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Title: Understanding dynamic process of emerging ICT adoption in UK service SMEs : an actor-network approach
Author: Eze, Sunday Chinedu
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 9148
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2013
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Although literature reveals that significant efforts have been made to study ICT adoption and diffusion, the diversity of research in terms of theory and methodology is very low. Most studies have relied on traditional adoption theories (e.g., TAM and DOI) and these theories are not capable of providing rich explanantion on how the adoption and post-adoption develop over time. It is argued here that ICT adoption involves multi-dimensional and complex issues. These issues range from how various roles played by actors in emerging ICT are accounted for to ensuring successful adoption. Therefore, this research aims to advance our understanding of emerging ICT adoptions in SMEs from a dynamic process perspective. The specific objectives of this research are to: establish the stages of the dynamic process, identify the key actors and their roles, explore the critical factors affecting the emerging ICT adoption process, identify the challenges and provide recommendations and implications for stakeholders in promoting future adoption and diffusion in UK SMEs. The research adopts a social-technical approach that challenges the ideas of the mainstream thinkers. More specifically, it adopts Actor Network Theory (ANT). The key ANT concepts that influenced the empirical investigation are inscription, translation, framing and stabilisation. The research adopted a qualitative method using face to face interviews. Two rounds of data collection were undertaken. The first round started with a theoretical review, the analysis of relevant literature, and unstructured interviews mainly with small business managers. Eleven interviews were carried out. The second round of interviews was semi-structured with key human actors identified in the first round of interviews. A total of fifteen interviews were conducted. They included the small business manager; SMEs service sector customers, government agencies, SMEs consultants, and IT vendors. The aim was to further explore the dynamic adoption process, the roles and challenges of actors and to validate the outcomes of the findings. The analysis was guided by a hybrid approach of thematic analysis using NVivo software. The study proposed and validated a conceptual framework that illustrates the dynamic process of emerging ICT adoption in SMEs from the Actor Network Theory perspective. This framework helps to understand the adoption process, actors involved, actors’ roles and interactions, and the critical factors. Using the key concepts of ANT as the basis of the investigation, the findings identify a number of key activities associated with the adoption process. These activities include: problem assessment and evaluation, concept generation and evaluation, concept specification, product outsourcing /role delegation, misalignment and alignment of interests, product trial, product modification, adaptation, and impact and problem redefinition. These activities reveal that adoption of emerging ICT in a small business context is not constant, straightforward and certain; instead it is unpredictable, dynamic, and an on-going and reiterative process. ANT concepts were further used to analyse and categorise 20 roles that different actors play, 15 critical factors influencing emerging ICT adoption in SMEs, and the challenges facing actors. While all of these roles, factors, and challenges are critical, in this study, the findings reveal that monitoring and legislation are the most recurring roles at each stage. Furthermore, ease of use, managerial time, shared support, customer focus and adoption costs are the factors affecting the success of multiple stages (three stages). Finally, the thesis presents the contributions and implications for both research and practice in future adoption and diffusion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G440 Human-computer Interaction ; ICT adoption ; computers in business ; ICT ; small to medium-sized enterprises ; SMEs ; small business