Electronic commerce and small and medium business enterprises

  • Joan Jensen

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The aim of this research was to discover the issues influencing the adoption of e-commerce by small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The demand aspect of the theory of diffusion of innovation enabled the formulation of a number of research propositions which formed the focus for this research. Seventy-five randomly-selected SMEs within the ACT were interviewed. Of these seventy five,fifty had adopted e-commerce and twenty-five had not. Findings complemented results from other studies,but also added to them. Factors from the demand aspect of the theory of time,resources (personnel,financial,technological),business organisation,size,return on investment,push by outside agencies or clients,and communication channels were found to be of little importance. Of greater importance were characteristics of the SME operators themselves (such as their innovativeness,their relative youth and educational level),the size of their business,the number of years it had been operating,and marketing issues. A prime consideration was that of attaining and maintaining a competitive edge over their competitors. Security and privacy issues were of little consideration prior to the adoption process,but became of much greater importance once SMEs had adopted e-commerce. Some things discovered by this research that have not appeared in the reporting of other studies included: . The importance of tertiary education for the primary decision-makers in the organisation; . The role banks played in the adoption process; . The high cost and difficulty of compliance with government regulations,especially regarding the employment of staff; and . The lack of use of specifically established communication channels,set up by government bodies or associated industry organisations to educate and inform SMEs about the potential and process of e-commerce. Results of this research have implications for a large number of associated stakeholders - government,educational institutions,and trade,industry and professional associations - and as such deserve to be widely disseminated.
Date of Award1 Jan 2005
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra

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