Analyzing the determinants of e-commerce in small and medium-sized enterprises: a cognition-driven framework
The increasing use of information technology in enterprises’ daily operations has led to multiple innovative ways to run a business, including electronic commerce (hereafter, e-commerce). However, firms with fewer resources, such as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are more reluctant to use electronic channels during transactions. This aversion to contemporary business models is a result of these companies’ lack of knowledge and capabilities regarding e-commerce. To improve their businesses, SMEs’ managers and decision makers could benefit from a methodological framework that fosters a deeper understanding of the determinants of e-commerce. This study sought to explore the use of fuzzy cognitive mapping to address this need. The results are grounded in the knowledge and experience of a panel of experts in e-commerce. The fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) developed shows that entrepreneur profile, market, operational management, marketing and promotions, website and digital platform, and products present the highest centrality indices as determinants of SME e-commerce. The findings offer a better understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships between these determinants. The advantages, limitations, and shortcomings of our constructivist proposal are also discussed.
First published online 10 April 2019
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