Contextualising case study methodology: e-commerce adoption by SMMEs.

Stuart Warden


Case study is a research strategy supporting this requirement being an empirical inquiry that facilitates the investigation of a phenomenon within its real-life context. The strength of case studies lies in fostering a strong association with research subjects to gain in-depth insight. Replication and generalising are two key issues to resolve within the context of case study research, where the former is not a requirement for case study research. The research process using case studies in business includes, understanding how businesses operate, what problems they face, what mistakes they have made, and challenges they encountered. The evidence includes e-commerce adoption barriers, trends and mitigating factors to promote e-commerce adoption. It is evident that many researchers concentrated mostly on external factors such as benefits, opportunities and others, stating that e-commerce evolved from a technology-driven environment. In order to facilitate these issues, the researher used a post-positivism research design. This paper reports on using case studies methodology for the adoption of e-commerce by SMMEs in South Africa. The stated research problem alludes to lacking formalised adoption strategies available to SMMEs. The researcher developed a case study protocol. This is to manage the research process of evidence collection and recording using a framework to guide the research process. The research question formulated posed a challenge to develop a scientifically based e-commerce adoption model. The scope of this paper excludes the details of the development of the model. However, the case study methodology research methods used for the process is discussed. The paper concludes leaving the reader with a clear notion of how a problem in a real world situation could be identified, formulated and resolved using case studies.


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