One-Size E-Business Adoption Model Does Not Fit All

Article excerpt

Abstract

This empirical study of organisational e-business adoption, utilising both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, examines four major factors influencing adoption in multiple e-business process domains. Support is found for the proposition that factors influencing e-business adoption behaviour have different levels of impact across different e-business process domains. Different combinations of factors influence different ebusiness processes and for the most part this occurs independently of organisation size/resource capacity. For example, governments and powerful supply chain organisations have strong influence over some organisational e-business strategy. In particular, e-government influence is strong with regard to use of e-mail and external web sites due to government's legislative and regulatory compliance power. However, government influence is weak with regard to operation of an organisation's own web sites. A conceptual model of antecedents and performance outcomes of e-business adoption is modified to take account of findings from this study.

Key words: e-business, adoption factors, e-government, supply chain, customer power, mixedmethod study

1 Introduction

1.1 Background for the research context

The major purpose of this paper is to report on quantitative research into selected factors which influence e-business adoption, and investigate the proposition that factors influencing e-business adoption behaviour have different levels of impact across different e-business process domains. Findings from this research have significance in the development of explanatory e-business models and frameworks. The empirical study was conducted within the Australian wine industry in 2003. The level of influence of four factors over different e-business types is compared. The four factors were identified and selected after a review of literature investigating organisational e-business adoption and diffusion and after a qualitative pilot study [1] involving interviews with winery staff which, among other things, helped to identify two major factors from external environment sources.

In practice e-business is made up of multiple software processes that are designed for different reasons and deliver different degrees of benefit. E-business has multiple forms, can occur at different levels ranging from shallow to deep [2], [3], is used for multiple purposes, and supports a wide range of processes related to internal business processes as well as for B2B, B2C and B2G reasons [4]. For the purpose of this research e-business is divided into separate process domains based upon a combination of technology type, ownership and users. This provides an easily identifiable technology framework for grouping business activities in terms of their purpose. Specifically the major process domains identified for this research into e-business use by wineries are: use of e-mail, use of web sites operated by groups external to the wineries (external web sites), and three possible types of web sites operated by each winery - 1) their own web site designed for access by the general public (public web sites); 2) their own web site designed for access by relevant business groups (extranets); and 3) their own web site designed for access by the winery's own staff (intranets).

1.2 Background literature review

Diffusion of Innovation theory [5] identifies a large range of factors influencing adoption of innovations from two major sources: 1) characteristics of the innovation itself; and 2) characteristics of the adopting organisation. The major limitation of DOI theory with respect to e-business adoption is the lack of acknowledgement that the external environment is a rich source of factors influencing adoption and diffusion patterns. Culture, government and legal regulations, and government policy initiatives all appear to have strong explanatory power in improving understanding of e-business adoption and diffusion behaviours [6-9]. …