Digital Divide and e-Readiness: Trends and Gaps

Digital Divide and e-Readiness: Trends and Gaps

Mohammad Reza Hanafizadeh (Research Institute for ICT, ITRC, Tehran, Iran), Payam Hanafizadeh (School of Management & Accounting, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran) and Erik Bohlin (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 46
DOI: 10.4018/ijea.2013070103

Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on digital divide and e-readiness in different fields with an eye to identifying trends and gaps in prominent research areas. In this study, 411 articles, conference papers, master’s and doctoral dissertations, textbooks, and working papers on digital divide and e-readiness are classified and elaborated and their results are presented. Drawing upon this literature review and analysis of digital divide and e-readiness, several important research areas surrounding digital divide and e-readiness are discussed and examined from a critical standpoint. In the paper, a comprehensive list of references is presented and, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the most complete study of digital divide and e-readiness, even in the field of IT, in terms of its references. This paper reviews the literature on the digital divide and e-readiness from three perspectives with the purpose of identifying trends and gaps in this field: definition, methodology and scale. This review reveals that most modelers do not take sound theoretical and policy concerns into consideration, rather they tend to provide an empirical summarized measure for digitalization. Also, they develop digital divide and e-readiness models by building static composite indexes from individual indicators and tend to apply dynamic models to a lesser degree. Finally, there is a lack of research in the micro level vis-à-vis macro level that the authors attempt to compensate for.
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2. Research Methodology

This survey is based on a study of digital divide and e-readiness articles, conference papers, master’s and doctoral dissertations, textbooks, working papers and other valid and reputable documents. The literature search was based on the descriptors “digital divide” and “e-readiness”. Considering the nature of the research on digital divide and e-readiness, it would be difficult to group the literature under any specific disciplines. The first scholarly papers focusing on digital divide and e-readiness appeared around 1997 (Katz & Aspden, 1997) and were followed by a growing series of publications (Vehovar et al., 2006). However before that date, researchers conducted research in this area not as studies of digital divide and e-readiness but as examinations of factors affecting the development of ICT.

Nowadays digital divide and e-readiness are two of the major concerns of many scientific journals and conferences. However, it was found that no previous study had identified and ranked the published outputs of research on digital divide and e-readiness. Figures 1 and 2 show distribution of articles by journal and year, respectively.

Figure 1.

Distribution of articles by journals

Figure 2.

Distribution of articles by year

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