E‐business in professional SMEs: the case of New Zealand

Elaine Ramsey (School of Business, Retail and Financial Services, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK)
Patrick McCole (Department of Marketing, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The aim of this study is to understand why some New Zealand firms in the professional services industries have been slow to embrace e‐business technologies.


The authors employ a postal survey approach and involve a sample of 500 professional service small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand.


The main conclusion derived from this study is that a combination of factors influences a firm's current and future level of e‐business adoption. These factors include: being able to understand potential e‐business benefits; being able to respond to customer and competitor practices; being prepared to develop staff skills and knowledge of internet‐based technologies (IBTs); and having a well justified and strategic orientation towards e‐business.

Research limitations/implications

The research was restricted in scope to professional service sector SMEs in New Zealand. Further research is planned to provide valuable benchmarks of other country and sectoral adoption and diffusion behaviours.

Practical implications

Adopting firms must continue to extend their e‐business capabilities and levels of sophistication. The biggest challenge that lies ahead is how to change the mindset of non‐adopters and make them realise the benefits that e‐business can deliver. In the final analysis choices about new technology and the exploitation of e‐business opportunities must be owner‐manager led.


The contribution of this research is that the relationship between technology adoption and professional service‐sector firms in New Zealand has become better understood. Implicitly the study has revealed the factors that impact on the decision‐making processes of owner‐managers in relation to the adoption (or otherwise) of IBTs for business purposes.



Ramsey, E. and McCole, P. (2005), "E‐business in professional SMEs: the case of New Zealand", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 528-544. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000510628207

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