The Status of B2B E-Commerce in the South African Manufacturing Sector: Evolutionary or Revolutionary?

While B2B e-commerce represents a major technological innovation and marks a significant development in organisational interconnectivity (i.e., the ability to network both internally and externally), it is premature to categorise e-commerce in the South African manufacturing sector as 'revolutionary'. A technological revolution implies a historic transformation bringing about profound, pervasive change in business processes. The research findings reveal that rather than a 'great event' having occurred, the reality of e-commerce in the South African manufacturing sector appears to be more mundane, i.e. the result of an evolutionary process of IT integration into existing work practices. Therefore, e-commerce cannot claim to have radically changed the way most business is conducted on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, a technology-focused approach to e-commerce tends to deflect attention away from far-reaching systemic changes that need to be made in the South African manufacturing sector.

  • Authors: Sagren Moodley
  • Year: 2002
  • Organisation: University of Witwatersrand
  • Publisher: IDRC/CRDI
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