Advancing E-Commerce Beyond Readiness in a Developing Country: Experiences of Ghanaian Firms

Advancing E-Commerce Beyond Readiness in a Developing Country: Experiences of Ghanaian Firms

Richard Boateng (PearlRichards Foundation, Ghana), Richard Heeks (University of Manchester, UK), Alemayehu Molla (RMIT University, Australia) and Robert Hinson (University of Ghana Business School, Ghana)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jeco.2011010101
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This paper identifies factors affecting the assimilation of electronic commerce in Ghana and the solutions that Ghanaian firms have developed. Drawing from the elements of two electronic commerce readiness frameworks, the study analyzes the readiness of Ghana to support the conduct of electronic commerce at the firm-level. The study covers the government, technology, market and culture readiness factors. Findings suggest that social networks, managerial capabilities and government commitment have an attendant effect on adoption and use of tangible resources like electronic commerce applications. The findings imply that future research and practitioner efforts should focus on developing a broader perspective to address electronic commerce challenges encompassing issues like how firms can advance to more complex forms of e-commerce after initial e-commerce adoption.
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E-Commerce: An Overview

E-commerce has been defined as “sharing of business information, maintaining business relationships, and conducting business transactions by means of telecommunications networks” (Zwass, 1996). To conceptualise e-commerce from Zwass’ definition and for this research, it can be argued that depending on the type of technology involved and the extent of integration into the business processes in the value chain, e-commerce may constitute part of the business processes or the entire processes. It may also embrace several forms of transactions (including information exchange) between businesses (B2B), between customers (C2C), between businesses and customers (B2C) and between government and businesses (G2B) (Fearson & Philip, 1998).

As the nature of market operations and resource strengths differ, it is likely that firms would take different paths in adopting and integrating e-commerce in their business operations. Molla and Licker (2005a), in their Perceived Readiness Model (PERM Model), present a hierarchical model of the functional application of the Internet by firms to create business value. The hierarchical phases of e-commerce adoption are: no e-commerce, connected e-commerce, static e-commerce, interactive e-commerce, transactive e-commerce, and integrated e-commerce (Molla & Licker, 2005a, p. 881). The model has been subsequently used in other studies (Dada, 2006; De’elak, 2006; Lai, Dahui, Wang & Hutchinson, 2006; Tan, Tyler & Manica, 2007). The adoption phases enable the firms with the following e-commerce capabilities:

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