New directions for research on SME-eBusiness: insights from an analysis of journal articles from 2003 to 2006

Craig M Parker*, Tanya Castleman

Abstract


Previous research which consolidates the growing body of academic literature on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and electronic business (eBusiness) has taken the form of meta-analyses which focus on analysing adoption factors, pre-2000 articles and a small number of journals. This paper makes a valuable contribution to the analysis of SME-eBusiness research by addressing the limitations of past literature analyses because it presents an extensive literature review of 120 SME-eBusiness journal articles published between 2003 and 2006 in 53 journals. This paper is unique, when compared to meta-analyses of adoption factors, because it analyses the SME-eBusiness literature broadly on the basis of the data collection approaches used, countries and eBusiness technologies studied, and the primary research objective of each article. This approach to the analysis revealed a number of limitations in the existing research such as the tendency: to treat SMEs and eBusiness applications homogeneously rather than as highly diverse, complex entities; to repeat adoption factor studies which have now reached saturation point; and to focus on SMEs themselves without considering the complexity of relationships which many SMEs have with family, friends, other businesses and eBusiness solution providers. These limitations highlight the need for new research directions which move beyond identifying and evaluating adoption factors. The paper concludes by outlining a number of broad research directions which might help overcome the limitations with the existing body of SME-eBusiness research.

Keywords


Small and medium enterprises; SMEs; electronic business; adoption; internet; web

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References


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