Title: One digital leap or a step-by-step approach? An empirical study of e-commerce development among Swedish SMEs

Authors: Lars Torsten Eriksson, Jens Hultman

Addresses: Department of Business Administration, University of Gavle, Kungsbacksvagen 47, SE-80176, Sweden. ' Department of Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Management (EMM), Jonkoping International Business School, Gjuterigatan 5, P.O. Box 1026, SE-551 10, Sweden

Abstract: The rapid development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has raised both practical and theoretical concerns. Managers face dilemmas such as when and how to invest in new technology and software. Academically, the debate is whether or not hardware changes have any significant impact on fundamental business behaviour. This article presents empirical evidence from the study of 13 Swedish SMEs during the period 1999-2004. Despite the fact that all the firms had decided to take one, long digital leap at the outset of the study in 1999, only one had actually done so five years later. We find that ICT-related changes have had a very slow impact on the SMEs, although they act within a well-developed ICT context. Contrary to some recent research suggestions, we find a step-wise model of development beneficial to both the study and adoption by SMEs of e-commerce.

Keywords: e-commerce; electronic commerce; SMEs; Sweden; development models; longitudinal study; e-business; electronic commerce; ICT; information technology; communications.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2005.008519

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2005 Vol.3 No.5, pp.447 - 460

Published online: 28 Dec 2005 *

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