Digital transformation among SMEs: does gender matter?

Alam, Khorshed ORCID: and Ali, Mohammad Afshar ORCID: and Erdiaw-Kwasie, Michael O. and Murray, Peter A. ORCID: and Wiesner, Retha ORCID: (2022) Digital transformation among SMEs: does gender matter? Sustainability, 14 (1):535. pp. 1-20.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated some of the challenges that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face in times of crisis, disrupting their operations, weakening their financial positions, and exposing them to a wide range of financial risks. While previous studies have viewed digital transformation as a vital source of innovation and productivity growth for economic recovery in SMEs, there has been limited focus on digital transformation in the regional context, with very little attention focused on women-led enterprises. This study aims to investigate (i) the determinants of perception of digital transformation among regional SMEs, and (ii) whether the gender of the SME owner or manager has an impact on the drivers of the digital transformation experiences of SMEs operating in regional Australia. Building upon the resource-based view, this study uses a unique dataset of 281 SMEs collected from a survey conducted within a regional area of Queensland, Australia. Employing Feasible Generalised Least Squares and Generalised Least Squares estimations, the study found that the perceptions of digital transformation can be explained by the use of social network platforms, innovation processes, workplace culture, and information and communication technologies. This study also found that there is a significant difference between female-led and male-led SMEs regarding their perceptions of digital transformation. This study offers two key policy and practical insights: (i) digital transformation of regional SMEs should be used as a fundamental tool for crisis recovery strategies, and (ii) the need for policymakers to mainstream gender into post-crisis transformative interventions and policies should be fast tracked.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 01:58
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2022 23:21
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia; Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition; digital transformation; resource-based view; small and medium enterprise (SME); COVID-19
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150314 Small Business Management
14 Economics > 1403 Econometrics > 140301 Cross-Sectional Analysis
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150307 Innovation and Technology Management
Fields of Research (2020): 33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330406 Regional analysis and development
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350716 Small business organisation and management
38 ECONOMICS > 3802 Econometrics > 380201 Cross-sectional analysis
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910406 Technological and Organisational Innovation
B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9102 Microeconomics > 910299 Microeconomics not elsewhere classified
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280108 Expanding knowledge in economics
15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1503 Management and productivity > 150306 Technological and organisational innovation
15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1599 Other economic framework > 159999 Other economic framework not elsewhere classified
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