Many SMEs are adopting information and communication technology (ICT) and services based on them. However, there is little systematic research into how they are doing this and what the organisational and environmental factors associated with the adoption are. That is, hardly there is any study in the literature which is looking at the overall firm’s performance and if, once adopted, ICT fulfil expectations of their adopters. The growing importance of SMEs and ICT in contemporary economics and IS and management theory have been a subject of large static research. In this paper we have adopted a dynamic approach to evaluate adopted ICT in a firm as a complex adapting system (CAS). Thus, here an organisation is studied as complex social system, because complexity provides an explanatory framework of how organisations behave; as well as how individuals and organisations interact, relate and evolve within a larger social and environmental system. Complexity also explains why ICT adoption may have un-anticipated consequences on firm’s performance and inter-relationships of elements within a complex system which give rise to multiple chains of dependencies. In this article authors evaluate factors for ICT adoption in Australian SMEs in the post-adoption period. The methodology in this article was based on interpretative action research based on “soft systems thinking”, because the setting up an information technology system is itself a social act, requiring some kind of concentrated action by many people. However, the formal method is the case study method which answers the question how these factors are interacting in the particular firm. After the introduction, a general framework, based on recent literature review, was used to identify necessary factors for the ICT adoption. Those factors are then evaluated in an Australian company (case study) using systemic (five stage) approach and its tools. Preliminary results of this study confirmed that entrepreneurial ICT adoption initiative is not only subjected to selection as a result of environmental pressures but also is strongly subjected to the sub-systems influences and interdependencies. Thus from the complex and adaptive systems perspective we may infer that necessary factors are not all (and always) sufficient factors for the full utilisation of ICT and achievement of firm’s goals.
Skoko, Hazbo; Buerki, Leo; and Ceric, Arnela, "Empirical Evaluation of ICT Adoption in Australian SMEs: Systemic Approach" (2006). ICEB 2006 Proceedings (Tampere, Finland). 54.