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Chitu Okoli

Competitive strategy using the Internet

My first focused research stream was an interest in competitive strategy using the Internet. This interest arose from the doctoral seminars in management strategy and marketing strategy that I took as my minor focus in my PhD in Business Administration. 


This study analyses the competitive landscape of the internet from the perspective of organisational ecology theory, an approach that fits well the evolutionary nature of the growth and development of the internet, and the nature of the business competition it engenders. It explores how the ‘electronic commerce firm’, as an individual organisation, should best be conceptualised, and then examines the three levels of organisational ecology analysis in detail: the demography of internet organisations, population ecology and community ecology. This study relates various aspects of the internet competitive landscape to organisational ecology theory, borrowing from the resource-based view of the firm.

Chen, Ye-Sho, Chitu Okoli, and Huang Lihua. 2005. Strategic growth of firms in the digital economy: A Simonian research agenda. JITTA : Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application 7, no. 2: 37.

Strategic growth of firms, in the words of Herbert Simon, is within the framework of decision making under "massive and unending uncertainty." In the rapidly changing digital economy, the cycle of winning and losing and asset redistribution intensifies as the speed of information exchange increases. It is thus more necessary than ever to find explanatory theories to describe, model, and predict the emerging market structures of the hypercompetitive digital economy. In this paper, we draw upon several Simonian models of bounded rationality in decision making and propose a research agenda for strategic growth of firms in the digital economy. The agenda consists of three major topics: (1) skew distributions in the digital market competition, (2) empirical laws of information use, and (3) a framework of strategic information systems. Some ongoing projects related to the agenda are discussed.

Okoli, Chitu. 2004. Models of Internet Market Share Strategic Planning for E-Market Systems. International Journal of Management & Information Systems 2, no. 1: 24-29. 

This study investigates the critical factors that support establishing high market share for Internet-based businesses. First it surveys the marketing literature for those factors that have traditionally been recognized to contribute to market share. Advertising, product prices, quality, selection, customization, and brand popularity share are found to be important factors. Next, the study identifies some principle quantitative models for modeling market share. Then it identifies some factors that have been identified in literature that would be expected to contribute to market share of Internet-based businesses. These include Internet advertising, shopping agents, customer loyalty and trust, among others. Finally, the study proposes a simple linear and a logistic model as the best potential choices for modeling Internet-based market share.

Chen, Ye-Sho, Chitu Okoli, and P. Pete Chong. 2003. IT businesses and franchising: A research proposal. In 36th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, ed. Ralph H. Sprague. Waikoloa Village, Hawaii: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Franchising has been popular as a growth strategy for small businesses; it is even more so in today’s global and information-based economy. In early 2001, Entrepreneur magazine-well known for its Franchise 500 listing-added a Tech Businesses category to its Franchise Zone with three subcategories: Internet Businesses, Tech Training, and Miscellaneous Tech Businesses. This study applies Herbert Simon’s model for business firm growth as a theory-grounded solution to help managers understand the growth dynamics of IT-based franchising businesses. We present a research proposal with a pilot study of the growth of 27 IT-based franchise businesses, and explain how to relate the parameters of Simon’s model to strategic variables that can give managers a valuable strategic tool to understand the context of their industrial competition in IT-based franchising.

Okoli, Chitu. 2002. Industries, information, and the Internet: An information-oriented perspective of industries. In 62nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, 30. Denver: Academy of Management.

This study explores how the conceptualization of an "industry" is changing with the advent of the information age, and particularly how the Internet is enabling this change. We first lay out a high-level framework that describes the critical features that any conceptualization of an industry tries to define: the source of firm value, the definition of a firm (based on its source of value), the definition of an industry, and the supporting and opposing networks of related organizations. Using this framework, we examine the way industrial organization economics views industries, which is based on its focus on products (physical goods or services) as the source of firm value. Drawing from the literature on the resource-based view, comparative advantage theory of the firm, knowledge and learning orientation, and information as a competitive resource, we then describe an emerging view of what constitutes an industry, focusing on information as the critical resource of value. Finally, we examine how the Internet is contributing to this emerging view. From an industrial organization perspective, the Internet is seen to primarily erode the profitability of product-based competition. However, from an information-industry perspective, the Internet is providing a new resource for competitiveness in leveraging information for competitive advantage. This information-oriented perspective is redefining the conceptualization of industry based on a firm deriving value primarily from its information resource, in contrast to the product-centered perspective from industrial organization economics.


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