future role of e–commerce. The questions were based on an extensive review of existing literature. Semi–structured interviews were used, as these allow the interviewer to follow the theoretical framework while preserving flexibility. (DiCicco–Bloom and Crabtree, 2006; Gill, et al., 2008). The interviews were transcribed and subject to qualitative content analysis. The interpretation of the interviews was verified with the interviewees to avoid misinterpretation.

 

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Findings

Caribbean Music Group (CMG)

CMG’s offerings are oriented toward promotion and sale of Trinidadian music. The group owns one music store at Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and two e–commerce Web sites. Trinidadmusicstore.com sells CDs and DVDs, while Trinidadtunes.com sells downloadable music. Trinidadtunes.com has been visited by 100,000 unique visitors (as of August 2009) and sold 15,000 songs.

E–commerce adoption

 

Figure 3: Levels of e-commerce adoption
Figure 3: Levels of e–commerce adoption (Molla and Licker, 2005).

 

Molla and Licker (2005) have developed a scale for the extent to which organizations adopt and institutionalize e–commerce. Measured on this scale, CMG has attained the level of transactive e–commerce. Their Web sites provide several interactive features including user registration, newsletters, search, and feedback. Transactive features include previews, shopping carts, online payment, and electronic downloads.

 

Figure 4: Screenshot of www.trinidadtunes.com
Figure 4: Screenshot of www.trinidadtunes.com.

 

Customers

CMG targets four customer segments through its Web sites:

  1. Residents of Trinidad and Tobago.
  2. Residents of other Caribbean islands.
  3. Trinidadian expatriates living outside of Trinidad and Tobago.
  4. International aficionados of Trinidadian music.

CMG management estimates that these segments represent 500,000 potential customers in the 20– to 45–age demographic. They also believe that, for this age cohort, convenience not cost is they key selling proposition. CMG’s management believes that teenagers generally no longer buy music, opting instead to download music from the Internet.

In order to promote CMG’s online properties, the managers purchase banner advertisements on popular Trinidadian Web sites, such as www.trinidadexpress.com, and invest in search engine optimization and e–mail newsletters.

Suppliers

In order to sell copyrighted music online retailers need to obtain two licenses. The first is a license to use the master recording. The owner can be a record company, a producer, an artist, or any other owner of the copyright. CMG has been granted such license in return for a percentage of sales. The second license is a license to reproduce music clips and to broadcast them to the public. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Copyright Organization of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) negotiates these rights on behalf of copyright owners. COTT allows online music providers to purchase a “blanket license” for all content in its catalogue. In return, CMG pays a certain percentage of its gross revenues to COTT each year.

Complementary services

As part of a strategic alliance, Flow Broadband, a Trinidadian Internet Service Provider, supports CMG’s efforts to promote online downloads. Flow Broadband benefits from increased demand for its broadband services while CMG benefits from increased broadband penetration. Flow has approached 3Canal, a popular band, to spearhead the “Download Free + Legal” campaign.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is another supporter of CMG’s online initiatives through grants in order to stimulate computer and Internet adoption. The Government is also motivated by a desire to fight music piracy. CMG receives further support from the European Union (EU). The EU provides grants for innovative projects in countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. These grants are critical as revenues from the online properties do not cover costs.

Competitors

All of the larger Caribbean territories have local companies offering music for sale online. Furthermore, some popular Trinidadian songs are available on international sites like iTunes. Music piracy is also huge challenge. CMG’s managers point out that it is impossible to spend ten minutes walking around any Trinidadian town without encountering a sidewalk vendor selling pirated music. They also recognize that teenagers, traditionally, the largest consumers of popular music, have turned to online music services, like BitTorrent, to download pirated music.

Tribe

Tribe is what Trinidadians call a “Mas Band”. Its main source of revenue is the sale of costumes to people who wish to “play mas” during Trinidad’s annual Carnival celebration. This is a hugely important event in Trinidad, comparable to the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval in intensity if not in scale. Tribe participates in the parade of bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday and has grown to approximately 4,000 participants annually over the last three years. Registration and costume sales are processed off–line (through Tribe’s office) and, increasingly, through Tribe’s Web site, carnivaltribe.com.

 

Figure 5: Screenshot of www.carnivaltribe.com
Figure 5: Screenshot of www.carnivaltribe.com.

 

Tribe begins preparations for next year’s band a few weeks after end of the current season. Costumes are designed in April and materials are sourced in May and June. In August, registration opens and, since the band is often oversubscribed, last year’s participants receive priority. Manufacturing is outsourced to several local producers between September and January. Tribe begins to distribute costumes from a centralized facility starting two weeks before Carnival. While Tribe employs ten people permanently, the total workforce grows to 1,200 people during the Carnival season.

E–commerce adoption

Tribe’s has also achieved a level of transactive e–commerce on the Molla and Licker (2005) scale. Customers can review costumes online, pay by credit card and view their transaction history. Tribe also produces an online newsletter and maintains a presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. However, Tribe has not yet linked their Web site to their supply chain and thus has not met the definition of integrative electronic commerce as per the Molla and Licker (2005) framework.

Customers

Tribe estimates that 20 percent of the band’s customers are expatriates and other non–Trinidadians visiting to participate in Carnival. Because Tribe is always sold out, Tribes managers do not promote the Web site heavily. The only form of promotion is an e–mail newsletter sent to about 10,000 subscribers. Trinidadians become aware of Tribe mainly through word–of–mouth. However, the word of mouth campaigns are now augmented by social media services such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Suppliers

Raw materials are commodities — fabric, beads, braid, and glue — provided by many suppliers. The same is true for manufacturing services. Tribe maintains relationships with 10 to 15 local manufacturers in order not to be dependent on any single company. Apart from electronic mail, Tribe does not use information and communications technologies to manage its supply chain.

Competitors

Tribe competes with 40 to 50 bands. Of these, 10 operate in the large band category (more than 2,000 participants) and the rest in the medium and small classes. Tribe’s managers believe that launching a band of Tribe’s size is an extremely difficult task. To compete with bands in the large band class a competitor has to make a significant up–front investment in raw materials, promotion and manufacturing with no certainty that all the costumes will be sold. Each year there are several new entrants in the small and medium categories but few survive more than a few years as they fail to attract a significant following. However, once bands have developed a following they tend to survive for extended periods — a few of the oldest bands have been around for over 30 years.

 

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Discussion

Caribbean Music Group (CMG)

Bargaining power of buyers

Customers have a lot of bargaining power in the niche market for Trinidadian music. The Internet provides tools for customers to gather information as to availability, quality and price. Customers also have a choice of a wide range of legal and illegal suppliers and switching costs are low. Trinidadians, especially teenagers, often turn to illegal providers since they can get songs at no cost. In Porter’s (1980, 2001) model these industry features result in significant downward pricing pressure and reduced industry profitability.

Bargaining power of suppliers

CMG has limited bargaining power in the transactions with the copyright owners as it represents a small percentage of their sales. And, as pointed out by Porter (2001), these suppliers can use the threat of forward integration, facilitated by the Internet, in their negotiations with CMG. CMG, on the other hand, has no alternative sources of supply for individual pieces of copyrighted music.

CMG also has little bargaining power in the relationship with the Copyright Organization of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT). The license fees CMG pays to COTT represent a small portion of COTT’s overall revenue. Porter’s (1980) model predict limited profitability for the retail music industry squeezed between customers that demand near zero prices and suppliers that can negotiate for a higher percentage of any price to end consumers.

Complementors

The innovations emerging from the global microprocessor, software and telecommunications industries provide the infrastructure needed by the online music retail industry. In Trinidad this infrastructure is supplied by the local computer retailers as well as by the Telecommunications Company of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) and Flow Broadband, the two dominant broadband providers. However, while these complementors provide the infrastructure needed by the online music retail industry, they also provide the tools used by the music pirates to destroy it.

Threat of new entrants

The threat of entry into the niche market for Trinidadian music is significant. While few companies may be interested in establishing a physical presence, online music giants such as iTunes can enter any market once they negotiate the rights to distribute in that market. Anderson (2004) pointed out that even niche markets can be profitable for large online music retailers. A few songs by popular Trinidadian artistes are already available through these music giants and local copyright holders would love to see more Trinidadian music made available through these channels. Given these alternate distribution channels, their loyalty to CMG is likely to be low.

Threat of substitutes

Illegal peer to peer networks pose a significant threat to music retailers like CMG. These services pay no license fees but attract millions of “customers” because they offer free content. Barriers to entry are low as anyone with a personal computer and broadband connection can become a “supplier”.

Competitive rivalry

There are several music retailers in Trinidad and Tobago that sell CD and downloadable music tracks online. The majority of their domestic sales are made through traditional retail outlets and sales to the Trinidadian diaspora and international community though their online stores. Online music giants, such as iTunes and Napster, represent a form of non–traditional competition, particularly for the international market. However, as discussed, peer–to–peer networks represent the most serious competition. According to Porter’s model, the industry can be characterized as being highly fragmented with millions of “competitors” where even the industry giants are unable to impose any discipline. Rivalry can therefore be described as intense.

Summary: Long term profitability and the role e–commerce

CMG operates in an industry that offers very limited opportunities for long–term profitability. CMG’s ecommerce initiatives are sophisticated, but cannot overcome the overall unattractiveness of this industry. Customers are the most obvious beneficiaries as they have many sources — both legal and illegal. This translates into a low willingness to pay. Consequently revenue streams do not cover costs and CMG’s online music business survives only though grant funding. There seems that there is little hope for an improvement in the prospects for CMG’s online music ventures. Even an innovative use of technology seems unable to overcome the challenges posed by an industry made more unattractive by the proliferation of computing and communications technologies. Figure 6 summarizes the attractiveness of the Trinidadian music retail industry based on the modified five forces model.

 

Figure 6: The link of e-commerce with CMG's industry structure
Figure 6: The link of e–commerce with CMG’s industry structure (Porter, 1980, 2001; Nalebuff and Brandenburger, 1996).

 

Tribe

Bargaining power of customers

Using Porter’s model, the bargaining power of customers is quite high vis–à–vis the bands. The bands provide a relatively unimportant input to the customers’ lives, there are dozens of bands to choose from and switching costs are almost non–existent. Despite management’s assertions, Tribe sells an undifferentiated product where innovations are quickly copied. Nevertheless, Tribe, a relatively new entrant, has managed to grow to be one of the largest bands in Trinidad and seems to have a loyal following. This is perhaps a testament to quality of Tribe’s management team and also the faddishness of the Trinidadian masquerader. Tribe may be “in style” but unless the management team continues to execute, Tribe could lose many customers to the next “hot” band.

Bargaining power of suppliers

Given its size, Tribe has a moderately strong bargaining position with raw materials suppliers and manufacturers. Tribe has access to multiple suppliers and manufacturers, and switching costs are low. However, suppliers and manufacturers view Tribe as a large and important customer.

Threat of new entrants

The threat of new entrants is quite high. Moderate capital investments are needed to manufacture all the costumes and advertising is largely based on word of mouth. New bands are often formed by breakaway factions of older more established bands. Thus the new band often benefits from the reputation of a well known “personality” from an older band. Management conflicts are common and often lead to these types of spinoffs. New bands also often start small, with correspondingly limited capital requirements, but can grow quickly once they achieve the right “buzz”. The Internet reduces barriers to entry by facilitating online sales and word of mouth as well as by facilitating interactions with a wider pool of suppliers.

Threat of substitutes

The threat of a substitute experience is significant. Many people opt not to join a band but can listen to the music and participate from the sidelines. The only thing that holdouts will miss is the costume and the all–inclusive drinks section. However, for many the music is the most important feature and holdouts can source their own drinks at a tiny fraction of the price of joining band. The music is played at such elevated volumes that it is impossible to prevent anyone within a two–kilometer radius from hearing it clearly.

Competitive rivalry

Rivalry between Tribe and its direct competitors is fierce. There is limited scope for product differentiation so the larger bands have resorted to innovations like all inclusive food and drinks, security, cooling centers and rest trucks. However, these innovations are visible and are quickly copied.

Existence of complementors

The travel and tourism industries provide important complementary services for bands like Tribe. Tribe and its competitors earn significant revenue from non–residents who must travel to Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the annual carnival celebration.

Summary: Long–term profitability and the role e–commerce

Tribe has obtained a moderately strong position in an industry that is significantly more attractive than the retail music industry. Tribe’s long–term profitability depends more heavily on its management team, their ability to work together and their ability to maintain the excitement that surrounds the band — the “buzz”.

Even though e–commerce plays a very limited strategic role in the industry e–commerce is important to Tribe’s aim to be innovative. Not only does e–commerce improve Tribe’s image and reputation for novelty, it also is an important facilitator of Tribe’s operations. Accepting customer registrations online allows reaching a much larger target audience and consequently people with a higher willingness to pay.

 

Figure 7: The link of e-commerce with Tribe's industry structure
Figure 7: The link of e–commerce with Tribe’s industry structure (Porter, 1980, 2001; Nalebuff and Brandenburger, 1996).

 

 

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Conclusion

From the discussions above, it is evident that the industry structures into which CMG and Tribe are embedded exert a hugely powerful influence over their long–term success in general and the success of their e–commerce initiatives in particular. So much so that industry structure seems to be at least as important as the presence or absence of technological, legal, political and societal influences of the long–term success of electronic commerce initiatives.

We are careful in drawing conclusions about CMG’s and Tribe’s long–term profitability based on the attractiveness of their industries alone. The environments of firms — industry structure — as well as their own strategies determine long–term profitability (Porter, 2001). Thus Tribe may still fail even though it operates in a less hostile industry than CMG. CMG, if it manages to innovate, may become profitable in the long run, even in the face of a very unattractive industry.

However, as clearly demonstrated in these case studies, electronic commerce initiatives alone are not enough to overcome the challenges posed by an unattractive industry. As Porter (2001) points out, the Internet can make things worse and this seems to be clearly demonstrated in the case of CMG.

Avenues for future research include an investigation of the applicability of our conclusions on a wider scale. Additionally, it would be interesting to examine how other industries in developing countries, such as banking or insurance, are affected by the advent of e–commerce. End of article

 

About the authors

Alexander Vuylsteke is business development manager at Incofin Investment Management. Previously, he has worked as a consultant at Bain & Company. He has a master’s degree in commercial engineering in management informatics, Faculty of Business and Economics, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven (http://www.kuleuven.be/english/). As a student, he has participated in exchange programs at Uppsala University (Sweden), ESSEC International Business School (France), and Tsinghua University (China). His academic interests include business strategy, e–business and ICT management.
E–mail: alexander [dot] vuylsteke [at] gmail [dot] com

Simon Fraser is a lecturer in management information systems at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad (http://sta.uwi.edu/). He graduated from UWI with a bachelor’s in management (honors) in 1985. He then attended Columbia University in New York and completed his MBA in 1988. Prior to rejoining the academic community, Mr. Fraser held several senior positions in the IS field, including three years as MIS manager at Trinidad’s tourism promotion agency where he launched the first domestically hosted Web site in 1995. He also spent two years as general manager of a group of Internet service providers before returning to UWI in 2000.
E–mail: simon [dot] fraser [at] sta [dot] uwi[dot] edu

 

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Editorial history

Received 30 January 2011; revised 4 July 2011; accepted 19 August 2011.


Copyright © 2011, First Monday.
Copyright © 2011, Alexander Vuylsteke and Simon Fraser. All rights reserved.

The impact of industry structure on e–commerce initiatives in the developing world: Two case studies from Trinidad and Tobago
by Alexander Vuylsteke and Simon Fraser.
First Monday, Volume 16, Number 9 - 5 September 2011
http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3377/3046





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