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Cultural Barriers in the Adoption of Emerging Technologies



No Yes
Cultural Barriers in the Adoption of Emerging Technologies
Jenine Beekhuyzen
Liisa von Hellens
Mark Siedle
Griffith University
Brisbane, Australia;;
Access to communication technology continues to be a global problem. Countries are digitally divided on the access
and availability of such technologies. Even in developed countries, minority groups are disadvantaged in terms of
technology use because of limited ability to utilize the emerging technologies or access to such technologies. This
paper reviews the literature of technology adoption across different national cultures and discusses the technology
adoption within small and medium sized enterprises (SME). The Australian situation is compared and contrasted
with other countries and a research agenda is suggested.
1 Introduction
Even though technology is becoming more pervasive, there are still more people in the world without access to
technology than with. Many people that do have access to technology find the experiences of their interactions
difficult, cumbersome and unhappy due to the complexity of such technology. Conversely, even though certain
cultures may be somewhat resistant to change, technology can be an overwhelming force under certain sociological
and economic conditions (Mejias, Shepherd, Vogel & Lazaneo, 1997).
Recent advancements in technologies, such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and wireless seem to be of minor
importance to many cultures for a number of reasons, such as, language differences, cost of adoption, or simply lack
of telecommunications infrastructure within the countries themselves. What is ‘old’ and ‘redundant’ technology for
some countries is found to be of vital importance to others, with differing cultural opinions surrounding the reason
for particular technology adoption. It is the suggestion that such differences in opinions can shape a country’s
dependence on technology itself, and is the reason certain cultures are unlikely to adopt such recent advancements
such as wireless communications and web-specific e-commerce technologies. Similar divides are evident across
different organisational settings. For instance, the technology adoption patterns of many Small and Medium
Enterprises (SME) could be compared with that of the poorer countries.
In terms of technology adoption, this paper presents the current situation that a particular group of minorities face.
To put this in context, technology adoption is considered within SMEs. SMEs are a group with little access to new
and emerging technology and this paper presents the Australian SME situation within the global context.
SMEs across a selection of western nations were explored, with cultural issues contributing to the success or failure
of systems being identified. Several key differences were found regarding technology spending, information sharing,
telecommunications, user involvement and a host of other issues. By determining the way in which different cultures
evaluate the usefulness and/or usability of technologies based on their perceptions, this paper intends to provide
relevant information that may assist future efforts to improve technology usefulness and adaptability across different
The literature suggests that SMEs are slow adopters of technology, often purchasing long after release and regularly
dealing with handed down technology from other companies. These issues could have negative influences on
technology adoption. This issue is speculated to be of rising importance due to the increasing supply and demand for
more efficient and effective Internet communications technologies. Such technologies may prove to have unknown
cultural implications for foreign and native business partners communicating for the first time or on an increasing
basis. Further studies have the opportunity to extend on this research and provide cultural-specific technological
solutions that may in turn, be of benefit to countries where technology is inhibiting productivity or communications.
2 The Context: Small and Medium Enterprises - SMEs
The growing marketspace for SMEs is creating a space for multiple players to work in similar markets producing an
often-competitive environment. The competition can be fierce and SMEs must have an ability to dynamically
respond to rapidly changing markets. The strength of this ability plays a significant role in an organisation’s growth
and success. The multitude of barriers for success suggest that that SMEs are not able to enjoy many benefits of
being wired to the global network, and are handicapped in participating fully in society's economic, political and
social life.
It seems there is a push for SMEs to be connected to the digital marketplace, and this is evidenced by the number of
initiatives targeting small and medium-sized enterprises around the world. Within Australia, there are a number of
grant and funding programs to encourage these activities, such as the Small Business Enterprise Culture Program
and the Financing Innovation Growth (FIG) Program. In the UK, the UK Online's SME targets exemplify the
conventional wisdom view of a homogeneous small business sector, within which firms take an ordered, sequential
progression on the route to Internet technology adoption (Martin & Matlay 2001). Also in the UK is the Small
Business Research Portal, which provides references to information about SMEs across the world
These initiatives are often targeted at particular industries, with a recent focus on biotechnology SMEs by the
European Commission. A biotech project ‘NATIBS’ is just one the projects being funded through Economic and
Technical Intelligence actions (ETIs), with specific support for the SME sector. ETIs are designed to promote
innovation within SMEs, disseminate information on scientific developments, and promote best
practice”(European_Commission 2005). In the global space of SMEs, there has been commitment by as many as 50
countries across the world to the OECD Bologna Charter on SME Policies (OECD 2000).
Taken from the literature on SMEs, MacGregor, Bunker & Waugh (1998) and Yap, Soh & Raman (1992) suggest
that SMEs have the following characteristics:
Small management team
Strong owner influence
Limited resources
Centralised power and control
Lack of specialist staff
Multifunctional management
Lack of control over business environment
Limited market share
Low employee turnover
Reluctance to take risks
Lack the necessary expertise
Avoid sophisticated software or applications
3 Technology Adoption within Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Technology adoption within SMEs is affected by several factors, often being influenced by at least one (and often
many) of the factors presented by MacGregor et al (1998). Raymond & Magnenet (1982) long ago suggested that
SME characteristics, such as their limited resources and firm’s dependency on a few key individuals often creates
important challenges for development and implementation of information technology; in Beekhuyzen & Bernhardt’s
2005 paper discussing the importance of our human resources and the invisibility of other necessary resources in this
context, this still rings true. In line with these studies, Thong and Yap (1995) identified characteristics of the firm as
well as characteristics of new technologies adopted. In terms of an SMEs CEO, they believe that SMEs that are
likely to adopt new IT will usually have a CEO with a positive attitude, and who is is innovative and knowledgeable
about IT.
According to a number of studies, (Matlay, 2000; Culkin and Smith, 2000), it is the responsibility of the small
business owner/ manager to recognise opportunities and threats within their chosen target market. These studies
suggest that “the reactive or proactive approach of owner/managers to rapid technological changes in the
marketplace is crucial to ICT adoption and implementation” and that “managerial commitment and perceptions of
ICT benefits are key features in this process” (Poon and Swatman, 1997). Within the context of SMEs, there is often
a need to respond very quickly to the changing needs of a very dynamic environment and industry. Organisations
lacking this leadership are disadvantaging themselves. Management skills and relevant experiences become vitally
important to the decision-making process relating to the timely adoption of new technology (Collins-Dodd, 1999).
According to Yaptengco, the largest barrier to adopting new technology is the cost of investing in an IT system,
“because IT is never cheap, most SMEs cannot afford to implement an integrated IT system” (Ramos 2003).
Another barrier presented by Yaptengco is the lack of understanding of existing laws covering IT issues. Her
opinion is that issues such as Intellectual Property (IP) are not fully understood by most SMEs, thus, leaving them
with their IPs unprotected without them knowing it.
3.1 Barriers to technology adoption
Through exploring the trends of technology adoption (or non-adoption) within SMEs, we can attempt to identify
specific cultural barriers that may impede technology adoption across different cultures. This can result in further
disadvantages to SMEs located in those countries.
3.1.1 SMEs in Italy
In 2002, a report from the office of the Italian Minister for Innovation and Technology suggested that e-commerce is
one of the most important areas of the B2B sector, “especially as regards transactions among small and medium-
sized enterprises (SMEs), which will be able to benefit considerably from innovation in their production processes
and marketing activities” (MIT and Technologies 2002). In the same study, Italian SMEs were referred to as,
“constitute(ing) the backbone of Italy's industrial system as regards both quantity (number of such companies,
turnover and total employees) and quality (the specifics of their output and organisational structures).
A group of three separate studies by Scupola (2003) into SMEs and technology adoption in Italy found a number of
barriers to the adoption of e-commerce, electronic data interchange (EDI) and other internet-related technology
devices such as PDAs. These barriers include:
Organisational readiness, such as financial and technological resources of the firm
External pressures divided into competitive pressures and suppliers upgrading to newer technology (that
SMEs are then forced to comply with)
Perceived benefits of the technology - for instance the reputation of the brands of PDAs and the different
benefits that each provides.
This study identified the expected e-commerce related barriers and benefits; however, it also highlighted that market
availability of related technologies is a factor that greatly influences the adoption and implementation of e-
commerce. (Scupola 2003) According to Scupola, this was not the only unexpected result. The study further
indicated that the SMEs of Southern Italy never stated once that the cost of e-commerce adoption and
implementation was an issue. This therefore suggests that if management of these SMEs saw opportunities for things
like competitive advantage, cost savings, or increased productivity through more streamlined business operations,
the company would be more than happy to invest in e-commerce, because they could clearly see the medium-long
term benefits (Scupola 2003).
A fear of Internet security threats also became apparent throughout Scupola’s (2003) study, with several respondents
concerned about their competitors copying their products online: “by putting the collection of products on the
internet they offer a service to customers and do a favour to competitors.” This, of course, depends on the market of
each SMEs. If the design and quality are very important, yet easily copied, an Internet catalogue business may prove
more harm than good.
The final adoption barriers found from Scupola’s (2003) study were put forward by several respondent consulting
SMEs and included “a lack of competence, knowledge and awareness of the technology and its potential”.
The study by Scupola’s (2003) also determined what SMEs have found to be the main benefits of internet-related
technologies. The most important short-term benefits, in order of importance, were summarised as follows:
Around the clock improved communication efficiency
Administrative cost savings
Savings time
The most important experienced long-term benefits, in order of importance, were summarised as follows:
A contribution to internationalisation
Increased market potential
Continuing the benefits, Scupola’s (2003) Italian SME study discussed related technologies and how big an
influence, direct or indirect, this aspect can have on technology adoption. For example, one of the Italian respondent
companies explained how “even though it had developed an online catalogue, the company could not put the
available inventories on the Web catalogue because of a lack of other technologies such as scanners and the digital
camera and therefore it had to outsource this process.”
To understand what is wrong with this process, one must consider this process in terms of time: The sampled
products have to be taken to the photographer, processed, developed and then passed on to the web developer who
scans them into the SMEs web catalogue and then uploads them to the SMEs website. By this time, a few days have
passed and the SME product catalogue may have to change. For a dynamic web catalogue that needs to change as
products sell, the process of outsourcing in this fashion fails miserably, and the Italian SMEs seem to be aware of
this factor.
Moving away from the technological context, the series of studies in Italy found some large adoption barriers for
SMEs coming from an organisational context, specifically, resistance to change. The studies suggest that once a
technology-related initiative has been adopted, “the employees’ knowledge and relative resistance to change is
considered key to its diffusion in the company. One of the Italian SME respondents, for example, explicitly states
that the diffusion of e-commerce within the company can start going well only when it gets into the DNA of
people.” (Scupola 2003)
Finally, the following points are very important for SMEs when considering adopting and implementing technology
(from the external environmental context) (Scupola 2003):
Quality of access to suppliers of technology-related services
Government intervention
Pressure from buyers, suppliers and competitors
To explain further, many respondent SMEs desired intervention from the government, in terms of subsidies,
financial incentives such as training, tax breaks and so forth, but particularly in terms of informational campaigns
and awareness creation. Other companies specified a need for a better screening process of companies applying for
state support for electronic systems and training. One point that stood out to me was this: “…as long as the local
SMEs do not understand or are unable to write in English, the advantages that the Internet can offer at an
international level are very limited.” A study by PriceWaterHouseCoopers, cited in Scupola’s (Scupola 2003) paper,
found that an important factor that prevented many Chinese SMEs from using the internet and certain technology
was the English language barrier. Until language and cultural barriers can be overcome with multilingual support,
this will continue to be a large adoption impediment.
Public administration was found to be an important change agent to increase the circulation of technology,
specifically e-commerce, among SMEs in Italy. It is believed that when large public organisations start using the
Internet to replace their current paper-based operations, such as taxes, citizen and company information etc. in this
country, e-commerce among smaller SMEs will be more likely to follow (Scupola 2003).
The study by Scupola (2003) also found that external pressures from competitors and trading partners is likely to
force other SMEs to adopt technology, possibly prematurely. One example given was that of an SME with a
competitor that had a web catalogue. The SME said that even though they preferred sending CD-ROMs to customers
regarding product description (which they had done for years), they were forced to invest in a web catalogue so that
their customers had the option; otherwise it was likely that they would go to the web-based competitor for the
convenience (Scupola 2003). And not uncommon, trust was found to be major adoption issue. Most SMEs
responded with distrust towards IT consultants, which appear to have a pure salesman image in Italy (Scupola 2003).
3.1.2 SMEs in Australia
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Survey of Small Business for the May 2004 quarter
indicates that Australian small businesses are travelling well in the current economic cycle. With 3.3 million
employees across the small business sector in Australia, this represents a crucially important segment of the national
economy (ACCI 2004). The same results report that small business has continued to expand their employee
numbers. The primary goal of Harker & Van Akkeren’s (2002) Australian study was to understand the mobile data
technology needs of SMEs and SoHo (Small Office/Home Office) in a regional setting. They found the following
adoption barriers to IT:
Owner / manager characteristics such as their perceived benefits of PDAs, computer literacy, perceived
control, their mistrust of the IT industry and time and financial pressures.
Return on Investment (ROI) - SMEs make many decisions based on ROI. SMEs need technology that
provides fast ROI, for SMEs are concerned with small-medium term survival rather than long term market
share like large businesses.
Firm characteristics, such as organisational readiness (staff, suppliers), market pressures from competitors
etc., size, sector and even the structural sophistication of the firm (its current IT infrastructure and need for
e-mail, inventory management etc)
According to Harker and Van Akkeren (2002) “Previous studies identify that the marketing of technological
innovation to SME owners/managers is a minefield of emotion, attitudes, behavioural intention and perceptions.
Coupled with other factors considered important to owner/mangers such as cost and technical complexity, plus
issues such as computer literacy of the owner/manger, and the size, sector and status of the firm, it would appear that
marketers of mobile data technologies have many barriers to overcome.” This Australian study found that SMEs
will typically go through three phases when determining whether to adopt IT:
Assessing IT benefits, organisational culture and firm-suited IT
Assessing internal resources and procedures
Evaluating external environment, support and services
Harker & Van Akkeren (2002) discuss how Australia’s adoption of e-commerce and related technologies is widely
varied between states and even more so between regional and city-based firms. This, however, was found not to be
the case with mobile technologies, with evidence showing a high adoption across all states and regions in Australia.
“Mobile data technologies, which ‘marry’ mobile phones and e-commerce technologies, are seen as eliminating time
and distance as barriers for regional businesses in their adoption of these technologies.” (Harker and Van Akkeren
The paper by Harker & Van Akkeren (2002) also discusses the reasons mobile data technologies are not being
adopted by SMEs currently:
Lack of speed of mobile technologies. They are slow and inefficient
Lack of standardised IT environment for developing mobile data applications
Limited bandwidth
Higher usage costs than most overseas markets
Increased latency
Susceptibility to transmission noise and call dropouts
Limited memory and CPU sizes
Small monochrome screens
Erratic connections
Questionable security and standards
It is therefore a suggestion of Harker & Van Akkeren’s study that perhaps adopters are waiting for just some of
these problems to disappear before choosing to enter the mobile technology sector.
There was also evidence in this study to suggest that people may not want so many devices to carry: “I find it hard
enough to remember to take my bag, my purse, my car keys and get in the car with three kids, let alone three or four
other devices!” (Harker and Van Akkeren 2002) Mobile phones have shown their worth as a somewhat ‘needed’
item in today’s society, with a need to get in touch with friends and family easily. A PDA however, lacks this need,
except for the businessperson who wants to have a hands-on calendar at their fingertips.
3.1.3 SMEs in Ireland
In 2001, the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland (CCI) announced details of “one of the most ambitious e-Business
Training Programmes ever to be launched in Ireland” (CCI 2001). The programme, aimed at small and medium
sized companies, sought to deliver training in excess of 4,000 companies across Ireland.
According to Egan, Clancy & O’Toole (2003), 99.4% of enterprises in Ireland are SMEs and they account for just
less than half of the total enterprise employment in Ireland. That suggests a staggering number of small businesses
that could be benefiting from innovative technologies. Their study states that many SMEs are “gearing up at the
front-end of their business process through the use of e-commerce tools such as e-mail and having a webpage”
(Egan et al. 2003). This study explored whether these e-commerce initiatives were continued further to back-end
support, such as a web catalogue, EDI and so forth. The results were very disappointing in this regard. It became
clear that 91% of respondents use a PC and 73% use e-mail, the presence of the really beneficial e-commerce
technology, such as web catalogues for online selling, online banking and EDI were basically non-existent.
In regard to respondents’ use of email, responses suggested that the companies in the primary sector who adopted
e-mail did so mainly due to the influence of dominant suppliers (67%) who they rely upon for production inputs
(Egan et al. 2003). When asked about their promotional web pages, SMEs replied that use of this technology was a
reactive response primarily due to customers asking if they had a website. In a further study, customers were found
to be the key driver (over 86% of the time) for an SME to adopt e-mail and company web pages. Perhaps this
suggests that these businesses have been driven to adopting technology and have implemented it without much
motivation or knowledge about how it could make their business more productive (Egan, et al. 2003).
The SME industry in Ireland appears to have been under-informed about the benefits of technology “most of the
SMEs in the audited companies were only realising low-level benefits from the use of e-commerce tools.” (Egan et
al., 2003). To overcome adoption barriers in Ireland, this study noted the following:
A concentration on benefits and direct-costs involved will be crucial elements to winning adopters in the
Need for simpler systems
Robust systems
3.1.4 SMEs in the US
There is evidence from Kawamoto (2004) to suggest that as the latest technology advances, both consumers and
business users want less in a handheld, in order to simplify these somewhat complex machines. The study found that
the two main functions needed or wanted from PDAs included voice and personal information management (PIM)
capabilities, as apposed to devices that included many other integrated functionality that was really not necessary to
SME business operations. As Kawamoto (2004) states:
“The manufacturers aren’t asking users the right questions. They’re asking people if they want just
one device instead of three. Of course people are going to say yes. What they’re not asking is, how
many devices are you willing to carry? We found people are usually willing to carry three.”
The same report from Kawamoto (2004) found that people are more likely to adopt portable devices as the size and
complexity of using the devices decreases, “People aren’t really interested in video clips on their phone or portable
media storage, but PIM makes sense to them …as long as all their devices can communicate with each other and
work together, then they’re willing to own several devices.”
Kawamoto’s (2004) study argued that people aren’t just willing to own several devices, but they would actually
prefer to keep them separate, again, for the simplicity factor: phone calls should stay with mobile phone and PIMs
should stay with PDAs. When a mobile phone rings, a business user can get out their PDA to take notes and check
their schedule. If the PDA was the phone, as some articles suggest is the movement within industry, things may
become more difficult than anticipated. User needs must come first before technological innovation. Innovation
should be driven from user needs.
Simes (2002) acknowledges a technology adoption problem with SMEs and concludes that the problem can be
resolved firstly through the creation of a nationwide database of SMEs and secondly by using this database in an
awareness campaign to speed up the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) by SMEs. This
conclusion was reached by recommendations given from a study taken of SMEs in Metro Manilla, Cebu and Davao.
The survey also recommended “the development of e-government to increase citizens access to government services
as well as the enhancement of network infrastructure server to facilitate usage of ICT by SMEs.” (Simes 2002)
This same survey by Simes (2002) found that only 22.7% of SMEs surveyed used electronic handheld devices, such
as Palm Pilots, Pocket PCs etc, for business purposes. Further, SMEs were found to mainly use ICTs for research
and communication and seldom for business related e-commerce, such as inventory management and so forth, with
an average of 15 hours per month of internet usage.
The study concluded that SMEs lack of ICT adoption is due to their “lack of awareness and knowledge of the other
benefits in the areas of promotion, sales and procurement” with respect to what e-commerce and PDAs could
provide (Simes 2002). Simes’ (2002) study indicates both external and internal barriers to ICT adoption among
SMEs. The external barriers are unfavourable economic environment, high cost of ICT and security concerns,
whereas the internal barriers include poor internal communications infrastructure within SME firms, lack of ICT
awareness and knowledge, and inadequacy of ICT-capable and literate manager / workers.
In response to these barriers, the use of a national database is suggested to monitor SMEs e-commerce actions as
well as government incentives, such as the introduction of free ICT training and award programmes for SMEs.
Banks were also noted as a potential ICT awareness incentive for SMEs: “Initiatives such as lower borrowing rates,
broad credit extension facilities, technology transfer from big business and discounts on business solution software
packages and software licenses can also do a lot in encouraging SMEs to adopt and use ICT and e-commerce.”
(Simes 2002)
A Californian study into SMEs and small office / home office (SoHo) by Trott (2004) looked into broadband and
business and came to one clear conclusion: These small businesses prefer reliability and consistency over speed and
cheap prices: “Once quality is assured, they’d rather have faster service than cheaper service.” (Trott 2004)
This study further explained that cost was not an issue for SMEs / SoHo, and again argued that reliability is the
number one consideration for these businesses, followed closely by speed. Voice over Inter Protocol (VoIP) was
also mentioned as a future positive incentive for SMEs and SoHo to adopt ICT: “Increasing speed of access and the
ability to handle heavier data are the most likely drivers of SMEs and SoHos. Throughout the next few years, VoIP
applications promise substantial cost savings.” (Trott 2004) Please note, this article also discusses satellite internet
access. Although there seems to be a lack of demand for such technologies in Australia, the mobile telephone
companies are closely observing the uptake of voice of IP and are engaged in joint research projects (ref to Nokia’s
research collaboration with universities).
Savvas (2003) notes that compared to enterprise resource planning (ERP) or other supply chain systems, the start-up
costs of mobile solution can be considered modest for SMEs. It was also noted that because e-business technology is
relatively new, SMEs that plan carefully can reap the benefits of first-mover advantages, at a relatively cheap price.
Savvas’ (2003) research concludes that for SMEs and SoHo, “it is wireless LAN, rather than souped-up mobile
handsets, that hold the greatest promise.”
The latest of the IEEE 802.11 standards will be “pitched” at the markets of SME and SoHo, as it is believed that
SMEs will be content with wired equivalency protocol (WEP). The latest version “g”, offers the speed of its
predecessor 802.11a, the unlicensed spectrum of its other predecessor 802.11b “giving the users the best of both
worlds”. Presently however, the “g” standard is yet to receive security approval from the Wi-Fi Alliance industry
body (Savvas 2003).
3.2 Identified cultural differences in technology adoption
Many papers have been published on the cultural differences in technology adoption (see
30723-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html). The results from an extensive study of SMEs carried out by Grover, Segars &
Durand (1994) have identified the following cultural differences in technology adoption:
Technology Spending
As a percentage of sales, technology spending is not found to be a largely differing
factor across cultures. However, with regard to spending associated with systems
success, very different results among countries started to emerge. The U.S. for
example, had a clear association with budget and market success, whereas French and
Korean respondents showed no such relationship, thus emphasising the competitive
nature of the U.S. and their need to justify investment in tangible terms.
Centralised versus
A significant difference was observed within the number of centralised environments
between the various countries. Korea for example, had a larger percentage of
centralised environments compared to the U.S. and France, who reported a higher
percentage of distributed environments.
Hardware &
Overall, U.S. and French firms mirrored each other in regard to deployment of
hardware and telecommunication activities. It is believed that despite the vast
differences in architecture and telecommunications activities of Korean respondents,
higher levels of success of their Western counterparts may be incentive for Korean
companies to change their ways and follow in the footsteps of U.S. and French firms.
Innovation/Risk taking
Innovation and risk taking is encouraged in 37 percent of U.S. firms, 38 percent in
French firms and only 14 percent in Korean firms. However, all countries noted
significant overall firm and performance impacts associated with risk taking. “In
particular, system usage was particularly higher in all countries that encourage risk
IS and Strategic Planning
Formal integration of IS and strategic planning was reported by only 44 percent of
Korean respondents as apposed to much higher 74 percent and 78 percent respectively
for U.S. and French firms. It is believed that these findings are the result of Korean
firms adopting a more formalised structure, which are slower to change. (As apposed
to the participative structure found in U.S. and France, which is believed to allow an
easier transition in terms of integrating plans of top-level management and functional-
level management).
Information Sharing
Information sharing between departments was found to be significantly higher in
France (59 percent), as apposed to the U.S. (35 percent) and Korea (28 percent).
4 Next Stage of Research
This paper presents only the initial stages of this exploratory research into the complex phenomena of technology
adoption within small and medium enterprises so details of actual data collection and analysis are not yet complete.
However, the following stages are planned for 2005.
We plan to survey a representative sample of SMEs in Australia on their uptake and use of new technologies in their
workplace. This survey will be followed up with detailed qualitative face-to-face interviews with representatives
from the surveyed group. These interviews will attempt to uncover and confirm some of the reasons why females are
slow to adopt technology and how this affects the productivity and efficiency of their SME. Approximately 20
people will be included in the interview process.
In addition, non-intrusive observations will be carried out with the participants identified for interviews. The
observations will consist of the researcher following people around their working environment to see how they
currently carry out their regular work (technology and non-technology dependant). It is hoped the insights gained
through the observation process could identify areas where new technologies would be of benefit. It is also
anticipated that the observations will result in an understanding of how new technologies might impact on the
organisation, and why they are not being incorporated into the organisation at an earlier stage.
User-Centred Design (UCD) as a field of study provides the context for this research and is discussed further in
Vredenburg, Isensee & Righi (2002). UCD is being used in longitudinal research projects based at the Smart Internet
Technology Cooperative Research Centre (SITCRC) in Australia. The main objective of this centre is to develop
product innovations that utilise Internet technologies. Among the target group of the SITCRC’s technology
developments is the SME sector in Australia.
The use of User Centred Design principles, utilising personas and scenarios will help to identify possible successful
technologies by giving a deeper understanding of how a user for instance a female small business owner will interact
with a particular technology (e.g. mobile device such as a PDA) in a specific organisational context such as IT small
business. The development process of any systems and products for the small business sector includes: formulating
the design concept of the products, participating actively in the detailed product design, providing an evaluation
framework to assess the usability/usefulness of the artefact/products (action research/co-design), and performing the
usability testing (iterative design) (Burke, Castro, Singh & Turner, 2002). The approach to development in this
project includes the application of User Centred Design methodologies that has been tested within a number of
contexts and is discussed further in Beekhuyzen, von Hellens, Morley, & Nielsen (2003) and Astbrink &
Beekhuyzen (2003).
Initial stages of the user studies involve identifying user requirements and comparing them to discussions in the
current literature. This will also include an analysis of possible technology solutions in relation to particular user
groups. Culture is widely cited in the information systems literature as a possible barrier to technology adoption. The
early stages of the project will also explore the cultural environments of the case sites and how they may influence
the introduction of new technology and practices.
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... True to the motto of optimizing the existing technology, research and development expenses are more likely to be implemented in the established technologies. In this context, the respective company culture plays a major role in the adaptation of innovations [30]. ...
... So me co mpanies assess emerging technologies differently than other companies. Aspects such as the feeling of threat by substitution caused by new technologies, taking into account the corporate and management culture, play an important role [30]. The increased number of patent applications for technology revitalizing companies is tied to the intention of the respective company to further expand its position in this technology through further research and development work and subsequent product development. ...
... Even with these partnerships, effective capacity building and training workshops must be carefully conducted. As mentioned, limited language availability of associated software remains an obstacle, and demonstrates the important role of private institutions in expanding their multilingual support (Beekhuyzen et al., 2005). Further, key considerations include determining the appropriate criteria for trainee candidates, the local stakeholders and scientists involved, teaching styles, local infrastructure limitations, and financial considerations (Miloslavich et al., 2018). ...
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As the use of aerial tools such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for mangrove monitoring gains in popularity, understanding who leads this research and where is critical for expanding efficient monitoring methods and achieving international commitments to sustainable development, technology transfer and reduced inequality. Between 2000 and 2019, mangrove research using aerial tools was largely conducted in and led by institutions in higher income countries, despite High-income countries accounting for only 9% of global mangrove coverage. Of studies where the country of the lead institution differed from that of the study site, only 38% of the studies included local co-authors. These results echo historical patterns of research conducted by researchers from higher income countries on biodiversity concentrated in lower income countries, frequently with limited involvement of local scientists—known as “helicopter research.” The disconnect between where mangroves are located and where aerial research is conducted may result from barriers such as government restrictions, limited financial and technical resources, language barriers hindering UAV deployment, or hampered findability of local research. Our findings suggest that expertise for aerial surveys currently lies in “High-income, Annex II” and “Upper-middle-income, Non-Annex” countries, and both groups could invest time and resources in building local, long-term technological capacity in Upper-middle, Lower-middle and Low-income countries. We identify strategic partnerships to expand aerial tools for mangrove research that also address commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and potential international collaborations under the framework proposed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
... Many small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMEs) did not exploit Internet opportunities to provide online services either because of awareness or of lack of expertise and resources (Karanasios S, and Burgess S, 2008). Additionally, small enterprises adopt slowly the technology in their services (Beekhuyzen et al, 2005). Internet provides great opportunities in tourism industries so as to benefit from them easily. ...
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The main purpose of this study is to examine the potential relationship existing between e-commerce and Greek tourism industry. New technologies have great potentials that can be used by tourism companies, in an attempt to increase their customer base, their revenues and consequently, the tourism flow in Greece. According to Eurostat, Greece attracts more than 17.5 million people each year, contributing 15% to the national G.D.P.. In order to explore the nature and extent of e-commerce adoption by Greek tourism companies and the strategies implemented or not in this direction, a closed questionnaire survey has been carried out. A number of 142 questionnaires were obtained by Greek tourism companies. Statistical analysis revealed some interesting correlations of measures connected with the above field. Although a diversification was found on the impact of e-commerce to each business area of the tourism sector (hotels, car rentals, travel agencies), we discovered that the firm size plays a significant role to the adoption of e-commerce by tourism enterprises.
... Both activities (CTI and TF) are crucial for current enterprises, since they address organizational and cultural barriers to adopt and harness the potential of strategic emerging technologies. In fact, literature suggests that this is even more important for SMEs, since they are slow adopters of technology, often purchasing long after release and regularly dealing with technology handed down from other companies [4]. If a company, especially medium or small, does not succeed in the early adoption of an emerging technology, it can be irremediably surpassed by those competitors who did know how to adopt it correctly. ...
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The present work is framed within tech mining and technology forecasting fields. It proposes an approach which combines a set of quantitative methods to completely describe an emerging technology, based on science, technology & innovation data. These methods are scientometrics, with which a customized and clean database is generated; hierarchical clustering to generate the ontology of the technology; principal component analysis, which is used to identify the main sub-technologies; time series analysis to quantitatively analyze the evolution of the technology, as well as future development; and technology roadmapping to integrate all the generated information in a single visual element. The results can be regarded as inputs for competitive technical intelligence activities, as they provide information about the past evolution of the technology, as well as potential future fields of application. The practical application of the approach, to BD technology, yields outcomes that allow conclusions to be drawn, such as how competitive intelligence, query processing and internet of things sub-technologies have been dominating the basic technology during the initial evolution, and how competitive intelligence and data communications systems will do so in the short-term future. Keywords: technology roadmapping, technology forecasting, time series analysis, emerging technologies, scientometrics, big data
... From information processing and sharing and social networking to online commerce, virtually nothing seems impossible with Internet (Kumar and Becerra Fernandez, 2007;Stamboulis and Skayannis, 2003;Wu, Zsidisin, and Ross 2007;Andreau et al., 2010). Although the Internet has become a universally available technology, recognition of its functionality, means and capability is still essential (Abu-Shouk, Lim, andMegicks, 2013, Karanasios andBurgess, 2008;Beekhuyzen, Hellens, and Siedle, 2005;Alexander, 2000). Travel and tourism industries are, information-oriented, thus highly receptive to the advantages of utilizing Internet (Andreau et al., 2010;European Commission, 2006;O'Connor, 1999). ...
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Information and communications technology (ICT) are widely used by enterprises to enhance their competitiveness. Travel agents (TAs) are among service providers for whom their integration of ICT and Internet technological capabilities could be the best marketing device and a potential promoter for enhancing their competitive positioning in the tourism sector. The study contextualizes ICT usage patterns in an underexplored context, the Middle East countries. This study provides an overview of the current state of affairs of the ICT adoption in small- and medium-size TAs in Dubai in United Arab Emirates. It investigates the usage patterns of the Internet by Dubai TAs, reasons for using the Internet, features of agents’ website content, and perceived significant benefits of e-commerce and barriers to adoption. It is found that the majority of TAs use the Internet for several reasons, ranging from customizing services, attracting customers, communicating with customers, gaining access to international markets, providing TAs with information and finding out about suppliers and competitors. The significant perceived benefits identified in this study are establishing a reputation in the global markets, increasing sales, revenues and profits, improving distribution channels, increasing competitive advantage and customizing services to customer needs. On the other hand, it was found that the principal barriers hindering e-commerce adoption are limited resources versus the high cost of e-commerce adoption, online security concerns, lack of skilled information technology labour, a lack of customer readiness, and a lack of advice and support. The study identified the need for more training facilities for adopting e-commerce in TAs and the need for the government to provide incentives, professional advice, and guidance regarding appropriate e-commerce products and services at an affordable cost for TAs operating in the emirate.
... The use of a common and understood language in a mobile health application is important for the users so they are able to understand it. Language can be a barrier in adoption of technology as user's can sometimes be reluctant to use a technology if it is not in their native language [13]. ...
Conference Paper
The adoption of technology into the health care industry has been criticized as being overtly techno-centric. It is assumed that health information technologies will fit into the environment and be easily adopted by the user. This, however, is a fallacy. Research has shown that a socio-technical approach, optimizing the interaction between the relevant social, environmental and technical sub-systems, is preferred. In this paper, a socio-technical perspective is gained on the adoption of health information technologies in the home community based care context, specifically the use of mobile phones for remote data collection. Based on data gathered through interviews with and observations of caregivers administering care in the community, this paper identifies and discusses the social, environmental and technical factors that affect community health care workers while they are using mobile phones to capture patient data in the home community based care environment in developing countries. © 2012 ICST Institute for Computer Science, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering.
... Few innovations have such an immense potential as the e-business for increasing firms' efficiency and sales (Turban et al., 2006;Blake et al., 2006), improvement of internal processes, cost saving, and greater customer satisfaction (Kaynak et al., 2005;Falk, 2005). In spite of the proven advantages, the use of ebusiness in small firms is still insufficient (Beekhuyzen et al., 2005;Eikebrokk & Olsen, 2007;Chong, 2008). Most often this was explained by small size related shortages such as weaker resources (Riemenschneider et al., 2003), less complex information system management (Ramdani & Kawalek, 2007: 49), specific cultural, economic and commercial reasons (Liew, 2009: 17), etc. ...
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Strategic management theory addresses topics such as competitiveness and the factors that drive it, and the long-term vision of organizations. One of the objectives of this study is to investigate the role of internal firm factors. The literature on strategic management provides scope for this as it relates to strategy and resources in the adoption of technology. The competitive approach, pioneered by Porter, states that a company develops its business strategies to obtain a competitive advantage over its competitors.
Family businesses constitute an important part of the economies in Central and Eastern Europe. However, there is a lack of understanding about differences between family and non-family businesses in this context. This study investigates differences in management practices between Bulgarian family and non-family SMEs. To detect real rather than sample differences we apply multivariate statistical techniques that controls for the effects of a number of contextual variables as recommended by Jorissen et al. (Family Business Review 18(3):229– 246, 2005). The chapter ends with discussion of the empirical findings and research and practical implications.
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Benefits gained from e-commerce adoption, drivers pushing agents to adopt it, and inhibitors hindering the adoption are examples of factors positively or negatively affecting e-commerce adoption. Drivers of adoption could be internal or external pressures on travel agents to adopt technology in order to support their future survival in the travel and tourism global market. Mixed method approach is used in this study to investigate the drivers of e-commerce adoption in the Egyptian travel agents. Findings revealed that adapting to technology changes is the strongest driver of to adopt e-commerce by travel agents.
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This study is an investigation of the environmental, organizational and technological drivers of Internet commerce adoption and implementation in small businesses. To conduct the study, the Tornatsky and Fleischer model was adopted and tested in seven small businesses located in Southern Italy. The main contribution of the study lies in the fact that it shows that the environmental context has a key role in the adoption and implementation of e-commerce in SMEs. This is over and above factors related to technology characteristics (e.g. benefits and barriers) and organizational characteristics (e.g. slack resources) that have been extensively investigated elsewhere. Environmental factors of special importance are government intervention, public administration and external pressure from competitors, suppliers and buyers.
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The current push for small firms to be “wired up to the digital marketplace” is evidenced by the number of initiatives targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote this activity. Like other governments worldwide, UK Online’s SME targets (together with the supporting DTI adoption ladder) exemplify the “conventional wisdom” view of a homogeneous small business sector, within which firms take an ordered, sequential progression on the route to Internet technology adoption. This approach is questioned by grounding the official rhetoric in the reality of organisational and operational complexity of this important sector of the UK economy. These initiatives are compared and contrasted with similar models of small firm development, most of which neglected to address the diverse nature of small firm needs. The authors recommend a more discriminant approach, focused upon factors such as firm size, age, managerial structure and information and communications technology adoption stages.
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This paper discusses the synergies between the well-known and accepted processes of Universal Design (also called inclusive design and Design for All) and User-Centred Design (UCD). The paper explores these synergies, both from a theoretical basis in the literature and also through the authors' experiences as part of the User-Centred Design project team at the Smart Internet Technology Cooperative Research Centre in Australia (SITCRC). 1The Two Design Processes Information and communication technologies have become a large part of the everyday life experience of the majority of people in the industrialised world. The user response has ranged from embracing to despising these technologies. The pervasiveness of these products make it important that they be designed so that the end-user can gain maximum benefit from this experience. Focusing on the user throughout the design cycle should improve the usability and desirability of these products. A particular emphasis on the rich diversity of users will further strengthen the products and lead to the broader goal of universal access. The approaches of Universal Design and User-Centred Design have similarities in that both design processes aim to improve the usability of products and services. However, the processes differ in approach and philosophy. To achieve synergies between the two approaches is challenging but can produce rewards in the way products are evolved and made more desirable through good design practices.
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Internet use among small businesses has recently become a popular topic for researchers in the fields of Information Systems and Entrepreneurship. In view of the media hype this topic has received over recent months, it is important for small businesses to learn from the experiences of early adopters of the Internet. In this paper we present the results of case study research involving twenty-three Australian small businesses which were early adopters of the Internet—and which are still users. We find that they are predominantly using the Internet as a communications medium and, to a lesser extent, as a document transfer and advertising channel. Management enthusiasm and perceived benefits seem to be the driving force for ongoing Internet use, although we discovered little or no integration between internal applications and Internet inter-organisational functions. Our findings also point to the importance of entrepreneurship for successful Internet use.
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Motivations of small United Kingdom businesses are discussed in order to dispel myths and misconceptions regarding their operations.The purpose is to dismiss the idea that small businesses are scaled-down versions of their larger counterparts, while highlighting the emotion and complexity that characterize small businesses and influence the decision-making processes of their owner/managers. Definitions of the small firm market and the small firm are provided, and myths and realities of small firm behaviors are discussed.Two recent studies of small firms (one large-scale qualitative study for a blue chip company, one mixed study on government-sponsored services) provide a basis for the study.Values and loyalty issues are described as key to understanding small business behaviors and are explained in detail.Recommendations to policy makers include providing important information to decision-makers in small businesses in order to aid the decision-making process. (AKP)
This study provides empirical support for the importance of a Proactive marketing orientation in driving export success in the uncertain high-tech environment. A survey of small and medium size Canadian high-tech firms demonstrated that Proactive and Conservative export strategies and motivations produced opposite effects on export intensity. Proactiveness involves foreign demand motivations for exporting; foreign market focused marketing research and sales generating approaches. Conservativeness involves secondary research approaches, more passive sales generating strategies and export motivation based on non-foreign market factors such as government incentives.
This study analyses differences and similarities in information technology (IT) resource, practice and perceived success across firms in the USA, France and Korea. Results are framed within the context of cultural characteristics and their influence on business practice as developed in international business, cultural anthropology and social psychology literature. Our findings indicate similarities in resource use across these varying cultures. Specifically, IT budget and deployment policies seem fairly consistent among the countries examined. In contrast, very distinct differences in IT practice are observed. Specifically, the role of IT, integration of strategic and IT planning, and risk taking in information systems (IS) projects varied among the countries examined. Korean entities, unlike their US and French counterparts, seem to view IT in a more traditional, operational vein with little tolerance for risk taking. Interestingly, perceived benefits of IT use also varied among countries. Consistent with their cultural profile, US firms seem positively to associate market level impact with the measured dimensions of IT practice and use. The results of this study, along with the cultural context in which they are presented, should aid both corporate planners and researchers in recognizing and explaining cultural differences and their potential influence on IT policy and use.
The beginning of modern industry-education collaboration in the UK can be conveniently dated to the turn of the twentieth century, when the economic imperatives of the 'industrialized economy' began to exert growing pressure upon both employers and educators. At the same time, the considerable contribution made by the small business sector to the development and stability of the British economy also began to be noted and acknowledged. This article analyses instances of industry-higher education collaborations within small business clusters. Based on longitudinal case studies involving seven cluster formations, it details the extent, contents and intensity of small business collaboration with local and regional universities. The author concludes that, in order to be successful, the leaders of a small business cluster must believe in the inherent benefits of collaborative projects with institutes of higher education. Furthermore, all partners and stakeholders must be fully committed and should be prepared to invest time, effort and money in pursuing various collaborative and research projects of mutual interest and benefit.