The Role of the Owner-Manager in SMEs’ Adoption of Information and Communication Technology in the United Arab Emirates

The Role of the Owner-Manager in SMEs’ Adoption of Information and Communication Technology in the United Arab Emirates

Ibrahim Elbeltagi (Department of Information & Knowledge Management, Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK), Yahya Al Sharji (Information Systems Audit Department, Government of Dubai, Dubai, UAE), Glenn Hardaker (Department of Innovation Management, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK) and Ahmed Elsetouhi (Department of Commerce, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/jgim.2013040102

Abstract

This study evaluates the factors that lead small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt information and communication technology (ICT). Our research proposes an ICT adoption model using structural equation modelling that examines the role of SMEs’ owner-managers as mediators in the adoption of ICT. The model is focused on the investigation of the direct and indirect influences of technological, cultural, environmental and organisational factors on the SME’s adoption process. The results indicate the validity of these adoption factors and their applicability to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) environment. The main focus of the research was to develop a new framework that develops further the research of Rashid and Al-Qirim (2001). The present paper identifies the critical mediating role of the owner-manager’s decision to adopt ICT in SMEs in the UAE, and confirm the importance of technological, organisational and environmental factors in the adoption process. Although there is cultural diversity in the UAE, culture is not found to be a significant factor, either directly or indirectly, in SMEs’ ICT adoption in the country.
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Literature Review

Policy-makers widely acknowledge the importance of the production, dissemination and use of ICT in enhancing economic growth, job creation, competitiveness and public welfare. However, the uptake of ICT in the Middle East has been slower than in other economies. The educational level of the chief executive officer (CEO) has been identified as a significant determinant of the adoption of ICT by SMEs (MacGregor, 2004). Other studies have identified different factors that influence such adoption, including technological, organisational, environmental and individual aspects of the firm. Issues associated with these factors are illustrated in Rashid and Al-Qirim’s (2001) framework of e-commerce technology (ICT) adoption by SMEs (Figure 1). All or any of the four influencing factors may impact upon the process of ICT adoption.

Figure 1.

A framework for e-commerce technology (ICT) adoption by SMEs

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