The Relationship of Strategic Intent to the Enablers and Inhibitors of E-Business Adoption in SMEs
Margi Levy (University of Warwick, UK), Philip Powell (University of Bath, UK) and Les Worrall (University of Wolverhampton, UK)
Copyright: © 2007
Small firms’ use of e-business is limited and little is known about what drives them to embrace e-business. Using survey data from 354 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK West Midlands, this chapter investigates e-business use and drivers. It first discusses different growth strategies adopted by SMEs and reviews Internet adoption in SMEs. Drivers and inhibitors of e-business are identified. Three research questions are derived—does strategic intent drive e-business adoption and is it a factor of market position or product innovation? Is this consistent across sectors? And how is strategic intent and industry adoption influenced by the enablers and inhibitors of e-business adoption? This research demonstrates that strategic intent influences decisions to invest in e-business. Those SMEs remaining in their existing markets are the least likely to invest, primarily due to the Internet not being seen as necessary for growth. Product innovation rather than market penetration drives e-business and e-business drivers and inhibitors provide insights into this.