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Small firms as social formations : relationships as the unit of analysis for eBusiness adoption research
conference contributionposted on 2007-01-01, 00:00 authored by Craig Parker, Tanya Castleman
Existing research concerning the adoption of Electronic Business (eBusiness) by small firms has primarily investigated the factors influencing their adoption decisions, with firms being the unit of analysis. In addition, the research assumes that it is primarily small firm owners, employees, trading partners, eBusiness product/service providers, government and business networks which influence adoption. This paper argues that small firms can more accurately be characterised as social formations whereby family, friends and social networks most likely play a significant, often overlooked, role. On this basis the paper argues that future research should include relationships within and external to small firms as the unit of analysis, not just the firm. The paper concludes by examining whether the theories commonly used to explore small firm eBusiness adoption are suitable for relationship-based research.