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The Case Studies

Each of the case studies that follow will include a discussion, under the umbrella of actor-network theory, of the approach taken by each of these SMEs to the adoption, or non-adoption, of e-commerce. In each case, data for the study was obtained through a series of semi-structured interviews with the proprietors and personnel of the businesses involved. A condition of each interview was that the businesses remain anonymous. The interviews were conducted between September 2001 and August 2002. The data were then subjected to an ANT analysis in which actors and networks were identified and interactions were traced. The approach used in ANT to identify and trace networks is to “follow the actors” (Latour, 1996, p.10) and investigate the leads each new actor suggests. This means that it is primarily the actors themselves, and not the researcher, that determine the direction taken by the investigation. The studies are:

  • The use by a medium-sized business of a B-B portal designed for use in a regional area of a large Australian city.

  • The adoption of e-commerce technologies by a small academic publishing company.

  • The non-adoption of e-commerce by a small chartered accountancy firm.


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