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A Strategic Framework for Rural Micro-Enterprise Development: The Integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT), E-Commerce, Marketing, and Actor-Network Theory

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For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

Using a contextualist, interpretivist research method anchored in a South African rural women's organization, this paper contributes to the discourse on ICT-enabled rural microeconomic development. A conceptual framework, encapsulating rural socioeconomic development, ICTs (e-commerce through a government-sponsored telecentre), and marketing (as a particular business process) is probed using an in-situ participative action research project in cooperation with the organization's management team; and analyzed through Actor-Network Theory. The results reveal key barriers experienced by a rural development organization exploring ICT-enabled migration paths from development (self-help projects) to micro-enterprise. These barriers include the impact of traditional practices on a modern organization; the struggle to align marketing principles with cultural constraints; the conceptual confusion of relating development principles to business practices in a community isolated from regional and national levels of development; the consequences of leapfrogging the phases of institutionalization when implementing ICTs; and the consequences of the transitory mobilization of actors.

Affiliations: 1: Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia;, Email:


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