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Adoption of new economy practices by SMEs in Eastern Europe

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In this paper the authors seek to understand the key drivers of adoption of e-business practices by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Eastern Europe. They discuss the results of a survey of over 900 SME decision makers in four Eastern European countries, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia, and Cyprus. This work was conducted in the context of the ENLARGE research project. ENLARGE is part of the European Commission Information Societies Technology (IST) Research Programme. The objective of the project is to promote the integration of EU Eastern European Candidate Enlargement Countries through the development and application of a methodology for designing and implementing e-business strategies in SMEs. The survey produced responses to a diverse set of approximately 100 questions that cover technological, organisational, market, industrial, and regulatory factors that influence e-business adoption. The survey was built on the basis of a theoretical framework for studying the adoption of new economy practices. The framework emerges from the key thesis of the paper, namely that the adoption of new economy practices depends not only on the diffusion of new information and communication technology (ICT), but on the dynamic interrelationships between technological transformations, firms' organisational and knowledge-creating capabilities, emerging market and industry structures, and public institutions and regulatory frameworks. From this viewpoint, and based on the survey results, the authors offer some reflections in the domain of new economy adoption in Eastern Europe and in other countries in general.

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