The start of business-to-business e-commerce began in the 1990’s and has thereafter evolved rapidly. This revolution developed from a global change towards a larger extent of internationalization, which was not longer feasible to achieve with the traditional way of procurement, and from the digitalization trend (Wise & Morrison, 2000). In 2012 sales through business-to-business e-commerce reached 5.5 trillion USD globally and is estimated to reach 12 trillion USD by 2020 according to a study made by the Frost & Sullivan Visionary Research Group (Vidyasekar, 2014). The study further reveals several reasons behind the increasing pressure on organizations to extend their businesses with online sales, including growing expectations from others as well as a rising interest for purchasing products online. Even though business-to-business ecommerce has gone through a major development during the past years, it still covers only a small part of the total sales. Renowned American marketing managers within business-to-business expected e-commerce to correspond to 10% of the total sales in 2015 according to the CMO Survey Report (Mooman, 2014), which means that there is a large development potential.
According to Grewal, Comer and Mehta (2001) organizations are adapting to ecommerce in three different ways: exploration state, expert state and passive state. In the exploration state the businesses are trying to implement the digitalization by allocating resources in order to achieve the new necessities. Expert state refers to organizations that already have achieved a successful implementation of e-commerce.
Lastly, the passive state regards businesses that are unsure of whether to apply an ecommerce, and are experimenting their way into implementation with the idea of the ecommerce being a complement to their core business in the future. The passive state would apply for the organizations within the work wear sector. As mentioned, the core business is the physical stores and most actors within the sector are planning to keep it that way, developing an e-commerce as a supplement (Ekberg et al., 2014). Research has further divided organizations into four groups of various uses of e-based technologies. These four groups are traditionals, e-sellers, e-purchasers and eintegrators.
Traditionals are the ones least adapting technology, whereas on the other hand, e-integrators are well-developed businesses having both suppliers and customers integrated with their e-commerce (Cagliano, Caniato & Spina, 2003). Furthermore, when Lefebvre, Lefebvre, Eliaa and Boeck (2005) explored business-to-business ecommerce adoption, two categories were determined: adopters and non-adopters. As for the non-adopters, organizations were discovered to go through two phases in their adoption where a non-existing interest could be discovered in the first phase. In the
second phase the organizations attempt towards planning an implementation of ecommerce.
As mentioned, the work wear sector is categorized as laggards according to the Diffusion of Innovation Theory by Rogers (1983), and would fit into the nonadopters category according to Lefebvre et al. (2005), positioned in the second phase of adoption.
Technology Acceptance Model
As of today most people have adapted to the use of Internet in their personal life and also within their profession. However, there are sectors, e.g. the work wear sector, still fully not accepting the Internet, e-commerce and the continuously digital development (Ekberg et al., 2014). In order to discover these people’s intention to use e-commerce and to further use it as a platform to purchase products, one can use certain theoretical models. What has been seen to be a useful model when analyzing people’s intention to shop online is Technology Acceptance Model (Zubaidi & Al-Alnsari, 2010; Ha & Stoel, 2009). This model has been favored from both theoretical and empirical studies
(Venkatesh & Davis, 2000). Hence, since the purpose of this thesis is to study business clients’ technology acceptance of e-commerce within business-to-business in the work wear sector, the Technology Acceptance Model can be seen as relevant.
Technology Acceptance Model, further referred to as TAM, has been revised several times. The two variables that constitute the original model, TAM 1 (Figure 2.1), are perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. Perceived usefulness defines to what extent the individual believes that an e-commerce will improve one’s job performance. The second variable, perceived ease of use, explains the level of effortlessness the individual perceives by using the technology (Venkatesh & Davis, 2000). The model enlightens the effects of possible external variables, such as training/education and system characteristics, to be of importance for the intentions to use the technology. The external variables are presumed to affect the characteristics of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. Subsequently, perceived usefulness can be affected by perceived ease of use since, all else being equal, that is a factor leading to the usefulness of the
technology (Venkatesh & Davis, 2000).
1.2 Problem statement
2 Frame of Reference
2.2 Business-to-business e-commerce
2.3 Technology Acceptance Model
2.4 Diffusion of Innovation Theory
2.5 Summary of theories
2.6 Introduction to a proposed framewor
3.1 Research philosophy
3.2 Research approach
3.3 Research purpose .
3.4 Research process
3.5 Research outcome .
4 Empirical finding
4.1 Quantitative findings – survey results
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Investigating Technology Acceptance towards E-commerce within the Work Wear Sector