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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

SMEs Amidst Global Technological Changes

SMEs Amidst Global Technological Changes
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Author(s): Nabeel A.Y. Al-Qirim (United Arab Emirates University, UAE)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 4
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch555


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In small countries such as New Zealand, small to mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) are defined as enterprises employing 19 or fewer employees. Small enterprises are defined as those employing zero to five full-time employees (FTEs) (often called microbusinesses), and medium-sized enterprises as those employing six to nineteen FTEs. Other countries, such as the United States and European countries, define their SMEs as having a much larger number of employees (200–500 or fewer). SMEs contribute significantly to the economies and to the employment levels of different countries in the world. For example, SMEs constitute around 95 percent of enterprises and account for 60–70 percent of employment within the countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 1997) and other countries across the globe, including the United States. Not to forget that SMEs are usually the source of most of the profound inventions and innovations (Iacovou, Benbasat, & Dexter, 1995). Historically, SMEs have been accused of being uncritical about the strategic importance of IT and its use in their businesses. This laggardness in adopting or using IT in business was attributed to various organisational, technological, and environmental deficiencies in SMEs. The recent emergence of the Internet, in general, and the Web, in particular, revolutionises business activities (Abell & Lim, 1996) and promises to provide unprecedented opportunities to SMEs to expand in scope and in market reach. However, despite the apparent media hype (Premkumar & Roberts, 1999) and the enthusiasm among academicians (Adam & Deans, 2000; Abell & Lim, 1996; Infotech Weekly, 1997; Poon & Swatman, 1999a) and professionals (Deloitte, 2000; IDC, 1998; PWHC, 1999) about electronic commerce (EC), the published EC research portrayed a gloomy picture about EC uptake and use by SMEs. Thus, investigating reasons behind such laggardness in adopting and in using EC effectively is essential. This research attempts to highlight some of the important issues that could assist in bridging the existing divide between SMEs and EC. These issues could be of interest to SMEs and to other stakeholders interested in SMEs and EC.

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