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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Elaine Ramsey, Patrick Ibbotson, Jim Bell and Brendan Gray

Given the growth of services and their importance in the economy, e‐business and the Internet have the potential to increase the competitiveness and growth of small firms…

1733

Abstract

Given the growth of services and their importance in the economy, e‐business and the Internet have the potential to increase the competitiveness and growth of small firms. However, the general pattern is that the smaller the enterprise, the less likely they are to be prepared to adapt their business processes to accommodate this “new” technology. To illustrate the inherent issues this qualitative research utilised various projective techniques: construction, completion, and associative “tests” that have challenged the pseudo‐scientific age of business as a great human “subjective” exercise. A methodology that in the less traditional academic sense is “unusual, intriguing, fun and engaging” is innovatively employed in this small tradable service firm study to facilitate self‐expression among the respondents about particular e‐business scenarios in a less structured, indirect and more imaginative way. Consequently, the depth of the analysis and interpretation generated from the study has provided the researcher with a rich source of new leads and ideas about potential e‐business inhibitors and facilitators among SMEs not previously considered.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Patrick Ibbotson and Lucia Moran

The overall aim of the study was to gauge the perceptions of both small businesses and banks, as to the role of banks in the growth, development and success of small…

1496

Abstract

Purpose

The overall aim of the study was to gauge the perceptions of both small businesses and banks, as to the role of banks in the growth, development and success of small entrepreneurial Northern Irish businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors employed a mixed methodological approach, involving a series of focus groups and semi‐structured interviews with SMEs and staff from three leading high street banks. A follow up survey was conducted using a sample of 250 SMEs.

Findings

Evidence suggests that banks in Northern Ireland have been, and continue to be very supportive to their small business client base and have played a major role in the growth and development of many of these small entrepreneurial firms. Many SMEs felt that their local branch manager was both understanding and sympathetic to their business needs.

Research limitations/implications

The study examined the views of a relatively small sample of SMEs and bank staff. A further investigation is planned where a much larger sample will be used.

Practical implications

The findings highlight the important role played by local branch managers in the support and development of SMEs. This is particularly important given the recent adverse publicity received by banks for “over‐charging” customers and the underlying threat faced by local bank branches.

Originality/value

The paper presents a different perspective on the relationship between banks and their small business clients, indicating that it is often positive, supportive and mutually beneficial.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 July 2012

Paul Harrigan, Elaine Ramsey and Patrick Ibbotson

Entrepreneurial marketing in small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) is very different to marketing prescribed theoretically for large organisations. The purpose of this…

2771

Abstract

Purpose

Entrepreneurial marketing in small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) is very different to marketing prescribed theoretically for large organisations. The purpose of this paper is to present research evidence on the impact of internet‐based technologies (IBTs) on the customer relationship management (CRM) activities (i.e. e‐CRM) of SMEs in Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methods approach incorporating an online questionnaire, qualitative in‐depth interviews and projective techniques was adopted. Factor analysis was carried out on 286 respondents, which led to communication with customers and the management of customer information being distilled as key areas within e‐CRM in SMEs.

Findings

To varying extents, SMEs are adopting relatively simple IBTs to improve customer communication and information management capabilities and to create competitive advantage through e‐CRM. SMEs find the communication aspect of e‐CRM easier, but struggle to integrate customer information into their decision making. In all, e‐CRM tends to be ad hoc rather than strategic in SMEs.

Practical implications

SMEs must use technologies to compete with larger organisations in today's global marketplace. These technologies may be relatively simple, but the focus must always be on how they can impact on the relationship with the customer making it more efficient without losing effectiveness.

Originality/value

This study, by reporting how SMEs innovate in marketing, sheds light on an important theoretical and practical area. Theoretically, the paper breaks down e‐CRM into key capabilities that may apply to larger organisations as well.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 April 2008

Paul O. Harrigan, Mary M. Boyd, Elaine Ramsey, Patrick Ibbotson and Muriel Bright

The purpose of this paper is to show that e‐procurement provides manufacturing firms with new and efficient solutions to drive significant value into their business, yet…

4717

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show that e‐procurement provides manufacturing firms with new and efficient solutions to drive significant value into their business, yet generally the use of internet technologies to accommodate e‐procurement systems remains in a formative stage. Previous research tends to focus on larger economies, so this paper provides a new perspective by presenting evidence from the Irish ICT manufacturing industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The research locale is justified on the basis that the ICT manufacturing sector has a greater propensity to adopt technologies such as e‐procurement. In addition, by conducting the research in a small peripheral economy, a gap in the knowledge base is being addressed. The exploratory research adopted a quantitative methodology with a questionnaire instrument being employed to investigate various e‐procurement activities within a sample of top performing ICT manufacturing firms.

Findings

Findings show that e‐procurement is developing as a function. Significant benefits are reported, including streamlined business processes and reduced business costs. Difficulties associated with implementation are minimal, but focus on integration issues.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of small sample size negate the ability to generalise. Thus a larger scale comparative study has been initiated to investigate e‐procurement more extensively in the ICT and other industry settings in Ireland.

Practical implications

It is concluded that to further the integration of e‐procurement, organisations should develop a dual focus on technical and people issues to instil a culture of staff development and continuous improvement.

Originality/value

This paper addresses a gap in knowledge by investigating e‐procurement in the top performing firms in Ireland's ICT manufacturing sector. A picture is provided of e‐procurement development in a peripheral economy and the foundation has been laid for more extensive research in the future.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 46 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 August 2009

Paul Harrigan, Elaine Ramsey and Patrick Ibbotson

Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small‐ and medium‐sized enterprise (SME). The purpose of this paper is to develop what is a striking link…

4540

Abstract

Purpose

Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small‐ and medium‐sized enterprise (SME). The purpose of this paper is to develop what is a striking link by presenting empirical evidence on the role of internet technologies in the customer relationship management activities of Irish SMEs. More specifically, this is a comparative study investigating electronic‐customer relationship management (e‐CRM) in international and domestic firms. The nature and role of e‐CRM is assessed, the strategies behind e‐CRM delineated, and the ensuing benefits and challenges revealed.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper has an exploratory outlook and a quantitative approach to data collection is adopted to facilitate broad classification in an under researched area. A self‐completion questionnaire is distributed to a sample of 1,445 SMEs. A response rate of 20 per cent is obtained, providing 286 usable responses. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed using SPSS.

Findings

The findings of this paper confirm that SMEs are implementing fundamental e‐CRM practices. Those firms serving international markets tend to place greater emphasis on e‐CRM and are reaping greater benefits. Benefits range from enhanced customer service, reduced business cost, increased sales, and improved profitability. Challenges are few, but centre on a preference for face‐to‐face relationships and a lack of government support.

Practical implications

It is hoped that this exploratory research has laid the foundation for further examination of e‐CRM in the SME context. Future research will add explanation through in‐depth qualitative methods, while the potential exists to replicate the study in other countries. The authors conclude that e‐CRM can and must move on to a more strategic and integrated level if SMEs in Ireland are to compete both locally and globally.

Originality/value

This paper has shed light on the marginalised subject of e‐CRM in SMEs. For SMEs operating in a peripheral economy such as Ireland, the benefits to be gained from e‐CRM are lucrative. SMEs viewing their market beyond national borders are using e‐CRM to achieve a range of business benefits. The quantitative methodology adopted has provided an exploratory, yet solid, insight into an important area for academics and practitioners.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 June 2008

Paul Harrigan, Elaine Ramsey and Patrick Ibbotson

Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small‐ and medium‐sized enterprise (SME). The purpose of this paper is to develop what is a striking link…

4821

Abstract

Purpose

Relationship marketing principles have seldom been applied to the small‐ and medium‐sized enterprise (SME). The purpose of this paper is to develop what is a striking link by investigating the role of internet technologies in the customer relationship management of SMEs based in Northern Ireland (NI).

Design/methodology/approach

This study took an exploratory outlook and a quantitative approach to data collection was adopted. A self‐completion questionnaire was distributed by post to a sample of 300 SMEs in NI. A response rate of 18.6 per cent was obtained.

Findings

The findings of this study illustrate that SMEs are implementing fundamental electronic customer relationship management (e‐CRM) practices and reaping the benefits from internationalisation. Challenges are few, but centre on a preference for face‐to‐face relationships and a lack of government support.

Research limitations/implications

It is hoped that this exploratory research has laid the foundation for further examination of e‐CRM in the SME context. Future studies should be able to replicate the process in other countries and on a larger scale. The potential also exists for in‐depth qualitative research.

Practical implications

The paper concludes that e‐CRM may have to move on to a more strategic and integrated level if SMEs in NI are to compete, both locally and globally.

Originality/value

This exploratory research has shed some light on the marginalised subject of e‐CRM in SMEs. For SMEs operating in a peripheral economy such as NI the benefits to be gained from e‐CRM are lucrative.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Patrick Ibbotson and Lucia Moran

Internal and external forces continue to impact on the financial service sector, making it ever more difficult for traditional banks both to retain their existing small to…

5543

Abstract

Internal and external forces continue to impact on the financial service sector, making it ever more difficult for traditional banks both to retain their existing small to medium‐sized enterprises (SME) client base, and to acquire new business clients. The traditionally poor relationship between banks and their small corporate clients has been well documented throughout the years; however, the increased use of electronic banking channels by SME banking customers threatens to change the very nature of that relationship. This paper examines the current nature of the relationship between SMEs and their banks in Northern Ireland and investigates the level of usage of and satisfaction with electronic banking channels in this region. Empirical findings from a research study that included one focus group with members of the Federation of Small Business (FSB) (Northern Ireland members only), interviews with local managers from three traditional banking providers, and a survey of 250 SMEs (Northern Ireland members of FSB) are presented.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Emma McClelland, Janine Swail, Jim Bell and Patrick Ibbotson

There has been increased policy and research interest in the growing number of female entrepreneurs and their potential contribution to both the local and global economy…

9219

Abstract

Purpose

There has been increased policy and research interest in the growing number of female entrepreneurs and their potential contribution to both the local and global economy. Nevertheless, the extant literature on female entrepreneurship is often limited to the start‐up phase of business. An important gap in the literature is an enquiry into the development of these female‐owned organisations from inception to maturity, and their growth in domestic and/or international markets. This paper therefore aims to address key themes such as motivation to start‐up, growing the business, gender issues and the challenges faced by these women.

Design/methodology/approach

An innovative, internet‐based methodology was employed to collect the data in the chosen locations. Using internet resources such as online media, company web sites and other pertinent sites, a significant volume of information was gathered. Any information gaps or issues requiring further clarification were then addressed via e‐mail exchanges with the individual entrepreneur.

Findings

Initial findings demonstrate threads of commonality between female entrepreneurs in different countries. It also highlights differences in the experiences of these women, not only across countries but also within certain countries. A comprehensive discussion of these findings is contained in the paper.

Research limitations/implications

This research has highlighted a number of issues which merit further investigation; however, the issue of social responsibility within this sample of female entrepreneurs would indicate that women have much more socially‐oriented motives for starting and developing a business. The authors would like to investigate this further using qualitative investigation of a larger sample within one country before drawing any definitive conclusions.

Originality/value

Given a limited understanding of such issues mentioned above, this contribution seeks to provide an insight into the heterogeneous experiences of female entrepreneurs using cross‐national data rather than a one‐country study.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 June 2008

Ross Brennan

402

Abstract

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Content available
Article
Publication date: 7 August 2009

Harry Matlay

383

Abstract

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

1 – 10 of 27