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Title: Tracing the emergence and formation of small dot-coms in an emerging digital economy : an actor-network theory approach
Author: Effah, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 8139
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2011
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The purpose of this study is to trace the emergence and formation of small dot-corns to understand how they come into being and are made to work or not. The SME e-business literature emphasises post-organisation and post-technology formation phases, paying less attention to the early phases of innovation development such as opportunity emergence and formation. The e-entrepreneurship literature, on its part, investigates such early phases to some extent but emphasises the personality of entrepreneurs and organisation development, paying less attention to technology and its development. Moreover, commonly used theories in both research lines are largely based on deterministic, reductionist and dualist approaches. As a result, the complex sociotechnical nature of SME e-business and e-entrepreneurship phenomena is less accounted for. In response, this study extends the existing knowledge in SME e-business and eentrepreneurship research by drawing on IS interpretive case study approach and actornetwork theory (ANT) combined with contextualism to trace the emergence and formation of four small dot-corns in the emerging digital economy of Ghana, a developing country context. The findings show that the early phases of dot-corn innovation, from emergence to formation, are non-deterministic, non-linear, complex, and heterogeneously interwoven. Moreover, such processes are created through the collective efforts of human and non-human actors across physical and virtual environments as well as developed and developing countries. By employing ANT combined with contextualism, the study offers a novel theorisation of dot-corn innovation processes. For this reason, it is argued that ANT can be extended with contextualism to offer explanations for unmet expectations of actors and actants beyond an actor-world. The study also advises entrepreneurs to pay attention not only to the virtual world but also to the physical world which together support dot-corn emergence, formation, and operation. Finally, in addition to other recommendations, the study calls for further research into the early phases of other forms of e-business such as click-and-mortars and virtual organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available