University of Tasmania
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Developing a four phase model : thirty-four case studies exploring the utilisation of electronic commerce in Australian small and medium sized enterprises

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:58 authored by Chau, Stephen B
This thesis explores the utilisation of electronic commerce (e-commerce) amongst thirty-four Australian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). While ecommerce adoption amongst Australian SMEs is now well understood, there remains a lack of insight into how SMEs actively utilise e-commerce and the factors that influence their ability to derive benefit from this utilisation. Recently, a number of SME e-commerce models have emerged, although few of these have been grounded in the direct experience of SMEs utilisation of e-commerce. Through the conduct and analysis of thirty-four case studies this research develops a four phase model of e-commerce utilisation and business transformation. At the substantive level, these case studies, involve SMEs from two Australian States and represent a range of businesses from nine industry sectors: Agriculture, Mining, Finance, Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade, Hospitality, Education, IT/Communications and Manufacturing. This research adopts a subjective ontology and employed an interpretative epistemology. The research strategy involved a qualitative research approach using multiple case studies that involved semi-structured interviews with owner / managers of SMEs located in Tasmania and Western Australia. Interview transcripts were analysed using a combination of qualitative data analysis techniques drawing on the principles of grounded theory and domain analysis. Both these methods utilise an inductive approach to theory generation whereby theories, concepts and models are derived directly from the data or grounded in the data. In presenting the data analysis of the case studies, three representative case studies are used to display in detail the depth of analysis conducted across all cases. This thesis makes a number of contributions to information systems research into SMEs and e-commerce. At the substantive level by providing thirty-four SME qualitative case studies this research provides detailed descriptions of the utilisation of e-commerce amongst SMEs; identifies key factors that influence the ability of SMEs to derive benefit from e-commerce and increases the understanding of the direct experience of Australian SMEs utilising e-commerce. At the methodological level by combining two 'grounded' data analysis methods this research has been able to provide rich insight into the nature, significance and interrelationships amongst the data. Significantly by detailing an approach to combining grounded theory and domain analysis this thesis has contributed to the development of qualitative interpretative IS research methods for multiple case studies. At a theoretical level by generating a four phase model of e-commerce utilisation and business transformation this thesis has generated a conceptual framework extending information systems (IS) insights into e-commerce utilisation amongst Australian SMEs. It is anticipated that this framework will lead to further advances in Information Systems research in SMEs and technology utilisation.


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Copyright 2002 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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