Small Business E-Commerce Adoption througha Qualitative Lens: Theory and Observations


  • Evan H. Offstein Frostburg State University
  • J. Stephen Childers, Jr. Radford University


Using approaches consistent with the qualitative research tradition, the authors attempt to understand the motivation behind small business adoption and exploitation of e-commerce. A theoretically grounded model of e-commerce deployment by small businesses owners is presented, which can best be explained by two theoretical lines: an economic evolutionary perspective and a sociological institutional perspective. Further, our findings suggest a tie between owner characteristics, dispositions, traits, and the level of e-commerce integration achieved. We contend that understanding the drivers of e-commerce adoption, policy makers and other help agencies can tailor programs to assist firms with integrating and exploiting e-commerce in a cost effective manner.


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