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Assessment of e‐business adoption in SMEs: A study of manufacturing industry in the UK North East region

Ramesh Marasini (Southampton Solent University, Southampton, UK)
Kevin Ions (B2B Manufacturing Centre, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK)
Munir Ahmad (B2B Manufacturing Centre, SST, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




Internet technologies are increasingly being adopted by UK businesses to facilitate collaboration, trade, learn, manage company business processes and deliver services. Most manufacturing small to medium enterprises (SMEs), who are low investors in the technology, have not benefited from its application. The purpose of this paper is to identify ways of removing the barriers for SMEs and the change approaches used by SMEs to implement internet and information technologies.


An analysis of 32 companies assisted in the internet technology adoption initiative under government funding was carried out. Tailored ICT solutions were recommended and implemented. Information was collected before the start assistance and at the completion of 10 or 25 days of assistance to the companies. Each company case was analysed to generalise the findings. Two change models: classic three step change model and improvisational model were used to analyse the approaches taken by the SMEs in the adoption of ICTs.


The study suggests that SMEs tend to favour the improvisational model of technology adoption over the classic change model. The reasons might be the alignment of technology, the organisational context and the change model used.

Practical implications

This study highlights that incremental change model is favoured by SMEs in adopt in ICT technology as a change process.


Any initiative aimed at improving performance of SMEs in ICT adoption will benefit from the lessons learned from this study. Also, SMEs adopting change processes will also find the study valuable.



Marasini, R., Ions, K. and Ahmad, M. (2008), "Assessment of e‐business adoption in SMEs: A study of manufacturing industry in the UK North East region", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 627-644.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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