Transfer of Information Technology to the Arab World: A Test of Cultural Influence Modeling
Detmar W. Straub (Georgia State University, USA), Karen D. Loch (Georgia State University, USA) and Carole E. Hill (Georgia State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2003
The complex societal beliefs and values of the Arab world provide a rich setting to examine the hypothesized influence of culture on information technology transfer (ITT). Two research questions arise in this context: (1) Do cultural beliefs and values affect the transference of information technology in the Arab world? and (2) Does contact with technologically advanced societies impact ITT and systems outcomes? The present study addresses these research questions by conceptualizing and testing a cultural influence model of ITT. In this model, cultural beliefs and values are one major construct while a counterbalancing variable is the external influence of technologically advanced societies. These constructs along with the variable “national IT development” form the conceptual basis for the model. This study is the second part of a program of research investigating ITT. The setting of the study was Arab society, which allowed us to test our “cultural influence” model in, perhaps, one of the more complex cultural and social systems in the world. The program of research took place in several phases. In the early phases, Arab-American businessmen and women as well as Arabs studying in American universities were studied. In the latter phases, the cross-disciplinary research team gathered primary data in the Arab cultures of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and the Sudan. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used to explore the phenomenon of ITT. This paper reports quantitative findings from the latter phase. Findings suggest that the model has explanatory power. Arab cultural beliefs were a very strong predictor of resistance to systems and thus ITT; technological culturation was also a factor. These results have implications for future theory-testing and for technology policy-setting by responsible Arab leaders. Additionally, there are implications for transnational firms and managers charged with introducing IT in foreign ports, subsidiaries, offices, and plants.