Access Type

Open Access Embargo

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Ratna B. Chinnam

Second Advisor

Leslie Monplaisir


ABSTRACTSOFTWARE AS A SERVICE: THE MEDIATING ROLE OF CONSEQUENCES OF SAAS DIFFUSION ON FIRM PERFORMANCE by CRISTINA MARIE-MCCARTHY RECCHIA DECEMBER 2021 Advisor: Dr. Ratna Babu Chinnam Major: Industrial Engineering Degree: Doctor of Philosophy There are ample studies that support a positive link between information technology and firm performance. Bharadwaj (2000) and Chae (2014, 2018) are two examples that provided a foundation for this work. These scholars looked at how capabilities associated with information technology contribute to improved financial performance using a specific set of financial ratios. In addition, there are studies that examine a positive link between Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and firm capabilities like innovation. Malladi and Krishnan (2012) also provided substantiation for this work. My 30 years of work in the technology field as a practitioner gave me a daily view of how some firms harnessed the power of technology while others stay mired in the clutches of status quo bias. My experience with SaaS exaggerated that view and propelled me on a quest to understand more about this technology and its impact on firm performance. The scholarly work from Bharadwaj, Chae, Malladi and many others gave me the background to pursue this additional area of granularity. Specifically, does the diffusion of SaaS, lead to firm competencies such as; innovation, agility organizational learning, speed, focus on core competency, and new projects. Do those competencies contribute to higher levels of firm performance? Using data from over 550 firms across the US, we examined both subjective and objective firm performance and indeed found a positive link between higher levels of SaaS diffusion and improved firm performance, namely operating income/sales and net income/sales. In addition, we found strong mediation links between SaaS diffusion, specific firm capabilities like innovation and agility among others and improved revenue and productivity. These links contribute to a noticeable gap in the academic literature examining SaaS vs the often examined but more vague cloud computing. It also gives practitioners and IT executives a place to start in moving their organizations toward the diffusion of SaaS and encouraging their organizations to develop enhanced skills that contribute to higher firm performance.

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