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Developing a four phase model : thirty-four case studies exploring the utilisation of electronic commerce in Australian small and medium sized enterprises

Chau, Stephen B 2002 , 'Developing a four phase model : thirty-four case studies exploring the utilisation of electronic commerce in Australian small and medium sized enterprises', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis explores the utilisation of electronic commerce (e-commerce) amongst
thirty-four Australian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). While ecommerce
adoption amongst Australian SMEs is now well understood, there
remains a lack of insight into how SMEs actively utilise e-commerce and the
factors that influence their ability to derive benefit from this utilisation. Recently,
a number of SME e-commerce models have emerged, although few of these have
been grounded in the direct experience of SMEs utilisation of e-commerce.
Through the conduct and analysis of thirty-four case studies this research
develops a four phase model of e-commerce utilisation and business
transformation. At the substantive level, these case studies, involve SMEs from
two Australian States and represent a range of businesses from nine industry
sectors: Agriculture, Mining, Finance, Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade, Hospitality,
Education, IT/Communications and Manufacturing.
This research adopts a subjective ontology and employed an interpretative
epistemology. The research strategy involved a qualitative research approach
using multiple case studies that involved semi-structured interviews with owner /
managers of SMEs located in Tasmania and Western Australia. Interview
transcripts were analysed using a combination of qualitative data analysis
techniques drawing on the principles of grounded theory and domain analysis.
Both these methods utilise an inductive approach to theory generation whereby
theories, concepts and models are derived directly from the data or grounded in
the data. In presenting the data analysis of the case studies, three representative
case studies are used to display in detail the depth of analysis conducted across all
This thesis makes a number of contributions to information systems research into
SMEs and e-commerce. At the substantive level by providing thirty-four SME
qualitative case studies this research provides detailed descriptions of the
utilisation of e-commerce amongst SMEs; identifies key factors that influence the
ability of SMEs to derive benefit from e-commerce and increases the
understanding of the direct experience of Australian SMEs utilising e-commerce.
At the methodological level by combining two 'grounded' data analysis methods
this research has been able to provide rich insight into the nature, significance and
interrelationships amongst the data. Significantly by detailing an approach to
combining grounded theory and domain analysis this thesis has contributed to the
development of qualitative interpretative IS research methods for multiple case
studies. At a theoretical level by generating a four phase model of e-commerce
utilisation and business transformation this thesis has generated a conceptual
framework extending information systems (IS) insights into e-commerce
utilisation amongst Australian SMEs. It is anticipated that this framework will
lead to further advances in Information Systems research in SMEs and technology

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Chau, Stephen B
Keywords: Electronic commerce
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2002 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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