This research focused on the progression of e-business in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Australia. As a framework to explain such progression, a Stages of Growth for e-Business (SOGe) model was developed based on existing literature. The model is intended to assist SMEs in identifying their relative maturity with regards to their approach to e-business and to suggest possible directions in which they may wish to proceed with regards to their e-business initiatives.
The research, conducted under the umbrella of the interpretive paradigm, employed a multi-methods approach to further study the issues involved in e-business progression. While the survey's aim was to explore the perceptions of the reasonableness and helpfulness of the proposed SOGe model from a wider population, the eight case studies allowed a deeper understanding of the nuances of e-business progression within the SMEs involved in the study. The case studies were also conducted to explore the participants' perceptions on the usability of the SOGe model to chart their e-business progression and in assisting them in determining the possible direction for their organisation's e-business.
Several important findings emerged from the research. Firstly, the SOGe model developed and used in this research received a wide acclaim from the research participants. Responses indicated that they perceive the model as a useful tool to assist them in understanding the complexity surrounding their e-business initiatives and to help them in focussing on certain issues related to their e-business initiatives. The participants also outlined the potential use of the SOGe model to facilitate better understanding of the organisation's e-business and in facilitating strategic discussion among members of the organisation, especially in reaching consensus of the challenges and ways to mitigate these challenges when going forward with their e-business initiatives. Secondly, the use of the SOGe model has provided some unique perspectives in examining the influence of various organisational issues in affecting the progression of an organisation's e-business. It was found that SMEs at different level of maturity have varying degree of emphasis on issues considered to be significant in their approach towards their e-business initiatives.