To cope with the digital transition exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, managers of manufacturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to adopt innovative practices to face uncertain scenarios and create long-term value, identified as transformational entrepreneurship practices. Among emerging digital technologies, digital platforms are shaping and outgrowing the e-commerce channel representing a potential opportunity for manufacturing SMEs to embrace digital transformation. Drawing on affordance theory, this research uses a mixed method approach to investigate how manufacturing SMEs’ e-commerce commitment and digital platform adoption stimulate the actualization of three e-commerce affordances: consumer knowledge generation, internationalization, and customer diversification. Based on survey responses from 165 manufacturing SME managers, we find that direct selling through owned websites actualizes consumer knowledge generation and internationalization, indirect selling actualizes customer diversification and internationalization, and agency selling through third-party platforms actualizes all three affordances. The relationship between e-commerce commitment and ecommerce performance is mediated by consumer knowledge generation and internationalization but not by customer diversification. A fsQCA analysis outlines seven configurations actualizing these e-commerce affordances by pairing different ecommerce approaches with degrees of e-commerce commitment. Finally, an analysis of open-ended questions from 24 respondents complements the study and deeply interprets the seven unique configurations outlined.

How commitment and platform adoption drive the e-commerce performance of SMEs: A mixed-method inquiry into e-commerce affordances

Jacopo Ballerini
First
;
Alberto Ferraris
2023-01-01

Abstract

To cope with the digital transition exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, managers of manufacturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to adopt innovative practices to face uncertain scenarios and create long-term value, identified as transformational entrepreneurship practices. Among emerging digital technologies, digital platforms are shaping and outgrowing the e-commerce channel representing a potential opportunity for manufacturing SMEs to embrace digital transformation. Drawing on affordance theory, this research uses a mixed method approach to investigate how manufacturing SMEs’ e-commerce commitment and digital platform adoption stimulate the actualization of three e-commerce affordances: consumer knowledge generation, internationalization, and customer diversification. Based on survey responses from 165 manufacturing SME managers, we find that direct selling through owned websites actualizes consumer knowledge generation and internationalization, indirect selling actualizes customer diversification and internationalization, and agency selling through third-party platforms actualizes all three affordances. The relationship between e-commerce commitment and ecommerce performance is mediated by consumer knowledge generation and internationalization but not by customer diversification. A fsQCA analysis outlines seven configurations actualizing these e-commerce affordances by pairing different ecommerce approaches with degrees of e-commerce commitment. Finally, an analysis of open-ended questions from 24 respondents complements the study and deeply interprets the seven unique configurations outlined.
2023
1
16
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0268401223000300
Affordance theory, Transformational entrepreneurship, Digital platforms, e-commerce, fsQCA, mixed method
Jacopo Ballerini; Dennis Herhausen; Alberto Ferraris
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1902912
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