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Balancing specialized and generic capabilities in the provision of integrated solutions: Empirical evidence from the IT sector


Management Science and Operations

Authors / Editors

Ceci F;Masini A

Publication Year



Integrated bundles of products and services are gaining importance in the IT sector and are increasingly regarded as a source of competitive advantage. However, this trend poses new challenges to IT vendors and service providers, who need to develop new capabilities or reconfigure their existing resources when they move into this competitive space. The aim of this paper is to identify the different strategic choices adopted by firms that provide integrated solutions and to examine whether these choices provide specific advantages in different environments. Drawing upon the resource-based view and contingency theory, we test a model of fit between the environmental requirements of the firm and the types of integrated solutions capabilities developed. Our analysis of a sample of European IT providers suggests the existence of four different configurations and indicates that differences in fit between environmental variables and strategic choices partially account for performance differences among integrated solution providers. It also suggests that providers that possess specialized capabilities obtain greater benefits when they operate in homogeneous environments.

Available on ECCH


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