Ximena Belen Dure Gutierrez MSc Entrepreneurship & Innovation

This study investigates generative AI adoption, a topic of heightened anticipation since the public launch of gen-AI tools in 2022. Despite the acknowledged impact of disruptive technologies, limited research explores its adoption by startups.

This study employs qualitative methods to address this research gap, conducting semi-structured interviews with nine influential figures from Spanish digital startups, including founders and top management.

The results reveal vital enablers and barriers to gen-AI adoption. Moreover, these findings distinguish between startups with extensive adoption and those with limited implementation by exhibiting distinctions in founders’ adoption profiles and specific startup organizational elements, including resource availability, digital orientation, and organizational culture.

These conclusions underscore founders’ pivotal role in shaping their startups’ gen-AI adoption strategies and propose a conceptual model grounded in socio-technical systems theory to synthesize these findings. This dissertation concludes with practical and theoretical contributions and potential avenues for future research.

Key concepts: Socio-technical systems theory, disruptive technologies, technology adoption, startups, founders, generative AI

26 February 2024