Original Research

An information and communication technology adoption framework for small, medium and micro-enterprises operating in townships South Africa

Stella Bvuma, Carl Marnewick
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 12, No 1 | a318 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v12i1.318 | © 2020 Stella Bvuma, Carl Marnewick | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2020 | Published: 20 August 2020

About the author(s)

Stella Bvuma, Applied Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Carl Marnewick, Applied Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) have been regarded as one of the critical driving forces for economic growth and development in South Africa (SA). In South Africa, SMMEs operate in townships and cities. However, there have been concerns about their failure rate and their inability to gain competitive advantage especially in the current era of rapid information and communication technologies (ICT) adoption.

Aim: This study aims to gain a deeper understanding of the factors affecting ICT adoption by township SMMEs. To further develop an ICT adoption framework for township SMMEs and provide guidelines to policy developers with the aim to increase growth and development.

Setting: The study examined the context of SMMEs in townships and explored ICT adoption theories or models so as to understand what factors are relevant in influencing ICT adoption by township SMMEs. A conceptual ICT adoption framework for township SMMEs was developed using Actor network theory (ANT) and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).

Method: A qualitative exploratory research method is adopted as it provides insight into the SMME characteristics and their level of ICT adoption and perceptions. The study used a sample of 21 SMME owners or managers operating in Soweto. Data was collected using in-depth interviews and observations.

Results: This study revealed that ICT adoption for township SMMEs is a complex and dynamic process which involves various factors. Township SMMEs are not adopting ICTs and the current ICTs adopted are not fully deployed. The perception of ICT adoption is equally influenced by external factors such as ICT support and ICT training amongst others. These actors drive the perceived benefits such as growth and sustainability which then influence the ICT adoption.

Conclusion: Township SMMEs requires unique interventions when encouraging them to fully adopt ICTs. They may adopt if correct guidelines are addressed such as ICT awareness and ICT training. The ICT adoption framework included factors that can be used by SMME owners or managers and policy makers when formulating guidelines towards ICT adoption for township SMMEs.


ICT adoption; SMME; sustainability; framework; technology acceptance model (TAM); actor network theory (ANT).


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