The Qualification of e-Commerce Business Services for Small Firms

Authors: Erdélyi, P.

Conference: Goldsmiths Winter Workshop in Economic Sociology

Dates: 13-15 January 2009


I study the emergence of e-commerce entrepreneurship at the start of the 21st century, by way of a longitudinal case study of three focal companies within an e-commerce community in the South of England. The scope of the phenomenon nevertheless extends beyond these retailers. The adoption of ICTs for online retailing by existing firms and start-ups was accompanied by the emergence of online marketplaces. At the same time the EU and UK governments promoted the adoption of ICTs by small firms as way to turn their countries into “knowledge-based economies” and thus maintain their global competitiveness. The predominance of start-ups in the propagation of e-commerce as a disruptive innovation however also challenged the underlying logic of mainstream theories of innovation and entrepreneurship that can be traced back to the work of Joseph Schumpeter, upon which the discourse of the “knowledge-based economy” is also based. I revisit Schumpeter’s definition of innovation, while rejecting his jump from the micro-analysis of entrepreneurship to the macro-analysis of capitalism, and his methodological individualism. I do this by drawing on the literature of STS-inspired research in the sociology of innovation, economic sociology, and political sociology. Such an approach allows me to reconceptualise organisational routines and innovation from an object-orientated perspective as arrangements and rearrangements, and trace the flows and associations that constitute them.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Peter Erdelyi

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