Addressing challenges and catalysts for the adoption of e-commerce in SMEs



How to Cite

Mammadov, H., Del Baldo, M., & Romero , I. R. (2023). Addressing challenges and catalysts for the adoption of e-commerce in SMEs. Piccola Impresa Small Business, (3).
Received 2023-06-03
Accepted 2023-12-28
Published 2023-12-31


Purpose. This study analyzes the internal and external factors that determine hindrances in the adoption of e-commerce technologies within SMEs. Specifically, it elucidates the significant and potential threats that SMEs need to consider when adopting this technology.

Design/methodology/approach. The theoretical TOE model is employed, which holistically integrates three dimensions in the e-commerce adoption process within SMEs: technological, organizational, and environmental. To test the postulated hypotheses, the study employs a logistic regression specification.

Findings. The results highlight that, in terms of the technological dimension, the barrier of lacking funds/financing exerts a significant negative influence on e-commerce adoption. Similarly, investments in ICT, software, consulting, R&D, and innovation are exceptionally effective, and any constraints in these areas could have a detrimental impact on e-commerce adoption. Constraints in digital competencies, sales forecasting, and the lack of entrepreneurial motivation associated with personal and professional development negatively affect SMEs' adoption of e-commerce. In the environmental dimension, any reduction in the status of leading rivalry, cooperation with clients, and rivals constitutes a barrier to e-commerce adoption.

Practical and Social Implications. The outcomes of this study carry a wide range of managerial implications. Investing in human assets and education, particularly in their training, is an essential component of any action plan aimed at addressing the obstacles to SMEs' e-commerce adoption. The importance of financing, including access to funds and their availability in the ecosystem, is highlighted. The findings from this study further underscore the significance of interaction and collaboration with other stakeholders. SMEs should aim to support the establishment of these networks and integrate them into their existing organizations.

Originality of the study. The empirical study employs a dataset of 802 SMEs (in manufacturing, construction, water, and energy industries) obtained from a representative survey of the SME sector in Spain.


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