Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Dieter Fink

Second Advisor

Janice Burn

Abstract

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have many options when purchasing goods or services. These include personal contacts and networks, familiar centralised supply sources and other ad hoc means. One purchasing possibility is to buy from and sell to other businesses within a similar geographic area. The benefits of buying and selling locally may not occur to SMEs. They seek, like other consumers, to get value for money, fast and efficient service, and a reasonable level of quality. Many factors can impinge upon an SME's decision to purchase locally. It can be assumed that, given a reasonable local option, SMEs wish to buy from and sell to other local businesses. It can also be reasonably expected that if government purchasers were willing to purchase within their geographic area, SMEs would be interested in supplying local government as well. This study investigates SMEs in the Wanneroo and Joondalup Regions of Western Australia and considers the factors that may influence their decision to use the 2Cities Business-to-Government (B2G) portal. The study is concerned with gaining an insight into particular phenomena from a participants' perspective (SME) with the researcher as the primary instrument for data collection and analysis. The study requires the researcher to get close to the natural setting of the study and interact with the small business owners. This study triangulated results from three major sources. One source of data was contemporary Wanneroo and Joondalup secondary data gathered from research reports relating to local SME matters. This was combined with the semi-structured interviews of forty SMEs and two focus groups. Participant SMEs were invited to discuss factors affecting their decision to use or not use the 2Cities B2G portal. SMEs have a clear perception of what impedes and assists them in running their business and this comes through strongly. The problem facing the 2Cities portal management board is the extent to which it can influence the SME decision to buy and sell within the local area using the portal. The results form the basis of an improved model for B2G participation.

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