The diffusion process of e‐learning has been, in recent years, at the centre of several studies. These researches focused mainly on the USA case, where there has been an exponential adoption both in the public and private sectors. From this perspective the paper would give a contribution to understand the diffusion process of e‐learning in a specific country and it deals with the following questions: are there relevant consistencies in the rate and the model of adoption of e‐learning solutions in Italian companies? What are the causes of this process? Building on bandwagon theories and institutional literature, the paper analyses the antecedents of the adoption process in Italy, asking whether it is determined by the rational search for economic benefits, or is it driven by the fear of lost legitimacy or strategic advantage under institutional or competitive bandwagon pressures. The paper also looks into the solutions adopted by the Italian firms, studying their e‐learning strategies. To answer the research questions and to test the related propositions, an empirical study has been developed based on a survey, on interviews and document analysis. Since the e‐learning diffusion process in Italy is at an early stage, the research has been undertaken in two sectors, pharmaceutical and banking, where e‐learning has been adopted to a greater extent than in other sectors.
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