Surviving in the digital era – business models of digital enterprises in a developing economy

Eric Ansong (Department of Operations and MIS, University of Ghana Business School, Accra, Ghana)
Richard Boateng (Department of Operations and MIS, University of Ghana Business School, Accra, Ghana)

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance

ISSN: 2398-5038

Publication date: 8 March 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the business models and strategies of digital enterprises in a developing economy context to understand the nature of their operations, as well as their survival tactics.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of literature on digital enterprise models led to the adaptation of a 16 business model archetype for analyzing digital enterprises in Ghana. Using a critical realism perspective, survey data from a sample of 91 digital enterprises were used for the study.

Findings

The findings suggest that among human, physical and intangible assets, financial assets were the least used assets in the operations of the digital enterprises. This stems from the fact that the online financial business sector is still in its nascent stages in most developing economies. The findings further suggest that all digital enterprises leverage on accessible and low-cost social networking services as part of their operations and use them as an avenue to engage with their target customers.

Research limitations/implications

The findings from this study provide guidelines to entrepreneurs who wish to venture into the digital ecosystem of Ghana, particularly with regard to the economic, financial and technological factors that enable digital enterprises to survive in the competitive digital economy.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that it is important for governments to realize that there is an increasing rise in digital enterprises in the developing economies and these enterprises are creating jobs and providing business solutions locally that would hitherto be sought from developed economies. There is therefore the need for the requisite legal infrastructure and financial support that will cushion these enterprises from the fierce competitions that stagnate their growth.

Originality/value

The study provides a mapping of the digital business models of Ghanaian digital enterprises. This knowledge is arguably the first of its kind in the context of a developing economy. Hence, it serves as a stepping-stone for future studies to explore other areas in the digital economy, especially from a developing economy perspective.

Keywords

Citation

Ansong, E. and Boateng, R. (2019), "Surviving in the digital era – business models of digital enterprises in a developing economy", Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 164-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPRG-08-2018-0046

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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