Title: Exploring small firm IS adoption behaviour: from buddy to technology?

Authors: Maria Woerndl; Philip Powell

Addresses: School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX, UK ' School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX, UK

Abstract: Despite resource and skill constraints, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) do adopt new technologies successfully. Yet, a knowledge gap exists as to how SMEs achieve this. This paper examines how 16 European SMEs came to adopt new information technologies. Rooted in the Social Network Analysis (SNA) domain, the data used in this research originates from 20 different Information Systems (IS) projects. Using the networking aspect of 'how' small firms adopt new IS, the focus here is on the type of tie, intensity of the connection (professional vs. personal) and direction of networking activities (push, pull and discovery). The evidence suggests that the networking activities of small firm owners and managers critically affect the adoption of new IS and that these activities occur mainly between managers and their professional peers, supporting the notion of the strength of weak ties in a new technology context.

Keywords: social network analysis; SNA; social networks; social relationships; network theory; technology adoption; adoption behaviour; information systems; resource constraints; skill constraints; micro-enterprises; micro-businesses; micro-firms; micro-companies; new technologies; knowledge gaps; professional connections; personal connections; connection intensity; networking activities; business owners; managers; professional peers; tie strength; weak ties; push networking; pull networking; discovery networking; Germany; UK; United Kingdom; theatres; entertainment sector; retail trade; retailing; wholesalers; manufacturing industry; business services; consumer services; management practice; ICT adoption; information technology; communications technology; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMP.2013.052316

International Journal of Management Practice, 2013 Vol.6 No.1, pp.40 - 57

Available online: 26 Feb 2013 *

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