Training for Ecommerce Adoption: Macro Assessment of Determinants

Training for Ecommerce Adoption: Macro Assessment of Determinants

Rohit Yadav (IIT Roorkee, India) and Tripti Mahara (IIT Roorkee, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4038-0.ch010


This chapter empirically investigates the decision of small and medium‐sized enterprises of wooden handicraft located in Saharanpur, India to adopt ecommerce. The study is motivated by the fact that even though the handicraft sector plays a vital role in the Indian economy in terms of exports and employment, it has not adopted ecommerce as one of the prominent sales channels for their products. Most of the studies in the literature focus on consumers, but here the focus is on the executives and the managers of SMEs. The study was done by surveying 163 sampled SMEs and the findings reveal that initial e-commerce adoption is mainly determined by organizational awareness and technological readiness. This chapter suggests training providers should focus on recipient and situation specific training to SMEs while designing programmes. Philosophy of one-size-fits-all is not suitable for handicraft training. Post-understanding determinants of initial and institutionalized ecommerce adoption require customized context-specific programmes with special focus are needed to be implemented.
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Small and Medium‐sized Enterprises (SME) are mostly formulated by a single owner or a group and are generally family owned (Ritchie, 1993). SMEs organizational structure is usually flat. Nonetheless, it makes them more flexible (Scott et al., 1989). In their daily operations focused routine SMEs neglect people management issues.

Technological progresses have brought in important transformations to the current production and operation methods. Even as SMEs imbibe these progressions in their daily processes, they neglect importance of skilled and trained workforce for their success. In particular, SMEs have to endure amendments during global competition. This puts considerable pressure and acts as a challenge for SMEs to manage both cost and quality while abiding diverse legal requirements, especially those SMEs functioning with labor intensive technologies in developing countries (e.g., Stewart and Beaver, 2003). Lots of SMEs constantly use questionable practices like child labor and violation of labor standards like minimum wage denial, poor work conditions. These SMEs have zero usage of professional management tools.

Porter (1990) said that countries with low natural gifts tend to invest in creation of superior factors, like education, upgrading communication systems and workforce training. Infrastructure linked to workforce quality and education is directly proportional to wholistic development of nation. Quality workforce is the most crucial factors that leads to competitive advantage (O’Malley and O’Gorman, 2001).

The majority SMEs does not possess any method of training that leads to vastly adopted practice of on-job training by master craftsmen. SMEs are complacent only on regular profit generation of workers. Consequently no formal appraisals and training systems are implemented by firms. To face survival and globalization, firms need to focus on training of employees to professionalize work atmosphere.

SMEs and Indian Scenario

India is a country with cultural diversity and has enormous range of handicraft items from different states. This sector is one of the biggest employers in rural India providing employment to more than 7.3 million people. Many artisans labors full time and numerous on part-time basis in this sector. This being an unorganized sector faces many hurdles and challenges like lack of raw material and funds, low productivity, unavailability of skilled artisans, lack of conducive environment, information asymmetry and dissemination (Chamikutty, 2013; Kumar and Rajeev, 2014).

With internet penetration of 34.8% and approximate 462 million internet users in July 2016, ecommerce industry is showing signs of phenomenal growth (Financial express, 2016). Initiatives like handicraft cluster and Flipkart alliance (PIB, 2014) brings skills upliftment and trained workforce into operations. A study by Giyar (2011), have done qualitative study to explore the ecommerce related practices in SMEs in wooden handicraft sector in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Taking reference from Givar (2011) objective of this study is to identify macro touch points for design of future training and development of Saharanpur wooden handicraft cluster towards ecommerce adoption.

The annual value of the wooden handicraft industry of Saharanpur is worth around Rs 400 crore and it also supports the source of revenue for 150,000 artisans approximately (Yadav and Mahara, 2016) making it one of the important handicraft segment for study. Today, it is the principle center for wood carving. Wooden carvings result in decorated furnitures, furnishings for home, and gifts for all ages and toys for children’s.

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