Small Business Collaboration Through Electronic Marketplaces

Small Business Collaboration Through Electronic Marketplaces

Yin Leng Tan (The University of Manchester, UK) and Linda Macaulay (The University of Manchester, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-056-1.ch061
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It is widely recognized that small businesses with less than 50 employees make significant contributions to the prosperity of local, regional, and national economies. They are a major source of job creation and a driving force of economic growth for developed countries like the USA (Headd, 2005; SBA, 2005), the UK (Dixon, Thompson, & McAllister, 2002; SBS, 2005), Europe (European Commission, 2003), and developing countries such as China (Bo, 2005). The economic potential is further strengthened when firms collaborate with each other; for example, formation of a supply chain, strategic alliances, or sharing of information and resources (Horvath, 2001; O’Donnell, Cilmore, Cummins, & Carson, 2001; MacGregor, 2004; Todeva & Knoke, 2005). Owing to heterogeneous aspects of small businesses, such as firm size and business sector, a single e-business solution is unlikely to be suitable for all firms (Dixon et al., 2002; Taylor & Murphy, 2004a); however, collaboration requires individual firms to adopt standardized, simplified solutions based on open architectures and data design (Horvath, 2001). The purpose of this article is to propose a conceptual e-business framework and a generic e-catalogue, which enables small businesses to collaborate through the creation of an e-marketplace. To assist with the task, analysis of data from 6,000 small businesses situated within a locality of Greater Manchester, England within the context of an e-business portal is incorporated within this study.

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