Purpose – The paper critiques a range of theories and evaluates their ability to provide a lens for explaining the idiosyncratic nature of small firms and their e-business adoption decisions. Design/methodology/approach – This literature review firstly summarises the existing research evidence that shows that small firms are idiosyncratic when it comes to e-business adoption. It then critiques theories commonly used in the literature in this field to examine the extent to which they take this small firm idiosyncrasy into account when explaining e-business adoption decisions. Findings – The critical analysis shows that no commonly-used theory adequately explains small firm adoption of e-business because each omits important aspects of small firm idiosyncrasy. The analysis suggests that an integrated theoretical framework is needed. Preliminary ideas on this framework are provided.
Originality/value – Existing research generally applies a small number of selected theories and formulates research models of adoption factors. However, there is no systematic analysis of theories in this field and no consensus about theoretical frameworks. This paper addresses this limitation of the literature by critically evaluating the commonly used theories in terms of their individual suitability as lenses for explaining small firm e-business adoption.
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Field of Research
150314 Small Business Management
Socio Economic Objective
970108 Expanding Knowledge in the Information and Computing Sciences
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