Online from: 1994
Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation
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|Title:||Determinants of internet adoption by SME agri-food companies|
|Author(s):||Geoffrey J. Simmons, (School of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK), Mark G. Durkin, (School of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK), Pauric McGowan, (Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK), Gillian A. Armstrong, (School of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK)|
|Citation:||Geoffrey J. Simmons, Mark G. Durkin, Pauric McGowan, Gillian A. Armstrong, (2007) "Determinants of internet adoption by SME agri-food companies", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 14 Iss: 4, pp.620 - 640|
|Keywords:||Agriculture, Food products, Internet, Northern Ireland, Small to medium-sized enterprises, Worldwide web|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/14626000710832730 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – As evidence mounts on the importance of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to national and international economies and the opportunities presented to them by the internet, it becomes important to understand the key issues which determine internet adoption and utilisation. With literature on SME internet adoption fragmented and incoherent, there is also a need for conceptual framework development and testing to provide more focused research in this important area. Several researchers have also highlighted a need for research which concentrates more on specific industrial sectors rather than taking a more generalist approach to SME internet adoption. Within this evolving research context, the agri-food industry makes a particularly relevant area of study, which this paper aims to study.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper addresses this purpose by conducting a study of 50 Northern Ireland SME agri-food companies. The study utilises and tests a conceptual framework derived from the extant literature in relation to the determinants of SME web site adoption and utilisation.
Findings – The findings of this study point to the need for SME agri-food companies to develop an awareness of the internet's efficacy for their business and a subsequent dynamic strategic approach in adoption and utilisation. However, the lack of marketing ability and negative industry norms prevalent within developed economy agri-food industries will contribute negatively to internet adoption and utilisation. These will need to be addressed if the internet, and web site adoption and utilisation in particular, are to provide an effective business tool. The research findings support the conceptual framework's usefulness as a research tool. The findings point to the importance of marketing ability and industry norms in relation to their impact on the central determinants of internet adoption by the SME agri-food companies studied.
Originality/value – In this paper it is contended that a lack of marketing ability and negative industry attitudes towards internet adoption and utilisation will constrain levels of awareness of the efficacy of the internet as a business tool for the individual businesses researched. The findings reveal that this will subsequently contribute to a lack of strategic web site development and subsequent utilisation.
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