A Socio-Technical Study of the Adoption of Internet Technology in Banking, Re-Interpreted as an Innovation Using Innovation Translation

A Socio-Technical Study of the Adoption of Internet Technology in Banking, Re-Interpreted as an Innovation Using Innovation Translation

Salim Al-Hajri (Higher College of Technology, Oman) and Arthur Tatnall (Victoria University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2166-4.ch016
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Abstract

This article presents a re-interpretation of research done in the mid-2000s on uptake of Internet technologies in the banking industry in Oman, compared with that in Australia. It addresses the question: What are the enablers and the inhibitors of Internet technology adoption in the Omani banking industry compared with those in the Australian banking industry? The research did not attempt a direct comparison of the banking industries in these two very different countries, but rather considered Internet technology adoption in Oman, informed by the more mature Australian experience. The original study considered Internet banking as an innovation and used an approach to theorising this innovation that was based on Diffusion of Innovations and the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). Given the socio-technical nature of this investigation, however, another approach to adoption of innovations was worth investigating, and this article reports a re-interpretation of the original study using innovation translation from actor-network theory (ANT).
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Theoretical Framework

It has been suggested that “… explaining human behavior in all its complexity is a difficult task” (Ajzen, 1991, p. 179). Further to this we will argue that the main complexity in understanding Internet technology adoption behaviour, or the lack of it, within the context of the banking industry in Oman (a non-adopter) and Australia (an adopter) is that this involves people such as bank managers and customers, and that people behave in very different ways.

Innovation can be defined as: “the alteration of what is established; something newly introduced” (Oxford, 1973) or “introducing new things or methods” (Macquarie Library, 1981). Whereas invention refers to creating and building new artefacts or the discovery of new ideas, innovation involves making use of these artefacts or ideas in commercial or organisational practice. (Maguire, Kazlauskas, & Weir, 1994). Just because a new technology has been made available does not mean that it can be assumed that organisations or individuals will want to adopt or use it, and even if an organisation does adopt a new innovation, it cannot be assumed that its employees will be prepared to use it. In deriving a framework for the original study, four existing research frameworks were considered: The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and Diffusion of Innovations.

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