M-Commerce Adoption in SMEs of China: The Effect of Institutional Pressures and the Mediating Role of Top Management

M-Commerce Adoption in SMEs of China: The Effect of Institutional Pressures and the Mediating Role of Top Management

Liwei Li (Management College, Beijing Union University, Beijing, China) and Xiaohong Wang (Management College, Beijing Union University, Beijing, China)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/JECO.2018040103
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Based on the institutional theory, this article explores how institutional pressures motivate firms to adopt m-commerce, and how such effects are mediated by top management. Structural equation modeling with partial least square is used to analyze valid data from 204 small and medium-sized firms in China. The empirical results manifest as: mimetic pressures, coercive pressures, normative pressures which could directly affect a firm's intention to adopt m-commerce while coercive pressures and normative pressures have a positive effect on top management support. Top management support partly mediates the influence of two institutional pressures, coercive pressures and normative pressures, on the adoption intention of m-commerce. The final implications of the findings for research and practice are discussed.
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1. Introduction

With the spread of smart phones, mobile phone has become an indispensable part of our life and work. By June 2017, the number of mobile internet users in China has reached 724 million which accounted for 96.3% of the total internet user population (CNNIC, 2017). The quick growth of mobile phone users has provided a solid user base for m-commerce usage of firms. The shift of internet users from PC to mobile phones would prompt more companies in China to use mobile technologies. Mobile internet and smart phones provide an important channel for marketing and selling. In comparison with the rapid uptake of mobile users at individual level, the adoption of mobile commerce in firms of China has lagged behind. Among companies with the experience in e-marketing in China, only one third firms had carried out marketing activities via mobile internet (CNNIC, 2016).

Many research have been made on m-commerce adoption issue from the perspective of consumers at the individual level, but minimal research have been done on the adoption of m-commerce in firms at the organizational level (Li & McQueen, 2008; Swilley et al., 2012; Picoto, 2014), especially in the context of China. Although many studies have been done on e-commerce adoption in firms, there are many differences between e-commerce and m-commerce. M-commerce is not only a subset or extension of e-commerce but also means a different business way for firms (Alfahl et al., 2012). Compared to e-commerce, mobile technologies have broken through the limitation of time and place to access to information, communication, and services (Mallat, 2009). Mobile internet can bring unique value by ubiquity, portability, convenience, identification, personalization, localization, and instant connectivity (Clarke, 2001; Picoto et al., 2014). The value of m-commerce includes the impact on marketing and sales, internal operation, and procurement (Picoto et al., 2014). M-commerce applications can significantly benefit small and medium-sized enterprises without requiring significant modifications to processes or major investments (Gebauer & Shaw, 2004; Balocco et al., 2009). Thus, m-commerce applications seem to be particularly suitable for SMEs (Chuang et al., 2007). As more and more SMEs in China start using mobile technologies, it is crucial for researchers and practitioners to better understand which factors determine firm’s adoption intention of m-commerce.

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