Purpose - The objective of this paper is to study the relationship between information technology (IT) investments and performance in the purchasing function. A study is made not only of whether this relationship exists, but also of the mediating role played by both purchasing practices and the strategic integration of purchasing. Design/methodology/approach - Statistical analyses of the data provided by 141 purchasing managers of medium and large Spanish companies in three industrial sectors. Findings - The analyses support the idea that IT investments exert a positive effect on purchasing operational performance. Nonetheless, the results show that this effect arises because IT allows companies to implement certain purchasing practices and, partially, because it facilitates greater strategic integration of the purchasing function. Originality/value - The results not only reveal the positive effect of IT at the functional level, but they also help us to understand how this effect is produced. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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