Key Terminology and Evolution of e-Business

  • Tawfik JelassiEmail author
  • Francisco J. Martínez-López
Part of the Classroom Companion: Business book series (CCB)


The purpose of this chapter is to set the stage for the remainder of the book. To create a clear and shared view of what this domain entails, this chapter introduces definitions of e-business-related terms and concepts as well as some strategy-specific perspectives. The concept of strategy and recognizing the different levels of strategy development is defined. This chapter also develops a framework that describes the typical stages of technological revolutions and positions the evolution of electronic business within this framework.


Electronic business Strategy The evolution of e-business Electronic business adoption 


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Further Reading

  1. A detailed account of different levels of strategy can be found in G. Johnson, K. Scholes and R. Whittington, Exploring corporate strategy. 7th edition, Prentice Hall, 2005.Google Scholar
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  3. B. Henderson uses the metaphor of biological evolution to describe the essence of strategy in ‘The origin of strategy’, Harvard Business Review, 1989, November–December, pp. 139–143.Google Scholar
  4. C. Perez. developed the five-stage model of technological revolutions presented in this chapter: see Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages, Edward Elgar, 2002. She draws heavily on the writings of twentieth-century economist J. Schumpeter. Among his important works rank the books Business Cycles, Porcupine Press, 1982 and Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Harper & Rank, 1975.Google Scholar
  5. E. Malmsten (the co-founder of, E. Portanger and C. Drazin provide an account of the rise and fall of the Internet fashion retailer in their book Boo Hoo, Arrow Books, 2002.Google Scholar
  6. For further analysis on social commerce and social layers of the internet, see T. Philbeck, N. Davis and A. M. Engtoft Larsen, ‘Values, Ethics and Innovation Rethinking Technological Development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, World Economic Forum White Paper, August, 2018.Google Scholar
  7. For traditional businesses seeking to increase their e-Business, Sunil Gupta describes omni-channel strategy in Gupta, S. (2018). Driving digital strategy: A guide to reimagining your business. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.Google Scholar
  8. H. Mintzberg is one of the most prominent critics of the design or positioning school. For further reading, see Strategy Safari – A guided tour through the wilds of strategic management. Prentice Hall, 1998, pp. 114–118, which offers no less than ten different approaches to explaining strategy. His article ‘The design school: Reconsidering the basic premises of strategic management’. Strategic Management Journal, 1990, 11(3), 171–195, provides a more condensed criticism of the design school.Google Scholar
  9. In ‘Profits and the Internet: Seven misconceptions’, Sloan Management Review, 2001, Summer, pp. 44–53, S. Rangan and R. Adner analyse why the promises of the Internet economy were not fulfilled.Google Scholar
  10. In The long tail: Why the future of business is selling less of more. Hyperion, New York, 2006, C. Anderson illustrates how, by using the Internet, companies can capitalise on niche markets better to serve their customers.Google Scholar
  11. J. Cassidy. takes a critical perspective of the development of the Internet economy in Dot.con, Perennial, New York, 2003.Google Scholar
  12. Liang, T. P., & Turban, E. (2011). Introduction to the special issue, social commerce: A research framework for social commerce’, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 16(2), p. 5–14.Google Scholar
  13. M. Porter’s article ‘Strategy and the Internet’, Harvard Business Review, 2001, March, pp. 63–78, provides an excellent overview of the impact of the Internet on strategy formulation. His recent work updates this. See: Porter, M. and Heppelmann, J. (2014) How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition. Harvard Business Review. November. See also: Porter, M. and Heppelmann, J. (2015, October) How smart, connected products are transforming companies. Harvard Business Review.Google Scholar
  14. Pavic, S. (2011). The creation of competitive advantage in SMEs through e-business, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Sheffield, Sheffield.Google Scholar
  15. The experience of General Electric provides insight to the challenges and opportunities of e-business transformation. Former CEO Jeffrey Immelt describes the strategy at: J. Immelt, (2017). ‘How I Remade GE’, Harvard Business Review, September. For another perspective, see V. Chemitiganti, ‘What we can learn from GE and why digital transformations fail’, ITProPortal, 3 October, 2018. Available at:


  1. The website provides interesting background information on a number of concepts discussed in this chapter.
  2. is an online newspaper specific to e-commerce developments.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tawfik Jelassi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco J. Martínez-López
    • 2
  1. 1.IMDLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Business Administration 1University of GranadaGranadaSpain

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