An analysis of the barriers to UK small business web infrastructure development
This thesis analyses the Web infrastructure development process experienced by UK Small Businesses and considers the nature and impact of the barriers and problems that affect it. In doing so the thesis combines three previously disparate streams of research; research that considers the infrastructure development process, research that considers the benefits that become available via the use of an infrastructure and research that considers the barriers to benefit realisation. Analysis reveals that while the organisational advantages and benefits are well documented, Small Businesses routinely encounter problems to their realisation. Likewise, current developmental methodologies appear ill suited for use by Small Business. This thesis addresses those gaps within current knowledge and understanding. The study utilises a multiple case study research strategy. The research design utilises multiple data collection methods to triangulate the study data thereby corroborating the accuracy, veracity and parsimony of the study findings. The study findings reveal that the development process encompasses three stages, initial development, corrective development and long-term development. The findings also reveal that as the sophistication of an infrastructure is enhanced, increasingly sophisticated benefits become available. At the same time however, barriers to development will be encountered. Each can curtail benefit realisation or can block ongoing development entirely. Within the development process, the business's owner/manager is the driving force behind development and is motivated to undertake development because of the benefits that will bring to their organisation. The thesis makes a demonstrable contribution to knowledge because its combined analysis of three previously disparate streams of research is novel as is its depiction of a three stage Web infrastructure development process. Future work can build upon this study's findings by testing the theories developed within this thesis so that they can be generalised more widely.