Date of Award

2-2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Jeanette Francis

Second Advisor

John Cipolla

Third Advisor

Rhonda Polak

Abstract

In the Internet age, the development of electronic commerce (EC) was considered a major indicator of the overall competitiveness of organizations. Moreover, the EC marketing channel can bring customers more benefits, such as greater shopping convenience and potentially lower prices. In Taiwan, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) represent 98% of the total number of business. Today, most SMEs were forced to adopt EC by their major suppliers and value chain partners in order to carry out business processes more efficiently. Hence, the purpose of this study is to seek the determinants of the extent of EC adoption by SMEs in Taiwan.

This study presents a framework based on Tornatzky and Fleischer's (1990) OTE model that includes organizational context, technological context, and environmental context, which have been widely used to examine the factors that influence organizational technology adoption. According to the OTE model, the research model of this study identified nine determinants, including (1) organizational size, (2) CEOs' attitudes toward EC adoption, (3) CEOs' innovativeness, (4) CEOs' technology knowledge, (5) CEOs' perceptions of EC on relative advantages, (6) CEOs' perceptions of EC on compatibility, (7) CEOs' perceptions of EC on complexity, (8) information intensity, and (9) competition intensity.

A quantitative, correlational, non-experimental and explanatory research design based on a questionnaire survey was used to collect data, test hypotheses, and answer research questions in this study. 1,500 CEOs of Taiwanese SMEs were randomly selected from the database of E-Volunteer and invited to participate via email on a hyper-link provided to the survey web site. A total of 219 usable questionnaires were obtained for data analysis.

The results of this study indicated that all three contexts were important in the decision of EC adoption by Taiwanese SMEs. The findings also supported significance of five determinants that had a positive relationship with the extent of EC adoption. These determinants were organizational size and CEOs' attitudes toward EC adoption, CEOs' perceptions of EC on relative advantage and compatibility, and information intensity. No statistically significant relationship with the extent of EC adoption was established for CEOs' technology knowledge, CEOs' perception of EC on complexity, and competition intensity. This study may not only expand the current body of EC knowledge, but also contribute to the knowledge of CEOs concerning SMEs, EC consultants, suppliers or value chain partners, and government agencies.

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