Overcoming Barriers to Sme E-Commerce Adoption using Blended Learning: A Swedish Action Research Case Study
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate a model for blended learning for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), featuring information technology and face-to-face meetings. Using an action research approach data were collected from almost 70 Swedish SMEs, half of them in the tourism industry. Semistructured telephone interviews with 17 SME owner-managers were used to identify effects from a project using blended learning to support e-commerce adoption. Findings indicate that blended learning can improve SME owner-managers' knowledge of and proficiency in using web technology to expand their business. The model consists of three main components: face-to-face meetings, online support, and an online learning platform. A project team is required to supervise and anchor the project work of the participating SMEs in established best practices and also to provide strategic perspectives. The model reduces and/or bypasses several barriers to e-commerce adoption, such as perceived lack of time and financial resources. SMEs in the tourism industry and organizations promoting SME development can adopt and refine the proposed blended learning model.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2011
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- Information Technology & Tourism is the first scientific journal dealing with the exciting relationship between information technology and tourism. Information and communication systems embedded in a global net have profound influence on the tourism and travel industry. Reservation systems, distributed multimedia systems, highly mobile working places, electronic markets, and the dominant position of tourism applications in the Internet are noticeable results of this development. And the tourism industry poses several challenges to the IT field and its methodologies.