The combined influence of national and organizational cultures on ICT adoption and use

Huang, Min
Singh, Harminder
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

Information has become a new form of capital (Atkeson & Kehoe, 1993) and created a new type of economy (Castells, 1996). Using information effectively and efficiently is important for an organization’s success and information and communication technology (ICT) has become more important than ever before to achieve this goal. While ICT has shown its promise, problems have also emerged when organizations try to improve their operations by adopting and using ICT. A frequently-overlooked cause of these difficulties is culture (Walton, 1975). Some information systems may be appropriate technically, but not culturally, and this kind of misfit between culture and the type of ICT being implemented can result in systems not being accepted by users (Gallivan & Srite, 2005), and thus abandoned.

With organizations globalizing, they are likely to face differences between their organizational culture and the national culture of the locations they operate in. Prior research has found that cultural differences affect ICT, especially in terms of the level of resistance and acceptance encountered during ICT adoption and use. However, while the separate effects of national culture and organizational culture have been investigated, little work has been done in the information systems field on their combined effect. It is important to study this for a number of reasons. For example, some aspects of an organization’s culture may help mitigate the risk-aversion of certain national cultures and encourage the use of innovative technologies.

This dissertation reviews the literature on culture, ICT adoption and utilization to explore the individual and interactive impacts of organizational and national culture on ICT. A number of propositions are then developed and validated through the analysis of secondary data. Although the results are inconclusive, this project is a first attempt at investigating the combined effects of national and organizational cultures on both organizational ICT adoption and individual ICT utilization. Furthermore, it systematically uncovers the similarities between national and organizational cultures, and makes distinctions between their impact on organizational ICT adoption and individual ICT use, thus providing insight and guidance for future research in this area.

Information and Communication Technology , ICT adoption , ICT use , National culture , Organisational culture , ICT implementation
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