The paper shows how and why Home-Based Internet Businesses are drivers of variety. This paper argues, by means of five theoretical perspectives, that because of the variety HBIBs generate, they contribute to the economy over and above their direct and indirect contributions in terms of revenue and employment. A multiple case study approach is employed studying the best practices of eight HBIBs. It is found that HBIBs generate variety because of the unique way in which they operate, and because of the reasons why they are started. How HBIBs operate can be captured in the acronym SMILES: Speed, Multiple income, Inexpensive, LEan, and Smart. They are founded (amongst other motives) for reasons of autonomy, freedom and independence. Both aspects – the how and why – of HBIBs are conducive to the creation of variety as they facilitate trial-and-error commercialization of authentic ideas. Five theoretical perspectives posit that variety is important for the industry and the economy: evolutionary theory, strategic management, organic urban planning, opportunity recognition, and the knowledge economy. The findings are discussed in the context of each perspective.
Sayers, J.; Van Gelderen, M.; Keen, C. (2007). Home-based internet businesses as drivers of variety. (Department of Management and International Business Research Working Paper Series 2006, no. 5). Auckland, NZ: Massey University. Department of Management and International Business.