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Enterprise Development : SME Growth Through E-Business

Shi, J (2010) Enterprise Development : SME Growth Through E-Business. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

The opportunity for SMEs growth through its use of e-b/c has long been advocated by government, practitioners and academics. This research identifies the opportunities, benefits and impact of developing a e-business/ e-commerce framework/tool for this. It reviews e-business/ecommerce definitions, driving forces, initiatives, uptake, progress, barriers, success factors, models, strategies and best practice. It also reviews the characteristics and the importance of small and medium sized enterprises and their impact on the economy. In addition, the research explores the purpose and use of benchmarking and self-assessment tools for improving business performance. The research identified similarities and differences between small, medium and large companies. Due to the differences in nature and best practice strategies adopted by larger companies may prove to be unsuitable and impractical for smaller companies to follow. Through a number of case studies the research identified that the current e-b/c activity level is very low amongst SMEs (studied firms were mainly based in the Merseyside region), therefore e-b/c system integration appears to be an unrealistic target for the vast majority. Although there is no pattern or formula for e-b/c success, it is possible to evaluate the level of e-activity in each main business area to reflect the level of systems integration, and also to evaluate their e-b/c involvement and key actions for growth. The research identified that e-b/c success is driven by business needs, supported by ICT competence and executed by actions based on priorities. More importantly, a range of critical success factors that may have significant influence over e-b/c adoption and development were also identified. Certain factors can be advanced in order to improve a firm's overall e-b/c performance whereas other factors cannot be improved within a short time frame. The key findings of the research contribute to the current body of knowledge by identifying a set of enabling factors that may potentially influence an SME's capability to be successful in e-b/c adoption and development. It exposed a range of specific (fixed) factors which are typically difficult to implement within SMEs. In contrast, variable factors have the potential to be improved. Eight variable factors were specifically highlighted, forming a unique '8 dimensions factor' model and subsequently used as the basis for a proposed e-b/c self assessment framework. The research confirms that it is feasible for the e-b/c self assessment tool to be implemented and validated for commercial purposes and it could be specifically tailored for a business sector or country. The research outcomes set a natural scene for future research in a wider and global context, encompassing additional business sectors and global companies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: General Engineering Research Institute
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 10:42
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2017 10:42
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5947

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