Vega, A and Chiasson, M and Brown, D H (2008) Extending the research agenda on diffusion: the case of public program interventions for the adoption of e-business systems in SMEs. Journal of Information Technology, 23. pp. 109-117. ISSN 0268-3962
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Given the importance of contextual influences on the diffusion of innovations, the theories and methodologies that take context into account are increasingly relevant to research and practice. One such approach, the systems of innovation approach, considers context to be a cascading set of effects arising from various participants and innovations surrounding the production and diffusion of a focal innovation. Based on this approach, we focus on a public program involved in the diffusion of e-business systems to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). E-business systems are complex innovations, and the contextual influences are particularly important here, because SMEs often lack the knowledge and resources to strategically adopt, modify, and use these innovations. Using the systems of innovation approach, we examined the contexts around public program interventions with an SME in order to explain their form and influence on e-business adoption processes. The empirical findings suggest that many public programs fail to effectively deliver interventions because program contexts restrict program personnel's ability to completely assess and respond to the range of adopter needs. While some aspects of the program contexts can be altered by the program directors, others are further removed and are currently beyond our collective control at this point-in-time. The implications for diffusion research and practice are discussed.
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