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Small firm entry to e-marketplace for market expansion and internationalization: A theoretical perspective

Abstract

Over the past decades, e-marketplaces have been playing significant roles in the global economic development. The mounting trend of the world’s Internet population offers incredible opportunities for the firms, both large and small, to use the Internet-based e-marketplace applications in view of managing the firm-consumer interactions effectively. Firms’ entry to e-marketplace is resulted in market expansion, internationalization, and resource maximization. This study attempts to construct a theoretical framework to look at the factors affecting small firms’ entry to e-marketplace. Following an interpretive research paradigm, this study first explores various barriers and benefits that small firms face while participating in e-marketplace and validate those factors by analyzing 23 interviews conducted through a semi-structured interview guide. By applying both, inductive and deductive methods, the interpretive analyses build a theoretical framework comprising a range of variables classified as technological, organizational, and environmental factors. The theoretical framework is the guideline and also provides grounding for a quantitative research to the study of small firms’ e-marketplace entry behavior in a wider population. The study concludes with the implications for small firms’ market expansion and internationalization through e-marketplace participation.

Kurzfassung

Online-Markplätze spielten eine wichtige Rolle in der globalen wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung der letzten Jahrzehnte. Die wachsende Anzahl an Internetnutzern bietet vielfältige Möglichkeiten für kleine und große Unternehmen, um unter Zuhilfenahme der Online-Marktplätze die Vielfalt an Konsumenten-Unternehmen Interaktionen effektiv zu managen. Der Einstieg von Unternehmen in Online Marktplätze resultierte in Marktwachstum, Internationalisierung und Ressourcen Maximierung. Dies Studie versucht, einen theoretischen Rahmen zu präsentieren, welcher die Faktoren abbildet, die sich auf den Einstieg von kleinen Unternehmen in Online Marktplätze auswirken. Vor dem Hintergrund eines interpretativen Forschungsparadigmas exploriert diese Studie zunächst die Hürden und Nutzen der Teilnahme an Online-Marktplätzen aus der Sicht kleiner Unternehmen und validiert diese Faktoren auf der Grundlage von 23 halbstrukturierten Interviews. Indem induktive und deduktive Methoden verbunden werden, erlaubt es die interpretative Analyse, einen theoretischen Rahmen zu entwickeln, welcher eine Reihe von technologischen, organisatorischen und umweltbezogenen Faktoren umfasst. Der entwickelte theoretische Rahmen kann die Grundlage darstellen für eine weiterführende quantitative Studie zum Einstieg von kleinen Unternehmen in Online-Marktplätze in einer größeren Grundgesamtheit. Die Studie schließt mit Implikationen zur Marktexpansion von kleinen Unternehmen und deren Internationalisierung durch Teilnahme an Online-Marktplätzen.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Small firms and SMEs are used interchangeably in this paper to indicate the firms those are small. Although some of them are categorized as medium according to the definition, their capacity and character are still alike small firm. However, the field study has been conducted with the participation of small firm owners or their representatives only.

  2. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, generally known as BTRC, 2019.

  3. Information about the speed of Internet services in Bangladesh has been collected from the official record of Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd., a government-owned mobile telephony and Internet service provider in Bangladesh and from the speed test global index.

  4. For the interest of this study, we define small firms which have less than 100 employees (National Industrial Policy 2016 of Bangladesh).

  5. For explanation of each variable, please see exploration nodes and quotes for 14 variables from field study given in Appendix Table 4 at the end of the paper.

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Acknowledgements

We are indebted to Prof Hamid Etemad and the anonymous reviewers for their extensive feedbacks which greatly improved the paper.

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Appendix

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Table 4 Nodes and quotes for the exploration of 13 variables from field study

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Hossain, M., Azam, M.S. & Quaddus, M. Small firm entry to e-marketplace for market expansion and internationalization: A theoretical perspective. J Int Entrep 19, 560–590 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10843-021-00297-5

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Keywords

  • E-marketplace
  • Small firm
  • E-marketplace entry benefits and barriers
  • Internationalization
  • Interpretive research paradigm