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Determinants of dynamic process of emerging ICT adoption in SMEs – actor network theory perspective

Sunday C. Eze (Department of Business Administration, Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria)
Vera C. Chinedu-Eze (Department of Agribusiness and Management, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria)
Adenike O. Bello (Department of Business Administration, Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 16 July 2018

Issue publication date: 8 March 2019

1010

Abstract

Purpose

While traditional theories of information and communication technology (ICT) adoption have been deployed to study ICT adoption in the past, these theories considers ICT adoption as static and rely on conceptualising factors as variables and predicting their levels of outcome at a single decision stage. Although much has been credited to these theories, they have continuously ignored the fact that as decisions to adopt are made and challenged along the adoption process, such decision can be influenced by the same, different or combination of factors at different stages of the adoption process. This paper aims to examine ICT adoption from a dynamic process perspective and to explore the key determinants and how these differ from one stage of the adoption process to another.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative method was adopted in this study. Both unstructured and semi-structured interviews were conducted in two separate stages using purposeful random sampling. Hybrid approach of thematic analysis was adopted in analysing the data.

Findings

This study develops a framework informed by actor network theory (ANT) concepts and finds that using ANT to examine the process of adoption helps to unveil the recursive nature of the process. The study reveals that the 14 determinants identified in this study influenced adoption at different stages. Factors such as ease of use, managerial time, customer focus and adoption influenced adoption at all the stages. This reveals that factors influencing ICT adoption are not static at one particular stage rather it may influence ICT adoption at different stages.

Research limitations/implications

Qualitative research is often subjective and interpretive in nature, and one of the limitations is the sample used in this research. Considering the small number of interviews carried out in this study, the generalisation of finding and the framework remains to be established across a wider population. Therefore, the factors presented could be limited considering that a number of practitioners that are involved in establishing emerging ICT are numerous. Therefore, other factors are prevailing to other industries or sectors that may provide scholars another way of examining these factors. Also, the framework demonstrates that it is a valuable analytical tool for researchers to examine how and why different actors including small and medium enterprise (SME) managers act around emerging ICT.

Originality/value

This study develops a framework that revealed the interactive and recursive nature of ICT adoption and the determinants influencing the process of ICT adoption at different stages thereby advancing ICT adoption research. The study challenges researchers to always consider ICT adoption as dynamic and unpredictable instead of one-off action as factors influencing its adoption are not static rather; they vary from one stage to another.

Keywords

Citation

Eze, S.C., Chinedu-Eze, V.C. and Bello, A.O. (2019), "Determinants of dynamic process of emerging ICT adoption in SMEs – actor network theory perspective", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 2-34. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTPM-02-2018-0019

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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