Electronic Commerce: Factors Involved in its Adoption from a Bibliometric Analysis
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research
This article presents findings of a study that aimed to identify key factors in the adoption of e-commerce. The study involved a bibliometric analysis of statistical information from 408 scientific publications related to the theme, registered in the Scopus database, through a structured search equation. The collected records were used to calculate bibliometric indicators of quantity, quality and structure. Additionally, an analysis of increasing, decreasing, and emerging thematics was carried
... ut to identify the topics of greatest interest on this subject. Findings indicate that this is a prolific research field, in which the fastest growing topic is the study of e-commerce adoption in small and medium sized enterprises in emerging economies. The analysis also revealed the current use of new models to evaluate adoption factors. That is the case of the Technology Organization Environment Framework used as an alternative to the Technology Acceptance Model--which remains the most widely used. Likewise, Structural Equation Analysis was found to be one of the most frequently used options for statistical analysis in the publications studied. A research agenda intending to contribute with directions for further research in the area is presented at the end of the article. from previous studies, and allowing the construction of better research designs that could focus on the issue with greater theoretical end empirical validity. The paper is structured as follows: Drawing on the work of various authors, the first section presents a conceptual framework that elaborates on the most important concepts related to electronic commerce, points out some milestones in its historical development, highlights its importance, and exposes the factors that promote or inhibit its adoption. In a second section, the methodology used for bibliometric analysis is described. In a third section, the obtained results are laid out along with their interpretation. Finally, conclusions and limitations of the study are presented followed by a research agenda. Conceptual Background This section presents the conceptual framework that supports the bibliometric analysis used in the research methodology. This framework introduces the conceptualization of e-commerce, presents some milestones of development, and highlights its importance in strengthening supplier-customer relations in today's organizations. Electronic commerce has been defined as a useful tool to reduce the economic gap between countries  and as a channel to deliver products and services through the Internet. However, although it has become a source of competitive advantage due to the possibilities offered to both buyers and sellers, its use, especially in emerging economies, is limited . The main advantage mentioned by the authors in the use of electronic commerce relates to the opportunity that it provides for companies to expand their number of customers  and its potential to become a medium to boost micro, small and medium sized enterprises--which represent a source of economic growth for many countries ,  . In the United States, for example, it has become a transactional medium used for business by nearly 40% of the third of the population  . In addition, e-commerce can transform business management and its potential affects sectors as diverse as telecommunications, finance, industry, trade, education, health and government  . According to several authors, e-commerce comprises any transaction made by means of electronic devices, which allows conducting business and transforms internal and external relationships to create value and exploit the market opportunities influenced by new rules of a connected economy. It allows the incorporation of all transactions of information, products, services or payment via electronic networks, and integrates solutions to any transaction via Internet--which is understood as the use of digital communication networks to facilitate the purchase and sale of any product or service , , , , , , , , , , , , , . As a product of the convergence of information and communication technologies (ICT), e-commerce can be defined from many perspectives. In  the following definitions are set out: 1. From the perspective of communication, e-commerce is the delivery of information, products, services or payment made through telephone lines, computer networks or similar means. 2. From the perspective of business process, e-commerce is the application of technology to achieve automation of transactions or workflow. 3. From the perspective of service, e-commerce is a tool to achieve the objectives of the organization and the customer, and to properly manage costs significantly improving delivery times. 4. From an online perspective, e-commerce provides the ability to view and buy products and information from the Internet or other online services. Since 1997, when the White House launched the Framework for Global Electronic Commerce, a perception of the need to implement suitable policies for the development and growth of digital systems necessary to strengthen the free exchange of goods, services and information via Internet emerged. In this regard, the referred framework sought to strengthen e-commerce through four general principles that aimed at adopting an unregulated approach that would prevent undue restrictions to electronic commerce. The private sector would ideally lead the process recognizing the qualities of the Internet to develop it on the basis of a global context  . Despite the fact that almost 20 years have passed since the adoption of the regulatory framework, electronic commerce has not yet developed as envisaged within the global context. As a consequence, developing countries have basically failed to adequately adopt ecommerce. However, research has been conducted to study the factors that enable and promote its adoption , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . The existent literature has allowed conceptualizing e-commerce and typifying it according to some characteristics. Table 1 groups the categories and applications of e-commerce defined by different authors in the literature: 42 Eliana Villa the buyer's decision . Finally, study  considered the performance of companies operating exclusively on the Internet, called e-companies or dotcoms, analyzing factors that are intrinsic to the Web site, such as accessibility, web presence and utility. nets are playing a fundamental role in online business and customers are more concerned about the ethical issues of electronic commerce, including security, privacy, and trust. The vast majority of public sectors According to  , in first world nations a better access to modern ICTs and the adoption of e-commerce applications stimulate bilateral commercial flows at various levels. The study points out efficient use of ICTs equipped with high speed Internet and safe servers as a crucial milestone to unblock e-commerce potential in developing countries. The public sector of depeloping countries acknowledges the importance of e-commerce for business to reach success, which highlights the importance of creating a supporting environment for the adoption and success of electronic commerce in the long term. In the same vein,  demonstrate that the public sector should particularly consider its commitment with e-commerce implementation, the generation of policies to regulate it, and the technological resources needed to implement it, as the main factors that mediate between e-commerce adequated use and its successful adoption. differred from each other in their key words, distance between the terms, and the search scope (between title, abstract, key words and full text), were carried out. The analysis of results and consensus among the participating researchers determined the following search equation: TITLE (e commerce W/5 adopt* ) OR ( e commerce W/5 appropriat* ) OR KEY ( electronic W/5 commerce W/5 adopt* ) OR ( electronic W/5 commerce W/5 appropriat*), which was the one that reported the highest affinity with the studies conducted on the theme. Including and excluding criteria were completely based on the search equation since all the downloaded articles resulting from the search were analyzed. The equation yielded a total of 408 records, which were processed and interpreted using Microsoft Excel and Data Analyzer (Thomson Reuter's software) to identify indicators of quantity and quality. In addition, free software CYTOSCPE was used for calculating indicators of structure and network topology maps of authors. On the other hand, the network is increasingly decentralized and more heterogeneous; that is, there are no common central authors for the entire field, but there are no common central authors for the subnetworks. There is a possibility that these subnetworks are related to the disaggregation of the field of knowledge and therefore may represent the fragmentation of knowledge. Finally, the study examined search conceptualize knowledge networks as consisting of nodes that serve as repositories of knowledge and agents that search for, adopt, transmit, and create knowledge. For this reason, nodes are simultaneously sources and recipients of information and knowledge. Likewise, such relationships constitute a means by which nodes search for information and knowledge; a medium through which information and knowledge diffuse and flow.