Conceptual Framework To Explain Digital Divide Essay

Inventions in information engineering ( IT ) have enabled organisations shape new concern regulations and make competitory advantage. Information engineering provides chances for the creative activity of wealth from knowledge-based economic activities which contribute to the GDP. Successful creative activity of knowledge-based society chiefly relies on contracting the digital divide.

Digital divide is a complex construct. It is characterized by issues on changing degrees of information and communicating engineerings ( ICT ) entree, basic ICT use and forms of ICT applications among states and peoples ( Borbora, 2005 ) . The OECD ( 2001 ) defined digital divide as differences between persons, families, companies, and parts related to the entree and use of ICT. The Executive Development Center at the University of Minnesota identifies digital divide as the spread between persons, families, concerns, and geographic countries at different socio-economic degrees with respect to both their chances to entree ICT and to their usage of the Internet for a broad assortment of activities. It further defined three degrees of digital divide that is, national degree, organisational degree and family degree.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

The deficiency of operationalization and measuring of digital divide ( Barzilai-Nahon, 2006 ; Vehovar et al. , 2006 ) has been an issue among research workers. Our reappraisal of the literature indicates that past research watercourse include conceptualisation of digital divide at the national degree ( Corrocher and Ordanini, 2002 ; Dewan et Al. 2005 ; Pick and Azari, 2008 ) and household degree ( Scanlan 2008 ; Jackson et Al. 2008 ) .

As an illustration, at the national degree, Barzilai-Nahon ( 2006 ) proposed a conceptual theoretical account of subscribers to digital divide grouped by ( I ) societal and authorities constraints/support ( preparation, active aid, support/suppression/apathy, investings and support ) ( two ) affordability ( physical bed, logical bed, content ) ( three ) usage ( frequence, clip online, intent, users ‘ accomplishments, liberty of usage ) ( four ) substructure entree ( communicating channels and capacity, computing machines per capita, websites per capita, figure of ISPs per capita, ISPs governmental officeholder or private ) ( V ) handiness ( handicapped and particular demands populations ) ( six ) sociodemographic factors ( socioeconomic position, age, instruction, geographic scattering, cultural diverseness, race diverseness, religiousity, linguistic communication ) .

Despite being widely acknowledged that digital divide exists at all degrees, researches in this country continue to stay scarce ( Dewan and Riggins, 2005 ) . We contend in this paper, for the demand of a conceptual theoretical account to explicate digital divide in information engineering organisations in a similar frame as the one developed at national degree by Barzilai-Nahon in acknowledging the singular promotion, diverseness and pervasiveness of engineering.

The information engineering industry has been regarded as a important subscriber to national economic systems, in peculiar, in India and China. In a similar manner, Malaysia is fast catching up in information engineering progresss. In 2007, AT Kearney Inc. ‘s Global Service Location Index ranked Malaysia as the universe ‘s 3rd most ideal outsourcing finish. In the same twelvemonth, Frost & A ; Sullivan Inc. ‘s Global Shared Services and Outsourcing ( SSO ) Hub placed Malaysia as one of the top five most preferable locations in the universe for SSO.[ 1 ]

The Malayan authorities has been consistent in advancing the growing of IT industry through incorporation of new companies, creative activity of new information corridors, engagement of equities, commissariats of grants and inducements etc. We believe that with these developments, spreads exist at the organisational degree in footings of digital divide conceptualisation. Our ultimate purpose is to develop a theoretical account that would explicate digital divide in organisations in peculiar, information engineering organisations in a underdeveloped state like Malaysia. This article reports an in-progress research that reviews by theoretical models and proposes a conceptual model.


Dewan and Riggins ( 2005 ) proposed waies of ICT invention, entree and usage at each degree. This was based on an extended reappraisal of literature for the period between 1980 and 2000 mentioning preponderantly findings in the Western universe. At the organisational degree, Dewan and Riggins ( 2005 ) characterized digital divide by separating adoptive parents and non-adopters of a peculiar engineering. In their survey, house size, the importance of publicity by the owner/manager and the importance of geographic location were cited as the chief subscribers to digital divide in organisations.

Many anterior surveies had focused on house size features. ( Papazafeiropoulou and Pouloudi, 2004 ; Guo et Al, 2004 ; Caloghirou et Al. 2004 ) . Firm size refers to spreads between little and big houses. Firm size has been shown to significantly lend to profitableness ( Papazafeiropoulou and Pouloudi, 2004 ) and productiveness ( Guo et al, 2004 ) .

The top direction ‘s features i.e. the main executive officers ( CEO ) have been the topic of much treatment in the information systems research. We contend that for direction to defend the cause for IT and to apportion investings to IT and IT-related researches, the CEO has to foremost hold a strong background of IT. Auh and Menguc ( 2008 ) examined the influence of institutional theory within the kingdom of the Resource Based View ( RBV ) by bring forthing the first survey to unite both theoretical spheres into a individual conceptual theoretical account.

The writers collected the information for the concepts employed in this survey among CEOs and/or senior executive and selling directors of Australian big and mid-sized fabrication houses. They used two institutional factors ( e.g. CEO ‘s functional background and political relations in marketing determination devising ) to find whether the respondents enhance or hinder resource and capableness development ( e.g. transformational leading and market orientation ) every bit good as whether they strengthen or weaken the public presentation consequence of those resources and capablenesss. The writers found that market orientation had a stronger positive consequence on public presentation in houses with selling CEOs.

The thought of direction title in driving IT acceptance and IT-enabled alteration in organisations is non new in information systems research. Many anterior surveies had cited this factor as a important forecaster of IT execution success ( Premkumar and Ramamurthy, 1995 ; Byrd and Davidson, 2003 ) . Management title refers to managerial beliefs and engagement in the enterprises. Chatterjee et Al. ( 2002 ) found that direction title is important in assimilation of web engineerings.

In another survey, Li et Al. ( 2000 ) , focused on the location of house, ownership of house and investing in engineering as subscribers to organisational public presentation. Location of house refers to whether a house was runing in China ‘s coastal country or inland parts. Ownership of a house refers to whether a house is funded by foreign capital. They suggested that these two variables might hold an consequence on house public presentation in China ‘s electronics industry. Li et Al. ( 2000 ) tested the hypothesis for the relationship between engineering investing and steadfast public presentation. They found that there was a positive relationship between engineering investing and steadfast public presentation. Firm public presentation referred to marketing efficiency and effectivity. The relationship applied regardless of the nature of house location and ownership of a house.

Associating these anterior researches to the Malayan IT national docket and IT organisational environment, we propose the demand for farther probe into the functions of house size ( little and big IT organisations in footings of figure of employees and grosss ) , geographic location ( location within multimedia super-corridor cyber-centers ) , CEO background ( those with anterior IT industry experience ) , research and development focal point ( grants provided by authorities and allotments set aside in houses for researches ) , steadfast equity ( homegrown and with some foreign equity ownership ) in explicating digital divide.


Based on our reappraisal of literature and the definition of digital divide, we would sort research on digital divide in organisations holding its roots in theories of invention acceptance, diffusion and assimilation in organisations. Damanpour ( 1991 ) defined invention as “ acceptance of an internally generated or purchased device, system, policy, plan, procedure, merchandise or service that is new to the following organisations ” .

Fichman ( 2000 ) defined invention diffusion as “ the spread of an invention across organisations while assimilation represents the procedure within organisations stretching from initial consciousness of the invention to potentially formal acceptance and all-out deployment ” . Cho and Kim ( 2002 ) coined similar definitions. Recent progresss in ICT acceptance have categorized ICT into ( I ) computer science ( two ) communicating ( three ) communicating and computer science.

Many recent researches on invention acceptance are grounded on the Diffusion of Innovations ( Rogers, 1995 ) and assimilation theories. We trace these theories and some anterior to these and we discuss them as follows:

Phases of Growth ( Nolan, 1973 )

IT Diffusion Framework ( Fichman, 1992 )

Information Systems Innovation ( Swanson, 1994 )

Diffusion of Innovations ( Rogers, 1995 )

Assimilation Patterns of Information Technologies ( Lewis et al. 2004A ; Bajwa et Al. 2008 )

Nolan ( 1973 ) proposed a model for pull offing phases of growing for computing machine resource. There were four prescribed phases:

Phase I Initiation – refers to the debut of the resource in the organisation.

Phase II Contagion – defines the managerial clime that encouraged alienated users to look into the potency of the resource.

Stage III Control – is characterized by direction ‘s actions for control of outgos of the resource.

Phase IV Integration – is marked by polishs in pull offing the computing machine resource.

The theoretical account follows the traditional direction paradigm i.e. planning, forming and commanding which has been utile in word picture of engineering hardware and off-the-rack package. With the acknowledgment of the Internet as the application of information engineering and systems that has grown out of open-source package community, the theoretical account has non addressed the current tradition of unfastened criterions, shared beginning codification and collaborative development. However, the contagious disease consequence has been acknowledged as a factor for invention acceptance ( Fichman, 2004 ) .


Fichman ( 1992 ) proposed an information engineering diffusion model that covers single or organisation, although a focal point on industry was cited as possible. The model maps two wide categories of engineering against venue of acceptance ( i.e. single or organisation ) . Individual adoptive parent is confined to a individual organisation. The dependent variables include binary adoption/non-adoption, clip of acceptance, and frequence of usage. Organizational acceptance surveies look at acceptance by big sums, such as companies, concern units, bureaus, or sections. Dependent variables include binary adoption/non-adoption and phase of execution ( e.g. , acceptance, version, extract ) .

Fichman ( 1992 ) distinguished two categories of IT. The first type is characterized by a deficiency of user mutualities and a deficiency of a significant cognition load on manque adoptive parents ( e.g. micro computing machines, laptops, portable terminuss ) and package ( e.g. word processing, spreadsheets ) . The 2nd type is characterized by high cognition barriers ( e.g. structured systems analysis, stand-alone CAD pulling systems ) or important user mutualities ( e.g. , E-mail, voice mail ) , or both ( e.g. MRP, integrated CAD/CAM ) .

It has been widely cited that IT invention follows a phase theoretical account of induction, acceptance and execution. This theoretical account has non addressed the different grade of acceptance. Recent research workers addressed the different grade of acceptance with the conceptualisation of assimilation which is discussed below.


Swanson ( 1994 ) proposed a typology of information systems inventions:

Type I innovation – procedure invention that is restricted to the functional information systems core that focuses on either disposal or proficient information system undertaking. Prototyping is an illustration of this invention.

Type II invention – this applies to the information systems merchandises and services for the disposal of the concern. Examples of this type could be payroll or forces record systems.

Type III invention – this integrates information systems merchandises and services with nucleus concern engineering. Examples of this type include material demands planning ( MRP ) systems or computing machine integrated fabrication ( CIM ) systems.

Swanson characterized Type I and II pioneers as organisations that are professionally-oriented instead than business-oriented organisations. Type III pioneers nevertheless, were those whose information systems were strategic to the concern.


Harmonizing to Rogers ( 1995 ) , diffusion of inventions is characterized by:

procedure by which an invention is communicated through certain channels over a period of clip among the members of a societal system

invention  an thought, pattern, or object that is perceived to be new by an person or other unit of acceptance

communication a procedure in which participants create and portion information with one another to make a common apprehension.

Figure 1 shows the DOI theoretical model.

Figure 1 Diffusion of Innovations ( Rogers, 1995 )
The University of Twente[ 2 ]summed five elements that diffusion researches have focused on notably ( I ) the features of an invention which may act upon its acceptance ( two ) the decision-making procedure that occurs when persons consider following a new thought, merchandise or pattern ( three ) the features of persons that make them likely to follow an invention ( four ) the effects for persons and society of following an invention ( V ) communicating channels used in the acceptance procedure. We note that the DOI has been used in many past researches utilizing non merely single but besides organisation ( Guo et al. , 2004 ; Zhu and Kraemer, 2005 ; Kuo et Al. 2008 ) unit of analysis.

Building on the diffusion of invention theory, Lewis et Al. ( 2004 ) and Bajwa et. Al. ( 2008 ) conceptualized a model for analysis of assimilation for coaction engineerings ( Figure 2 ) . They provided the undermentioned definitions for which the model was based on:

Acquisition – the extent to which the engineering is made available to members of the organisation

Deployment – the extent to which the engineering is really used by members of the organisation

Figure 2 A Framework for Analysis of Assimilation for Collaboration Technologies
( Lewis et al. 2004 )
The model farther defined the followers:

Limited Assimilation ( Sector I ) – this is characterized by low degrees of entree to engineering and low use which could be attributable to new or unfamiliar engineering.

Laging Assimilation ( Sector II ) – this is identified by high entree to engineering but low use which might happen when direction brought in a peculiar engineering but users might non use it as expected.

Focused Assimilation ( Sector III ) – this is characterized by low entree to engineering with high use. Technology such as Computer-Aided Design ( CAD ) is an illustration of this sort.

Permeant assimilation ( Sector IV ) – this is identified by engineerings that have been assimilated organization-wide and are being extremely utilized in organisations.

This subdivision has reviewed the theories of invention acceptance, diffusion and assimilation and other prior related theories in the pursuit of understanding the digital divide issues in organisations. The theories suggest that acceptance is a complex procedure in organisations. The steps for the dependant variable depend on the phase of the acceptance to be studied. Second, with the huge nature and promotions of engineering, there is a demand for a focal point on the types of engineerings to be studied. The subsequent subdivision presents our decision of this paper.

We began with the impression that digital divide is a complex construct in that there are three degrees of attacks research workers may see. We have reviewed and discussed past theories used in gestating digital divide as the dependant variable in organisations. Although our chief concern in this paper has been mostly on the organisational degree, we acknowledge that digital divide at this degree is a complex phenomenon. Questions that linger in the head include ( I ) What are the phases of acceptance procedure that characterize digital divide? ( two ) How do we operationalize digital divide? ( three ) Do we utilize binary steps or other types of steps? ( four ) What engineering inventions are we analyzing?

Our reappraisal of subscribers to digital divide at the organisational degree suggests an extension to that made by Dewan and Riggins ( 2005 ) . In amount, we propose that in a turning economic system and IT industry like Malaysia ‘s, digital divide in IT organisations could be marked by certain variables notably steadfast size, research and development focal point ( grants provided by authorities and allotments set aside in houses for researches ) , CEO background, direction title, geographic location and house equity ( Figure 3 ) .

Firm Size – In IT acceptance literature, house size has been shown to bring forth assorted findings. Parhi ( 2007 ) found that steadfast age is an of import factor in finding the determination to follow new engineerings. Pinho & A ; Macedo ( 2008 ) found that steadfast age is an of import factor in Internet acceptance. However, Chau & A ; Thakkar ( 2008 ) reported that the age of a house did non hold any effects on Internet assimilation in Chinese houses.

Research and development focal point – In IT acceptance literature, research and development focal point has been shown to bring forth consistent findings. Parhi ( 2007 ) found that R & A ; D public presentation was positively associated with the chance of acceptance of CAD/CAE, ERP, LAN and WAN etc. Raymond [ 20 ] found that houses with higher R & A ; D focal point have a higher leaning for networking. In another survey, Luukkonen ( 2002 ) found that high R & A ; D intensive companies were more market-oriented.

Chief executive officer background – Chief executive officer ‘s background has been a research involvement in IT acceptance. Among independent retail merchants, in Netherlands, Weltevreden & A ; Boschma ( 2008 ) found that CEO ‘s age, ethnicity, Internet experience and competitory force per unit area were significantly associated with Web site acceptance. Chuang et Al. ( 2009 ) found that the mean age and instruction of CEO in little concerns were important forecasters of IT acceptance. Ko et Al. ( 2008 ) found that CEO age significantly affected CRM acceptance ; that is, the younger the CEO ‘ age was, the higher the execution of a CRM.

Management title – Management title is distinguished from patrons with their distinguishable function to convey about alteration in the organisations by utilizing their influence processes besides supplying financess and authorization. Besides, information engineering title-holders have been described as directors who actively and smartly advance their personal vision for utilizing information engineering, forcing the undertaking over or around for blessing and across execution hurdlings ( Reich and Benbasat, 1990 ) . Management title has been found to be an of import enabler of alteration in information engineering acceptance and interorganisational systems ( Beath, 1991 ) and EDI acceptance ( Hwang et al. 1991 ) .

Geographic location – The effects of geographical location have shown assorted findings. For case, Li et Al. ( 2000 ) found that location of houses ( China ‘s coastal country or inland parts had no important effects on houses ‘ selling efficiency. Windrum & A ; Berranger ( 2002 ) studied the cardinal factors that influence the acceptance of e-business engineering by SMEs and identified the possible importance of sector particular, and location specific factors to engineering diffusion. Grilli & A ; Colombo ( 2007 ) found that the acceptance of broadband applications is driven by location-specific features that reflect the handiness in the local labour market of younger and more skilled persons.

Firm equity – In a turning economic system like China ‘s, Li et Al. ( 2000 ) ab initio suggested that wholly owned Chinese houses versus those owned by alien might be significantly different in footings of houses ‘ public presentation. Their analysis did non bespeak a important difference. However, due to the features of foreign direct investings into Malayan IT industry, we believe that houses with direct foreign equity may show a higher degree of IT acceptance. As such, steadfast equity may qualify the digital divide consequence.

Figure 3 A Conceptual Framework to Explain Digital Divide in
Information Technology Organizations in Malaysia
This article has reviewed past theories in digital divide and proposed a conceptual model in explicating digital divide in Malayan IT organizations. IT acceptance is of import in organisations in that it has shown to impact houses ‘ public presentation in a turning economic system like China ‘s ( Li et al. 2000 ) . In the visible radiation of this importance, the research workers will accordingly ship on testing of the model in Malayan IT organisations.

The research is supported by Fundamental Research Grant Scheme IIUM/504/RES/G/14/3/05/FRGS 0207-74. We express our grasp to Srs. Nur Sabariha binti Mohamed Sabri and Zubaidah Muataz Hazza for their aid in this research.