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Examining information and communication technology (ICT) adoption in SMEs: A dynamic capabilities approach

C. Eze Sunday (University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK)
C. Chinedu-Eze Vera (Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Umuahia, Nigeria)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 5 March 2018




Since the 1980s, a substantial number of theories have contributed extensively to information and communication technology (ICT) adoption. Much of such theories regarded ICT adoption as a one-off action as they specifically focus on factors affecting decision making at one decision point. They tend to play down on the fact that as adoption decision progresses through stages, they are supposedly influenced by the same or different factors. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the dynamic process of ICT adoption using the concepts of dynamic capabilities.


This study used qualitative approach to gain in-depth insight into the dynamic and evolutionary process of emerging information and communication technology (EICT) adoption in UK small service SMEs. Unstructured and semi-structured interviews were conducted in two separate rounds with 26 participants drawn from Crunch Online Data Base and Luton Business Directory. The participants were selected from a sample of 65 drawn from extended classification of professional service businesses proposed by Ramsey et al. (2008). They include managers, government agencies, SMEs consultants and IT vendors; and then purposeful random sampling and snowball sampling were used.


The study developed a framework from the concept of dynamic capabilities and found that using the concept of dynamic capabilities to examine the process of EICT adoption helps to unveil the recursive nature of the process and how the factors vary at both single and multiple stages of adoption.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited by its focus and other factors. Studying the opinions of small service UK SMEs limits the power of generalizing the identified causal relationships; therefore, extended measures are required on accounts of environmental, cultural, geographical and sectoral differences. While some errors seemed unavoidable when measures appear subjective and prone to common error biases, the study advised on recognizing the over-riding influence of the factor(s) at each stage of the adoption process in order to be proactive in committing resources.


This work focuses on emerging ICT adoption in SMEs from the dynamic and evolutionary process perspective using the concept of dynamic capability. It advances ICT adoption research by developing a framework to depict that ICT is not a one-off event, rather it is dynamic and interactive in nature and factors influencing adoption vary from one stage or the other.



The initial version of this paper was presented at the 2013 UK Academy of Information System Conference, Oxford, London, UK.


Sunday, C.E. and Vera, C.C.-E. (2018), "Examining information and communication technology (ICT) adoption in SMEs: A dynamic capabilities approach", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 338-356.



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