Business Management: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarship: Identifying M-commerce Adoption Barriers and their Empirical Assessment in the Context of the SMEs of Wales

Closing date: 22 January 2018

Key Information

Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships (SURES)

Swansea University is proud to offer 15 fully-funded PhD scholarships for students commencing study in October 2018 or January 2019.

The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of student excellence across a portfolio of 34 potential projects.

Project title: Identifying M-commerce Adoption Barriers and their Empirical Assessment in the Context of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of Wales

Start date: October 2018

Mobile commerce is the portable functionality that allows a consumer to access the Internet and conduct online transactions from anywhere at any time within reason. Its growth in the last decade has been exponential on the back of technological development and innovation. Smartphones and tablet devices are increasingly affordable and available; therefore, a greater number of consumers are adopting this functionality which complements the growth of m-commerce (Einav, Levin, Popov & Sundaresan, 2014). The use of such technologies has been ingrained in everyday tasks and the dependence on these devices is only increasing (Kourouthanassis & Giaglis, 2012). A recent surge in adoption suggests that user feedback is positive and that m-commerce delivers unique benefits that are unseen in the traditional e-commerce environment.

The advantages of mobile commerce and its portable nature epitomises its rise in everyday functionality and in online business. The positives are felt by both individual consumers and businesses alike and they are now, more than ever, connected through wireless devices. The benefits associated are unique and open the door to new product development, markets, communication channels, revenue streams and new services that have not been seen before in traditional e-commerce channels (Mennecke, & Strader, 2003). From a consumer perspective, a mobile device is also cheaper to invest in and the learning curve of these devices is faster than any other technology (Anckar & D’Incau, 2002). The diversification of the use of m-commerce and the motivating factors encourage businesses to develop their own infrastructure for the purpose of maintaining a long term online strategy that targets the growing number of mobile device users.

Current literature regarding SMEs and m-commerce is rather scarce in comparison to that of m-commerce and the consumer (Martín-Consuegra, Gómez & Molina, 2015). Due to this absence of specific research in the literature, SMEs are without a framework that indicates the issues they may potentially face in the implementation period. This is particularly the case in the UK where large businesses are striding ahead of SMEs in mobile commerce penetration. Most current research into SMEs and online commercial activities involve traditional e-commerce which could be argued is becoming less relevant in the modern climate (Kabanda & Brown, 2017). Furthermore, the research surrounding the growing phenomenon of m-commerce focuses more on the consumer as a user of the platform rather than the business that implements the systems for their use (Zhang, Chen & Lee, 2013). The main research objective for this project will be to develop a comprehensive framework to assist the adoption process of SMEs in the UK and to curate a better understanding why mobile commerce adoption is a more challenging process for smaller businesses specifically. There is a gap that can be filled and an opportunity to positively impact the adoption processes of SMEs in the UK is viable.

Research Aim and Objectives

A review of existing literature shows it to be of an exploratory nature and it provides little understanding of how barriers of adoption actually affect SMEs. The explanations and concepts are theoretical and by no means go as far as to assist SMEs in avoiding or understand certain barriers that might stand in the way of their adoption process. The research project will aim to provide this knowledge by systematically and comprehensively taking established concepts to review and use to survey SME managers.

With the aforementioned discussion in mind, the aim of the project is to examine the factors (barriers of adoption) influencing the success rate of SMEs in mobile commerce adoption and develop a framework, highlighting their individual significance and relationships between them. To achieve this, the following research objectives shall be undertaken:

  1. Undertake an extensive review and analysis of the current state of research related to the barriers of mobile commerce adoption of SMEs, with particular focus on the UK.
  2. Pick out key barriers that arise from the literature and utilise them in surveying SME managers and their stance on mobile commerce adoption. This will be achieved by connecting with SMEs in the local area (South Wales) and across the UK to attain a broader understanding.
  3. To develop a conceptual model from the results of Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM). Data obtained from the responses of SME managers will feed into the ISM. Using algorithms and complex mathematics, relationships between the factors and their perceived significance will form the tiered system of the model.
  4. Empirical testing using primary data will be completed to validate and refine the model to ensure its effectiveness. The data will be gathered from organisational respondents from Wales, UK.
  5. Use model to propose methods to negotiate barriers of adoption by highlighting key barriers and their relationships.

Research Contribution

This research is expected to contribute towards theory and practice. The theoretical approach means it will integrate appropriate literature from consumer and business side m-commerce as well as generic e-commerce aspects that affect the developments of m-commerce. The research will also contribute towards theory by empirically testing and validating the conceptual model and identifying it appropriateness.

The research will likely provide SME managers with guidelines showing what to look out for when adopting m-commerce with regard to the proposed barriers from the literature. The tiered nature of the model will help to distinguish the level of significance of each barrier and how they are related.

References

  • Anckar, B., & D'incau, D. (2002). Value creation in mobile commerce: Findings from a consumer survey. JITTA: Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application, 4(1), 43.
  • Einav, L., Levin, J., Popov, I., & Sundaresan, N. (2014). Growth, adoption, and use of mobile E-commerce. The American economic review, 104(5), 489-494.
  • Kabanda, S., & Brown, I. (2017). A structuration analysis of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) adoption of E-Commerce: The case of Tanzania. Telematics and Informatics, 34(4), 118-132.
  • Kourouthanassis, P. E., & Giaglis, G. M. (2012). Introduction to the special issue mobile commerce: the past, present, and future of mobile commerce research. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 16(4), 5-18.
  • Martín-Consuegra, D., Gómez, M., & Molina, A. (2015). Consumer Sensitivity Analysis in Mobile Commerce Advertising. Social Behavior and Personality, 43(6), 883-897.
  • Mennecke, B. E., & Strader, T. J. (Eds.). (2003). Mobile commerce: technology, theory, and applications. IGI Global.
  • Zhang, R., Chen, J. Q., & Lee, C. J. (2013). Mobile commerce and consumer privacy concerns. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 53(4), 31-38.

The successful applicant will have access to our Postgraduate Research Student Training programmes.

Eligibility

Candidates should have (or expect to obtain) a first class honours degree (or equivalent) and/or a master's degree with distinction in M-Commerce/Information Systems Management.

Analytical skills and previous experience of working in a similar area of research (i.e. E-Business) are required.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,553 for 3 years. 

There will also be £1,000 per annum available for research expenses such as travel, accommodation, field trips and conference attendance.

How to Apply

To apply please complete and return the following documents to Dr Vivienne Jenkins (pgrsures@swansea.ac.uk) quoting reference COMAN5:

Student applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Literary and Academic attainments (60%)
  • Demonstrable esteem indicators i.e. ambassadorial skills, instincts and opportunities to demonstrate leadership, experience and interest in extracurricular and community activities (40%)

Supervisors / Academic Contacts: Dr Nripendra Rana / Professor Yogesh Dwivedi