The adoption of e-business technology by SMEs
AbstractThe paper examines the key factors influencing the adoption ofe-business technology by SMEs. To this end, the paper draws on a rangeof literatures on the diffusion of new information and communicationtechnologies (ICTs), many of which have hitherto been treated asseparate. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, e-businesstechnologies are the latest in a line of new ICT technologies. Whenexploited successfully, ICTs have increased firm competitiveness eitherby raising the efficiency of internal communication and organisationand/or supply chain relationships, or by facilitating the development ofnew/improved products and services. Second, it is hypothesised that manyof the factors affecting the successful adoption of new technologies aregeneric in nature. With regards to SMEs specifically, consideration ofearlier research may assist us in identifying a set of enablers andbarriers to e-business adoption. Hence, by explicitly acknowledging thecontext and prior history of research in the area, we are able to mapout the dimensions of future theoretical and empirical research ine-business adoption by SMEs. In addition to drawing together factors identified by existing research,the paper highlights the implications of network externalities for thetiming of technology investments and the returns that accrue to earlyand late adopters. It also draws attention to a number of problemsassociated with the analytical concept of ‘the SME’ when it is appliedto this area. The research proceeds by clearly defining thetechnological and organisational characteristics of the e-business modeland a brief consideration of the trends in adoption in the UK vis-à-visadoption in the other G7 countries. Together these set up a detailedconsideration of the internal and external factors influencing adoption.A qualitative approach, in the form of a detailed case study, is thenused to explore the potential usefulness of the factors that have beenidentified. The results of these findings are then drawn together in theconcluding section of the paper.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Maastricht : MERIT, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology in its series Research Memoranda with number 033.
Date of creation: 2002
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economics of technology ;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-02-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2003-02-24 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-ENT-2003-02-24 (Entrepreneurship)
- NEP-IND-2003-02-24 (Industrial Organization)
- NEP-NET-2003-02-24 (Network Economics)
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