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Mpofu, Knowledge Chinyanyu; Milne, Don; Watkins-Mathys, Lorraine (2013)
Languages: English
Types: Other
Objectives: This paper examines ICT adoption among small hotel establishments in South Africa. The paper identifies the key ICT adoption attributes and explains how these influence ICT adoption and development of e-business among these typical SMEs in South Africa. Prior Work: The paper draws and builds on several studies on ICT adoption in small firms (Gibbs et al., 2007; Beckinsale and Ram, 2006; Zappala and Gray, 2006; Manueli et al., 2007). Notably, the paper mainly draws from the Gibbs et al. (2007) model which identifies and integrates the key ICT adoption factors that include government; environmental attributes; owner (managerial) attributes; organisational attributes; adoption attributes and social networks. Approach: This qualitative research takes a multiple case study approach highlighting the experiences of small hotel establishments in South Africa. Semi-structured interviews, observation and document analyses are used to collect data from a total of 3 case studies theoretically sampled from two locations in Johannesburg. The underlying technique in the analytical and interpretative process within the multiple case study methodology is that of epistemological bootstrapping (Archer, 1988). Results: The findings suggest internet; websites; fixed-line and mobile phone networks as the most common technologies adopted by SMEs to support their e-business operations. The results also suggest both formal and informal networks as important for ICT adoption. These are key sources of information, technology, social and business support. In addition, financial and owner manager support, including personal skills and experience are also crucial in the adoption of ICT. Power outage is identified as a major barrier across the three case studies. Government intervention is largely indirect and crucial in areas such as setting up of national ICT policy; infrastructure; dissemination of information; facilitating public-private partnerships; capacity building and power supply. Implications: The paper highlights ICT adoption and the distinctive and behavioural characteristics of SMEs operating small hotel business in South Africa. Potentially, other sectors and, SMEs in general may benefit from these insights which may also be useful to policy-makers in terms of effective policy reviews, implementation and support strategies for SMEs. Value: Although this paper only presents the findings based on SMEs in South Africa, the original doctoral project also included case studies from Botswana and Zimbabwe. The findings contribute to literature on ICT adoption among SMEs in general, but more specifically bring new insights to this area of study in developing nations within SADC. In addition, the research framework was applied within different geographical, economic, political and social contexts of the SADC countries and provided insights which suggested it was a useful framework for undertaking this research in southern Africa. Future research involving more SADC countries and other SME sectors would bring more detailed insights into ICT adoption at regional level.

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