Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Rural Business Clusters: The Relation Between ICT Adoption and Benefits Derived from Cluster Membership
Charles Steinfield, Robert LaRose, Han Ei Chew and Stephanie Tom Tong
This study examines the relationships between ICT usage, the benefits a company derives from membership in a rural business cluster, and the success of rural companies. Analysis of 333 rural businesses located in northern Lower Michigan showed a strong relationship between (a) ICT adoption and benefits derived from the membership in business clusters (b) ICT adoption and self-reported business success, and (c) benefits derived from business clusters and business success. Although analysis indicates that these relationships may be industry-specific, results suggest that ICT adoption by rural enterprises may have advantages for the region's social capital and business success and may help reduce the digital divide experienced in rural communities.
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