Social Institutional Explanations of Global Internet Diffusion: A Cross-Country Analysis

Social Institutional Explanations of Global Internet Diffusion: A Cross-Country Analysis

Hongxin Zhao (Saint Louis University, USA), Seung Kim (Saint Louis University, USA), Taewon Suh (Texas State University — San Marcos, USA) and Jianjun Du (University of Houston — Victoria, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-138-4.ch004
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This study attempts to examine empirically how social institutional factors relate to Internet diffusion in 39 countries. Based on nine-year cross-country data, the analytical results show that the rule of law, educational systems, and industrialization significantly influenced the global Internet diffusion, while the economic system did not exert significant impact. Uncertainty avoidance as a national cultural phenomenon significantly inhibited the Internet diffusion. This significant and negative effect is particularly true with less developed countries (LDCs).
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One of the most significant technological developments in the last century is the emergence of the Internet. According to the World Bank, between 1995 and 1998, worldwide communication markets connected 200 million telephone lines, 263 million mobile subscribers, and 10 million leased lines. Internet connections increased nearly 65 fold, exploding from 15 million in 1994 to 972.5 million by November, 2005. The adoption of the Internet also grew at a fast rate. It took the World Wide Web (WWW) only four years to reach 50 million users, while it took the telephone close to 45 years, radio 38 years, and TV 13 years to reach the same number of users (Hannemyr, 1998). The development of the Internet provides unprecedented opportunities and challenges to the private as well as the public sectors in both developed and less developed countries. The Internet provides a platform for a global marketplace, supporting electronic commerce. In this setting, as more suppliers and buyers enter the arena at low cost but with fast immediate outcomes, the benefits of participation grow exponentially.

Understanding diffusion of the Internet is important because it creates new venues for social interactions and new business opportunities. Total retail e-commerce in the United States (U.S.) alone exceeded $45 billion in 2002 (Bajari & Hortacsu, 2004) and achieved an estimated growth of 25% (eMarketer, 2006). E-commerce outside of the U.S. reached $1,584 billion in 2004 ( According to the company’s latest research, Internet traffic will rise from 180 petabits per day in 2002 to 5,175 petabits per day by the end of 2007. By 2007, the International Data Corporation (IDC) expects Internet users will access, download and share the information equivalent of the entire Library of Congress more than 64,000 times over, every day.

There is an increasing amount of research that studies the factors contributing to the rapid diffusion of the Internet. However, the empirical analyses appear only infrequently in the literature (Dutta & Roy, 2003) and need a broad-spectrum interdisciplinary approach (Lu, 2005). An explication of many studies show that they still primarily rely on descriptive and correlation studies (Dutta & Roy, 2004) based on the assumption that later adopters of innovation are increasingly likely to imitate early adopters over time (Rogers, 1995). Rai et al., (1998) were able to show that the contagion models, like logistic and Gompertz models, that ignore external factors, such as government involvement and technological development had poor predictability.

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Associate Editors
Table of Contents
M. Gordon Hunter, Felix B. Tan
M. Gordon Hunter, Felix B. Tan
Chapter 1
Alexander Y. Yap
Why are some countries successful with e-commerce while others flounder? This chapter is an update of an earlier research study that the authors... Sample PDF
A Composite Model for E-Commerce Diffusion: Revisited
Chapter 2
Robert M. Davison, Yuan Li, Carol S.P. Kam
In the last few years, Web-based surveys have received increased attention given their potential to cut the costs and time associated with... Sample PDF
Web-Based Data Collection in China
Chapter 3
Jaymeen R. Shah
Privacy laws for the Internet are difficult to develop and implement domestically and internationally. A clear problem is how such laws are limited... Sample PDF
Privacy Protection Overseas as Perceived by USA-Based IT Professionals
Chapter 4
Hongxin Zhao, Seung Kim, Taewon Suh, Jianjun Du
This study attempts to examine empirically how social institutional factors relate to Internet diffusion in 39 countries. Based on nine-year... Sample PDF
Social Institutional Explanations of Global Internet Diffusion: A Cross-Country Analysis
Chapter 5
Somya Joshi, Michael Barrett, Geoff Walsham, Sam Cappleman
This article investigates how, and with what success, global organisations design computer-based systems for knowledge sharing which aim to balance... Sample PDF
Balancing Local Knowledge Within Global Organisations Through Computer-Based Systems: An Activity Theory Approach
Chapter 6
Kevin K.W. Ho, Byungjoon Yoo, Seunghee Yu, Kar Yan Tam
While previous studies on buy-it-now (BIN) auctions focus on the impact of BIN format on economic performances, our study focuses on factors that... Sample PDF
The Effect of Culture and Product Categories on the Level of Use of Buy-It-Now (BIN) Auctions by Sellers
Chapter 7
Shirish C. Srivastava, Thompson S.H. Teo
Though policy makers and governments are interested in understanding the returns from e-Government implementation, there are relatively few... Sample PDF
A Framework for Understanding Returns from E-Government
Chapter 8
Juan Juan Zhang, Sang-Yong Tom Lee
This article studies the role of international spillover of information and communication technology (ICT) in economic growth. We examine the... Sample PDF
A Time Series Analysis of International ICT Spillover
Chapter 9
William Wresch, Simon Fraser
Studies summarized by the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development continue to show that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing... Sample PDF
Technological Hurdles to Caribbean E-Commerce: Responses by Innovative Managers
Chapter 10
Robert M. Davidson, Carol S.P. Kim, Maggie Y. Li, Yuan Li, Carol X.J. Ou
In the last few years, Web-based surveys have received increased attention given their potential to cut the costs and time associated with... Sample PDF
Web-Based Surveys in China
Chapter 11
David Gefen, Tsipi Heart
Deliberate exploitation of natural resources and excessive use of environmentally abhorrent materials have resulted in environmental disruptions... Sample PDF
On the Need to Include National Culture as a Central Issue in E-Commerce Trust Beliefs
Chapter 12
Steven Hornik
The horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism are an important characteristic of cultures. These dimensions have many... Sample PDF
Culture's Impact on Technology Mediated Learning: The Role of Horizontal and Vertical Individualism and Collectivism
Chapter 13
Tamara Dinev, Massimo Bellotto, Paul Hart, Vincenzo Russo, Ilaria Serra, Christian Colautti
The study examines differences in individual’s privacy concerns and beliefs about government surveillance in Italy and the United States. By... Sample PDF
Internet Users' Privacy Concerns and Beliefs About Government Surveillance: An Exploratory Study of Differences Between Italy and the United States
Chapter 14
Shaobo Ji, Qingfei Min, Weihe Han
The purpose of this study is to review current research activities concerning information systems (IS) in mainland China. We thus examined Chinese... Sample PDF
Information Systems Research in China: An Empirical Study
Chapter 15
John Lim
Two seemingly disparate phenomena, advancement in computing technologies and rise in complexity of business negotiations owing to globalization... Sample PDF
A Study in the East Asian Context on Computer Support of Pre-Negotiation and Negotiation Stages
Chapter 16
Sang-Woo Lee, Myeong-Cheol Park, Dan J. Kim
This study relies on a customer demand-based view to examine how mobile number portability affects competition in the Korean mobile... Sample PDF
Mobile Number Portability in an Asymmetric Telecommunications Market: Korea Case
Chapter 17
Hazel Taylor
As outsourced and multinational IT projects become more common, managing risks for these projects is increasingly important. The research reported... Sample PDF
Vendor vs. Client Risks in Outsourced IT Projects: An Agency Theory Perspective
Chapter 18
Susan K. Lippert, John A. Volkmar
Research to date on information technology (IT) adoption has focused primarily on homogeneous single country samples. This study integrates the... Sample PDF
Cultural Effects on Technology Performance and Utilization: A Comparison of U.S. and Canadian Users
Chapter 19
Thompson S.H. Teo
The Internet can be used for different purposes ranging from simple Internet presence to using the Internet for business transformation. This study... Sample PDF
Basic vs. Advanced Modes of Internet Adoption: A Singapore Perspective
Chapter 20
Clive Sanford, Anol Bhattacherjee
This article presents an interpretive analysis of the key problems and challenges to technology implementation in developing countries, based on a... Sample PDF
IT Implementation in a Developing Country Municipality: A Sociocognitive Analysis
Chapter 21
Susan A. Sherer
This article investigates IT investment management processes in the U.S. and Portugal. In Portugal compared to the United States, we find less... Sample PDF
Comparative Study of IT Investment Management Processes in U.S. and Portugal
Chapter 22
Ruey-Lin Hsiao
This article examines e-marketplace adoption difficulties from a contextualist perspective. The analysis of industrial characteristics will unearth... Sample PDF
Misaligned Market: The Importance of Industry Context in Technology-Mediated Exchanges
Chapter 23
Syaiful Ali, Peter Green
Information technology plays a significant role enabling organisations to achieve their objectives. Accordingly, the governance mechanisms over the... Sample PDF
IT Governance Mechanisms in Public Sector Organisations: An Australian Context
Chapter 24
Shirley Chan
In most parts of the world, it is generally considered impolite or even rude to pick up an incoming mobile phone call and to have a longer (and... Sample PDF
Mobile Phone Communication Innovation in Multiple Time and Space Zones: The Case of Hong Kong Culture
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