Is technology neutral for MSEs? Interdependencies, information transparency and power imbalances in e-commerce ecosystems
by Maria Carmela Annosi; Lucia Marchegiani; Mats Magnusson; Miltiadis Roidis
International Journal of Technology Management (IJTM), Vol. 91, No. 3/4, 2023

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.

Online publication date: Mon, 06-Feb-2023

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