The adoption of customer relationship management (CRM) technology in SMEs: An empirical study
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Article publication date: 28 October 2013
The aim of this paper is to use an innovation decision process to examine CRM technology adoption in small to medium-sized enterprises and its intrinsic link to the nature of the organisation and the individuals within it.
A survey was administered to SMEs in Southern California to measure the organisational characteristics, specifically management characteristics, employee characteristics, IT resources and firm characteristics. The perception of CRM, decision to adopt CRM, and extent of CRM implementation were also measured. Previously validated instruments were used where required. The data were analysed using multivariate and logistic regression.
The results indicate that management's innovativeness affects the firm's perception of CRM systems, but age, education and gender do not. The decision to implement a CRM system is influenced by management's perception of CRM, employee involvement, the firm's size, its perceived market position, but not the industry sector. However, the number and types of CRM features implemented are affected by management's perception of CRM, employee involvement, the firm's size, the industry sector, but not its perceived market position.
This study is specific to Southern California and the sample size is relatively small, although sufficient for this analysis. The study should be replicated in more diverse geographic settings with a larger sample.
The study provides evidence of the need for management to be supportive of innovation and technology, to evaluate the available resources (IT knowledge, skills, infrastructure) within the organisation, to recognise the importance of employees' contributions, and to be aware of the features appropriate to their company's size and industry sector before undertaking CRM technology adoption.
The findings from this study extend the understanding of CRM adoption in SMEs and help in building a greater understanding of the factors associated with such adoption. It will be of great value to owners/managers in SMEs who are considering adopting CRM.
The authors wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance given by Dr Michael Newby of California State University Fullerton. They also wish to thank the reviewers for their insightful comments that led to a great improvement in this paper.
Nguyen, T.H. and Waring, T.S. (2013), "The adoption of customer relationship management (CRM) technology in SMEs: An empirical study", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 824-848. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-01-2012-0013
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