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Grandon & Pearson (2004a) found that the commitment of top management, the level of IT knowledge they have, and their attitude to innovation greatly influenced the adoption of e-commerce. In a study of Korean SMEs by Jeona, Han & Lee (2006), they suggested that the CEO’s knowledge of IT/e-business and positive attitudes toward innovation were one of the major determining factors of digital business adoption.

Al-Qirim (2006) indicates that business size and the necessary capital and resources appear to limit SMEs’ ability to adopt digital technologies while Johnston & Wright (2004) argue that smaller size allow SMEs to be more flexible to change. Molla, Heeks & Balcells (2006) suggest that SMEs are more ready to make internal changes to processes and structures that are needed to deliver the benefits of e-commerce. The studies by Grandon & Pearson (2004b) on the adoption factors of US SMEs and Sutanonpaiboon & Pearson (2006) on e-commerce adoption of Thailand SMEs show that SMEs that are ready to adopt do have the necessary financial and technological resources to support the implementation of e-commerce.

Johnston & Wright (2004) in a study of the e-business capability of SMEs in various countries found that customer pressures are one of the most significant drivers. The reason for this is because SMEs were forced to adopt e-business in order for their system to become compatible with that of their customers. In another study by Drew (2003) of e-commerce adoption by SMEs in England, the key factors identified were customers demanding to deal on the internet, pressures from suppliers, and the need to keep up with existing competitors. However the results of this study contrast that of Ching & Ellis (2004). Ching & Ellis (2004) surveyed 84 SMEs in Hong Kong and found that pressure from customers motivated Hong Kong SMEs to adopt e-commerce, but pressure from suppliers and competitor rivalry had little impact on the adoption decision.

A study of 100 Ghana SMEs by Saffu, Walker & Hinson (2008) suggested that e-commerce adoption was higher when the business practices are compatible with the infrastructure of e-commerce. On the other hand, Maguire, Koh & Magrys (2007) in a study of e-business adoption in SMEs, found that the lack of skilled personnel was a major barrier for the low level of e-commerce adoption in the business sectors researched. Other barriers to SMEs digital business adoption include security and privacy concerns, cost of digital business implementation and lack of digital strategy and relevant resources and skilled staff to implement digital business (MacGregor & Vrazalic 2008, Maguire, Koh & Magrys 2007).


This research is based on a study of four small businesses employing people between 6 and 25 in GWS. To identify the factors affecting digital business adoption in SMEs in GWS, a qualitative case study approach is employed in this research. Drawing on a publicly available database of the SMEs located in GWS, businesses were initially approached with an invitation to participate in the study. The four businesses were GCBF ♦ Vol. 11 ♦ No. 1 ♦ 2016 ♦ ISSN 1941-9589 ONLINE & ISSN 2168-0612 USB Flash Drive 395 Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings ♦ Volume 11 ♦ Number 1 selected due to its size, geographic location and their willingness to participate in the study. For this qualitative study, data was collected through face-to-face interviews of business owners or managers and unstructured observation. The topics discussed at the interview included drivers and barriers to digital business adoption and business strategy to adopt digital technology or overcome their barriers. In-depth semi- structured interviewing of 4 business owners or managers was carried out in 2014. The semistructured interviews lasting about 50 minutes each session were digitally recorded and transcribed. Semistructured interviewing is a fairly flexible structure that allows some probing to be done. The researcher can ask additional follow up questions for further explanation and clarification. Semi-structured interviews increases the comparability of the data collected due to the use of a semi-structured interview guide, which helps show relationships and common reoccurring themes between the answers (Flick 2002). In addition to semi- structured interviews, unstructured observations were used to gather additional data on participant behaviour and the workplace environment in which they operate concerning the usage of digital technologies. A research diary or field notes were used to carry out unstructured observations.

The data from the interviews and the field notes were analyzed and interpreted using categorizing, coding, and contextualization techniques to look for patterns and themes both within and across the businesses. The research presents its data analysis through a combination of the literature and themes emerging from the indepth interviews and the unstructured observation during the interviews.


This research reveals that adoption of digital business is rather limited in the participating organisations.

The level of digital business adoption can be best viewed as using emails or providing basic information and services online according to the managers or business owners interviewed. During the interviews different aspects were often mentioned by the interviewees as having a significant impact on their ability to adopt digital business. Based on the analysis of the data, the aspects perceived as important include perceived costs and risk and benefits. Business adoption tends to be driven by benefits and restricted by perceived cost and risk of change (Chaffey, 2015). The managers or business owners interviewed were uncertain about the financial returns from investments in digital systems. This uncertainty was exacerbated by a lack of cost and benefits analysis on their investment and reasonable knowledge about digital system setup and running costs. Lack of understanding of relevance of digital business to their organisations has been identified as a major barrier by the managers interviewed. Their limited understanding of the business implications of digital business and digital business models make them reluctant to take further actions.

Therefore, they often take a ‘Wait and See’ approach in digital business adoption for their organisations.

Security, privacy and legal issues were commonly perceived barriers. The perception of these risks resulted in limited adoption of digital business in these companies. Lack of skilled staff and confidence in digital business adoption has also become a major issue for these companies interviewed. The current low level of digital engagement further highlights these concerns. The four business owners and managers interviewed reported that their business has yet to adopt strategic use of digital technologies to enhance business processes. It appeared that they were unaware that competitive advantages came not from technology but from how it is integrated into business processes and practices. Digital business adoption is clearly a strategic business issue rather than a technical issue. As observed by Porter 15 years ago, ‘the key question is not whether to deploy Internet technology – companies have no choice if they want to stay competitive – but how to deploy it.’ (Porter 2001). It is noted that this view still remains relevant today to many SMEs for adopting digital business. It is important for SMEs to take a strategic approach to be ready for the digital future.

GCBF ♦ Vol. 11 ♦ No. 1 ♦ 2016 ♦ ISSN 1941-9589 ONLINE & ISSN 2168-0612 USB Flash Drive 396 Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings ♦ Volume 11 ♦ Number 1


SMEs are a major and important part of the Australian economy in terms of making contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment. However, SMEs have been slow in the uptake of digital business despite its benefits, due to various barriers. The findings of this research suggest that the current state of digital businesses adoption in SMEs in GWS can be best viewed as little more than using emails or providing basic information and services online. The factors affecting digital business adoption identified from this research include lack of understanding of benefits to their business, absence of digital strategy to bring transformative change to business, lack of skills and perceived cost and risk of change. These results are consistent with the factors identified in the previous studies presented in the literature review section.

The research findings indicate that the local small businesses in GWS appear to be slow to advance their efforts to engage in the digital economy. This research recommends that SMEs in GWS need to take a proactive approach to developing effective digital strategies as companies that do not have a coherent digital business strategy with clearly defined objectives are less likely to engage more efficiently with suppliers and expand and better serve their customer base in a fast changing digital environment.


Al-Qirim, N. (2006), ‘Personas of e-commerce adoption in small businesses in New Zealand’, Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 18-45.

Chaffey, D 2015, Digital business and e-commerce management: strategy, implementation and practice, 6th edn, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Harlow Ching, H.L. & Ellis, P. (2004), ‘Marketing in cyberspace: what factors drive e-commerce adoption?’, Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 20, pp. 409-429.

CSIRO (2008), CSIRO's small and medium enterprise engagement centre, viewed 28 December 2010, http://www.csiro.au/solutions/SMEEngagement.html.

Damaskopoulos, P. & Evgeniou, T. (2003), ‘Adoption of new economy practices by SMEs in eastern Europe’, European Management Journal, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 133-145.

Deloitte Access Economics (2003), “Connected Small Businesses: how Australian small businesses are growing in the digital economy”.

Drew, S. (2003), ‘Strategic uses of e-commerce by SMEs in the east of England’, European Management Journal, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 79–88.

Flick, U. (2002), An introduction to qualitative research, 2nd edn, SAGE Publications Ltd, London.

Grandon, E.E. & Pearson, M.J. (2004a), ‘E-commerce adoption: perceptions of managers/owners of small and medium sized firms in Chile’, Communications of AIS, vol. 13, pp. 81-102.

Grandon, E.E. & Pearson, M.J. (2004b), ‘Electronic commerce adoption: an empirical study of small and medium US businesses’, Information & Management, vol. 42, pp. 197-216.

Jeona, B.N., Han, K.S. & Lee, M.J. (2006), ‘Determining factors for the adoption of e-business: the case of SMEs in Korea’, Applied Economics, vol. 38, no. 16, pp. 1905-1916.

GCBF ♦ Vol. 11 ♦ No. 1 ♦ 2016 ♦ ISSN 1941-9589 ONLINE & ISSN 2168-0612 USB Flash Drive 397 Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings ♦ Volume 11 ♦ Number 1 Johnston, D.A. & Wright, L. (2004), ‘The e-business capability of small and medium sized firms in international supply chains’, Information Systems & e-Business Management, vol. 2, pp. 223-240.

Kapurubandara, M., Hol, A. & Ginige, A. (2010), ‘SMES in developed and developing countries treading similar paths towards etransformation’, The international joint conference on e-business and telecommunications 2010, pp. 26-28, viewed 24 December 2010, Australasian Digital Thesis database.

MacGregor, R.C. & Vrazalic, L. (2008), ‘A profile of Australian regional SME non-adopters of ecommerce’, Small Enterprise Research, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 27-46.

Maguire, S., Koh, S.C.L. & Magrys, A. (2007), ‘The adoption of e-business and knowledge management in SMEs’, Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 37-58.

Molla, A., Heeks, R., & Balcells, I. (2006), ‘Adding clicks to bricks: a case study of e-commerce adoption by a catalan small retailer’, European Journal of Information Systems, vol. 15, pp. 424-438.

Pearson, M.J. & Grandon, E.E. (2005), ‘An empirical study of factors that influence e-commerce adoption/non-adoption in small and medium sized businesses’, Journal of Internet Commerce, vol. 4, no.

4, pp. 1-21.

Porter, M. (2001) Strategy and the Internet, Harvard Business Review, March 2001, 62–78 Rosli, M. & Noor Azizi, I. (2009), ‘Electronic commerce adoption in SME: the trend of prior studies’, Journal of Internet Banking & Commerce, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 1-16.

Saffu, K., Walker, J.H. & Hinson, R. (2008), ‘Strategic value and electronic commerce adoption among small and medium-sized enterprises in a transitional economy’, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 395-404.

Sutanonpaiboon, J. & Pearson, M.A. (2006), ‘E-commerce adoption: perceptions of managers/owners of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand’, Journal of Internet Commerce, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 53-82.

GCBF ♦ Vol. 11 ♦ No. 1 ♦ 2016 ♦ ISSN 1941-9589 ONLINE & ISSN 2168-0612 USB Flash Drive 398 Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings ♦ Volume 11 ♦ Number 1




Aticha Kwaengsopha, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University-Bangkok Thailand

–  –  –

This Research aims to study the ability and need of food styling skills of restaurant owners who need knowledge to add more value to Thai dishes in Thailand Tourist destinations. The objectives of this research are to study and analyze the abilities and food styling skills of the restaurant owners to be able to add more value on dishes. It also aims to investigate the different patterns and the ways to increase food styling knowledge and ability. The findings restaurant had on the capabilities and needs the skills and knowledge to design and decorate dishes to add value to the pool design plate. Forms and ways to enhance their knowledge and skills for the decoration of dishes to add value to the food dish Thailand. The study found that Respondents to learn more about the customer. In order to understand their needs and can bring development shop. There also needs to participate in a creative workshop designed to increase revenue.

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