SMEs and the internet drivers of and barriers to e-engagement.

Downie, G. W., 2011. SMEs and the internet drivers of and barriers to e-engagement. Doctorate Thesis (Doctorate). Bournemouth University.

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Abstract

For many years, the internet and its associated technologies have been heralded as the new frontier for SMEs and, inherently, “a good thing”. Despite this having been a common theme for at least the last fifteen years, still many SMEs are not “e-engaged. Despite significant amounts of public money being invested in promoting the Internet to SMEs, estimates for the UK range from 20 to 40 percent non- e-engagement, and substantially more in other jurisdictions. This thesis examines the barriers and drivers to e-engagement by SMEs and challenges the conventional wisdom that the Internet is a positive force for all. In particular, the research looks at the micro end of the SME spectrum, (the μSME), and identifies a number of hitherto un-examined areas of their operation and business models. Following a comprehensive review of the relevant canon of literature, a conceptual framework is derived, developed and presented. This provides the skeleton upon which the research strategy sits. The empirical data set consists of seventeen in depth case studies from a range of SMEs involved in the b2b, b2c and professional services fields. A cross case analysis was then undertaken, leading to the finalised framework. One of the key contributions of this research is the development of the conceptual model and associated framework. This allows for the identification and analysis of barriers, drivers and key determinants of the decision by SMEs and specifically of μSMEs with regard to their engagement, or not, with the Internet. Some commentators have noted that the literature on SME Internet engagement is fragmented and incoherent and that there is a need for framework development and research at the conceptual level to provide more focused research. This thesis accepts that challenge. It takes a comparative approach to both engaged and non-engaged companies, where possible in the same industry, to allow for key determinants and principle impact factors to be identified. The research provides detailed examples of the business models operated by the case companies and the factors affecting their implementation and operation. The variables affecting each SME are codified and mapped against the determinants and principle drivers. This enables the analysis to identify the barriers that filter, and in some cases entirely block, engagement with the Internet.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctorate)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Subjects:Technology > Business, Management and Marketing
Group:Business School
ID Code:17879
Deposited By:Mrs Jill Burns
Deposited On:26 May 2011 15:17
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:44

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