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Title: An evaluation of open source software adoption by UK SMEs in the IT industry
Author: Mijinyawa, Kabiru
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 7491
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2008
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This study evaluates the adoption of Open Source Software (OSS) by IT Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. The growing popularity and acceptance of OSS continues to draw much attention in research and practice. However, researchers and IT practitioners within the UK SME sector still face challenges in understanding the issues that influence the acceptance, adoption, and diffusion of OSS. While previous research studies have focused mainly on the software development model and the unique characteristics of OSS, the area of OSS adoption by UK SMEs has largely been ignored. Furthermore, there is a lack of widely-acceptable theories that explain the adoption of OSS, implying that there is limited understanding of OSS adoption by UK SMEs. This gap in research has led this thesis to evaluate existing adoption theories and then apply the 'Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour' to model the adoption of OSS by SMEs. Based on the emerged conceptual model, an innovative and structured qualitative research design that uses a case study strategy was developed to evaluate the adoption of OSS across 10 UK SMEs in the IT industry. The analysis of the standardised data from the case study interviews led to the definition of the 16 factors of an emergent theory of OSS adoption by IT SMEs. The analysis of that empirical model has led to important conclusions including the following five issues, summarily. (1) The participant IT SMEs were drawn to different benefits, and experienced different challenges, in using OSS, suggesting that there is subjectivity and complexity in the factors influencing OSS adoption. (2) As in most Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adoption, ITcapability was identified to be essential for successful adoption of OSS, and therefore, it presents potential for important cooperative and collaborative support with OSS communities. (3) The emergent theory from this research study provide researchers and practitioners with variables for surveying critical-success-factors and a reference model for understanding the adoption of OSS. (4) The emergent theory and other general findings from this study are likely to have relevance in other areas of Information Systems research and practice, owing to the factors and theoretical framework that are common to OSS and general ICT acceptance, adoption, and diffusion. (5) This study appears to be the first that has focused on developing a widely-acceptable theory of OSS adoption by IT SMEs in the UK, suggesting that this innovative research study is a novel contribution that has important implications for theory and practice in OSS and general ICT acceptance, adoption, and diffusion.
Supervisor: Macredie, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Information and communication technology adoption ; Open source software adoption ; Case study evaluation ; Interpretivist ; Qualitative research ; Theory-building ; Decomposed theory of planned behaviour ; Acceptance and diffusion of OSS ; Case evaluatio