Towards a model of ICT adoption for the ICT Cluster in the West Midlands
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AbstractThis thesis is concerned with the exploration of a framework for ICT adoption by ICT microsized companies in the West Midlands. The thesis evolved out of the author's sense of dissatisfaction with several cardinal aspects of traditional approaches to facilitating adoption of the latest technologies in small companies to enhance business performance. Four main weaknesses were identified: first, there is often a lack of a theoretical foundation for the approach taken with regard to interventions. Second, there is ample evidence to suggest that the environment of small companies is complex and volatile and fundamental to the economy and yet hitherto success of the support in this area is patchy. Third, the role of those working to support small companies is largely unsupported in terms of their understanding of the problems. Fourth, small companies themselves are often uninformed of the issues and unaware that simple changes will aid their approach to ICT adoption. Inspiration from three sources helped the author to develop the work behind this thesis and attempt to remedy weaknesses: first, the work of many researchers in ICT Evaluation methods and frameworks provided insights into the value placed on ICT within organisations and the subsequent impact of the perception of value. Second, developments in the study of SMEs provided new insights into the unique environment that exists within small companies and the issues that these organisations face on a daily basis. Third, research around the new field of EDI and eBusness adoption provided the basis for the exploration of frameworks and models that were applicable to the SME environment and could be developed to work with any technology adoption. This thesis is therefore the exploration of a new model for micro-companies, supported by a thorough grounding in these three areas, which was achieved by taking an exploratory research approach. The model will indicate to a small company the weaknesses in their environment regarding ICT adoption and what they need to do to increase the success rate of any proposed ICT adoption. The framework has been developed to incorporate the issues regarding the personal factors of the owner-manager, the firm, organisational readiness, external pressures, strategy and perceived value. The author describes the methodology behind the development of the framework and makes recommendations for improved ICT adoption initiatives. Application of the general methodology through exploratory research has resulted in new opportunities to embed the ethos and culture surrounding the issues in the framework into new projects developed as a result of Government intervention. The thesis proposes three main themes: first that an understanding of the issues inherent in small companies is necessary in order to work effectively in supporting them to make ICT adoption more successful in the future. Second, that a greater knowledge of these issues and the impact that adoption of technology has in small companies can assist those involved in intervention projects. Third, that by drawing together existing models this new framework can guide these companies in their own ability to adopt successfully and raise awareness regarding the need to address these factors. Taken together, these areas represent a new approach to ICT adoption. The thesis demonstrates originality in four key areas: 1. It extends and develops an understanding of the micro-company environment and the issues inherent when faced with the adoption of new technology. 2. It introduces a new model for use by micro-companies constructed from acknowledged academically grounded models, to develop and highlight their ability to adopt new technology successfully. 3. The exploration of the issues within the ICT sector gives unique insight to a vertical business sector. 4. Investigation of the sector within a UK sub-region gives new insights for that region giving an opportunity for intervention to be augmented by the findings.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton or the degree of Doctor of Philosophy