Robertson, A and Lockett, N J and Brown, D H and Crouchley, R (2007) Entrepreneurs'' attitude towards the computer and its effect on e-business adoption. Working Paper. The Department of Management Science, Lancaster University.
This paper presents research exploring further the concept that many SMEs do not adopt computer based technologies due to decision maker's negative attitudes towards computers generally. Importantly, by assessing the entrepreneur's belief structure, we provide quantitative evidence how SMEs, particularly micros, are affected. Earlier research that addresses technology acceptance model (TAM) suggests that TAM parameters are particularly influential factors of e-commerce adoption, as perceived by top managers of SMEs. The model we develop is tested using a sample of 655 enterprises. The information was gathered, via a telephone survey of UK SMEs, from decisions makers in the enterprise. Technically, the paper uses k-means cluster analysis to segment respondents using the TAM perceptions, ease of use, usefulness and enjoyment. Based on two determined segments we look at the differential rate of adoption of internet, and the potential adoption of new e-collaborative technologies like video conferencing and electronic whiteboards. The diffusion of internet for low IT utility (LIT) segments was considerably slower than in the high utility segment (HIT). Similarly, the anticipated adoption of e-collaboration technologies was much lower for LIT than HIT. Interestingly, we find that LIT is populated by more micro SMEs than HIT. The results we present are limited however as our sample is considerably underweight in micro SMEs, suggesting that the problem may be much larger in the economy than our model predicts. For policy makers, this research confirms the value of knowledge transfer programs to SMEs in the form of technology support. Our research shows that organisations which have dedicated IT support will tend to be more advanced technologically than those that do not. The implication for entrepreneurs is if they can be persuaded that a technological route is beneficial to them, and that suitable support can be provided via KT, then operational efficiency gains could be made. This paper contributes to knowled
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