A synthesis of boundary conditions with adopting digital platforms in SMEs: an intuitionistic multi-layer decision-making framework

Hannan Amoozad Mahdiraji, Fatemeh Yaftiyan, Aliasghar Abbasi-Kamardi, Vahid Jafari-Sadeghi, Jean‐Michel Sahut*, Léo-Paul Dana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transformational entrepreneurship (TE) has become a prevalent mind-set to survive societal, ecological and economic sustainability factors, particularly in emerging economies. Interestingly, different types of digital platforms (DPs) (i.e., transaction, innovation and integration) have assisted in this transformation. Although the implementation of DPs by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been easing this transition process, several boundary conditions persist, and solutions are in demand. This research aims to investigate the main boundary conditions to DP execution by SMEs towards TE in emerging countries similar to Iran. Indisputably, this study contributes to providing in-depth qualitative and quantitative insights into level-based interactions between such barriers to TE diffusion among Iranian SMEs. In this regard, a mixed-method approach has been employed while extracting the list of DP boundary conditions via a systematic literature review. Then, in the quantitative section, a multi-layer decision-making approach consisting of Delphi, interpretive structural modelling (ISM), and matrix-based multiplication applied to a classification (MICMAC) has been applied to screen for the most important boundary conditions to TE, analyse the level-based interactions between the finalised boundary conditions and determine the importance and role of DP boundary conditions. To consider the uncertainty of the socioeconomic environment in emerging countries and to include the intuition and hesitation of the entrepreneurs in the analytical section, intuitionistic fuzzy sets were considered, and a novel IF-Delphi-ISM-MICMAC approach embedded with the multi-scenario analysis was performed. In either scenario, obstacles associated with extant laws and low governmental supportive policies, inconsistency between the technical requirements of the business network and DPs’ features, and low accessibility of digital technologies were the first-level boundary conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1723-1751
Number of pages29
JournalThe Journal of Technology Transfer
Issue number5
Early online date20 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2023


  • digital platforms
  • transformational entrepreneurship
  • SME
  • emerging economies
  • intuitionistic fuzzy sets
  • Delphi


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