Sociotechnical Challenges of Transition Economy SMEs During EU Integration

Chapter
Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)

Abstract

Small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of national economies, in particular, for transition and emerging nations. SMEs contribute significantly to employment generation and innovation in countries that are in transition. However, SMEs face several social and technical challenges as they focus on technological innovation. SMEs face several barriers in technological innovation because of their limited financial, human, and technological resources. The purpose of this study was to investigate the key sociotechnical challenges that the SMEs of a transition economy face during EU integration and then to highlight any critical success factors for overcoming those challenges. Albania was the case study because they recently achieved candidate country status and are progressing toward EU integration. The central research question which drove the study was: What are the key social and technical challenges that SMEs in transition countries, such as Albania, face in the process of EU integration? We extended existing quantitative research by using qualitative data collection. We used in-depth interviews with 20 managers working in 10 medium-sized enterprises in Albania. After analyzing the data we identified five critical success factors for these EU transition-country SMEs. The first factor was the degree of investment made by the SME to introduce information and communication technology and software into the work processes. The second factor was the degree of investment made by the SME to acquire adequate resources to train their employees to use technology. The third factor was the perceived usefulness of the new technology by employees. The fourth characteristic was the level of employee self-efficacy (confidence) in using new technology. The final attribute was the openness attitude of employees towards using new technology. These results should generalize to other SMEs in Albania and to future EU transition countries. This study should be of interest to SMEs executives and organizational researchers in transition or developing countries, as well as to socio-economic practitioners in any industry or discipline.

Keywords

SMEs Transition Innovation European Integration 

List of Abbreviations

BI

Behavioral Intent

CSF

Critical Success Factors

EU

European Union

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

IDT

Innovation Diffusion Theory

PEU

Perceived Ease of Use [sometimes EU in the context of TAM]

PU

Perceived Usefulness [sometimes U in the context of TAM]

SME

Small to Medium Size Enterprise

TAM

Technology Acceptance Model (TAM2, TAM3 are revisions)

TPB

Theory of Planned Behavior

TRA

Theory of Reasoned Action

TTF

Task Technology Fit

UTAUT

Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Narasimha Rao Vajjhala
    • 1
  • Kenneth David Strang
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.American University of NigeriaYolaNigeria
  2. 2.APPC ResearchPerdido KeyUSA
  3. 3.State University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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