Title: Is technology neutral for MSEs? Interdependencies, information transparency and power imbalances in e-commerce ecosystems

Authors: Maria Carmela Annosi; Lucia Marchegiani; Mats Magnusson; Miltiadis Roidis

Addresses: School of Social Science, Business Management and Organization Group, Wageningen University and Research, Hollandseweg, 1, 6707 KN, Wageningen, The Netherlands ' Department of Business Studies, Roma Tre University, Via Silvio D'Amico, 77 00145 Roma, Italy ' Department of Machine Design, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Brinellv. 83, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden ' Technology Entrepreneur, Tuinlaan 5C, 6703 HE, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Abstract: Despite the evident upsurge of e-commerce (EC) over the past decades, the peak of online demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the huge involvement of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the online businesses to survive, the extant literature has neglected to analyse how MSEs orchestrate their resources between internal and external investments. Past studies, also in the case of SMEs, have tended to adopt a more firm-centric perspective focusing on the organisational conditions that determine firms' performance after the usage of EC, failing to explore the inter-organisational relations between MSEs and other actors in their ecosystem. Indeed, as MSEs may suffer from liability of smallness and lack of resources, they may rely more than other actors on the nexus of relations that emerge within the digital ecosystem generated through the usage of EC platforms. By relying on 37 interviews with owners or managers of MSEs operating in the food and beverage industry, we investigate the dynamics of resource distribution between MSEs and the other actors in the EC ecosystem. We identified the changes in interdependencies, the information asymmetries, and the power imbalances related to the interplay between MSEs and other actors within the EC ecosystem.

Keywords: digitalisation; e-commerce platforms; power relations; resource dependence; information system errors; supply chain coordination; micro-small enterprises; MSEs; relevant knowledge; interdependencies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2023.128805

International Journal of Technology Management, 2023 Vol.91 No.3/4, pp.190 - 218

Received: 01 Jul 2022
Accepted: 11 Jul 2022

Published online: 06 Feb 2023 *

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