Internet in developing countries
In 2001, with the arrival at Louisiana State University of Dr. Victor Mbarika, a renowned researcher on information systems in developing countries, my major interest shifted to how to apply the Internet in developing countries. This eventually became the subject of my dissertation, which I completed in 2003, Expert assessments of e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa: A theoretical model of infrastructure and culture for doing business using the Internet. My primary focuses in this area have been on e-business and telemedicine. This became my major focus, and I eventually ceased to conduct new research in my previous stream of competitive strategy. Since 2004, however, my primary focus has shifted to open content and open source software, though I still do conduct research on applications of the Internet in developing countries.
Okoli, Chitu, Victor A. W Mbarika, and Scott McCoy. 2010. The effects of infrastructure and policy on e-business in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. European Journal of Information Systems Forthcoming.
This study investigates experts’ assessments of the pertinent factors affecting e-business in developing countries from a theory-based national infrastructure perspective. We surveyed experts (business people, academicians, and officials of governmental and non-governmental organizations) in e-business in Latin America (LA) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Our partial least squares analysis shows that experts believed that policies targeted specifically toward e-business are important in affecting e-business capabilities and in obtaining value from e-business, more so than non-specific general information and communication technologies (ICT) policies, which are not significantly influential. ICT infrastructure generally affects e-business capabilities, though this was not found to be the case in Brazil. Experts believed that national government institutions positively affect e-business value in SSA, but not in LA. Experts did not believe that commercial infrastructure significantly affects e-business value. This study theoretically and empirically distinguishes between two different dimensions of e-business outcomes: specific capabilities and value derived from e-business. It operationalizes the effects of national government institutions and commercial infrastructure on e-business outcomes and empirically tests for their effects. The study provides empirical support for conceptual arguments for the need of ICT policies specific to the needs of e-business.
Okoli, Chitu, Victor A. W Mbarika, and Scott McCoy. 2005. Expert assessments of cultural effects on e-business in developing countries. In IFIP WG9.4 Working Conference. Abuja, Nigeria: International Federation for Information Processing.
This study investigates experts’ assessments of the pertinent factors on certain cultural factors on affecting e-business in developing countries. We design and conduct a survey that empirically solicits information from experts in e-business in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in the first phase (completed and reported here), and in Latin America in the second phase (currently in progress). Our initial results for SSA using PLS analysis show that experts believe that ICT transfer implementation strongly affects both e-business capabilities and value, but that among SSA countries, there are no significant cultural effects of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, or technology culturation. Furthermore, they do not believe that there is any significant interaction between culture and transfer implementation within SSA. This study theoretically and empirically distinguishes between two different dimensions of e-business outcomes: specific capabilities and value derived from e-business. As part of the first study that conducts a quantitative, broad-based survey on factors that contribute toward e-business in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America regions, it gives cause to question the common argument that native culture significantly affects the adoption of ICTs.
Okoli, Chitu. 2005. Infrastructural and organizational factors enabling e-business in Sub-Saharan Africa: A case-based research proposal. In 2005 IRMA International Conference, ed. Mehdi Khosrow-Pour. San Diego: Information Resources Management Association.
This research proposal uses a case study approach to investigate the pertinent factors affecting e-business in SSA from the perspective of national infrastructure and organizational factors. I have developed a general framework that explains what pertinent factors affect e-business in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The primary dependent variable is E-business Outcomes, consisting of both E-business Capabilities and E-business Value. The predictor variables are Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policies (consisting of General ICT Policies and E-business Policies), Government Institutions, the Commercial Environment, and ICT Transfer Implementation. Based on an action research methodology, I will specifically focus on eight representative cases in Ghana and study these cases intensively to understand how the predictor variables in my framework affect e-business outcomes in these organizations. In this research program, I expect to demonstrate that e-business capabilities and e-business value, while related, are distinct in their nature and in their contributing factors. Also, I develop a model of how environmental infrastructure-technological, political, and commercial-produces effective e-business outcomes in SSA. Finally, two important elements of this model have not been previously studied empirically, particularly not qualitatively with rich description: the institutional and commercial environment in which businesses operate; and a distinction between general policies on information and telecommunication technologies and those specifically tailored to e-business.
Okoli, Chitu, and Suzanne D. Pawlowski. 2004. The Delphi method as a research tool: an example, design considerations and applications. Information & Management 42, no. 1 (December): 15-29.
For more details on this paper, see the listing in the section on my research on research methodology.
Okoli, Chitu. 2003. Expert assessments of e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa: A theoretical model of infrastructure and culture for doing business using the Internet. Dissertation, Louisiana State University. http://chitu.okoli.org/bios/pro/research/pubs/dissertation-abstract.
Okoli, Chitu, and Victor W. A Mbarika. 2003. A framework for assessing e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Global Information Technology Management 6, no. 3.
Sub-Saharan countries are experiencing tremendous growth in Internet connectivity, the use of computers, and in the diffusion of wireless communications. Electronic commerce is one of the growth areas for information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Africa. This paper presents a research framework for assessing electronic commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa. It describes the nature of the digital divide, and explains the need for the commercial applications of the Internet in developing countries in general. Further, it presents literature on e-commerce frameworks, ICT diffusion, and ICTs in developing countries that shed light on different aspects of e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, it proposes a consolidating framework that synthesizes these various literature streams and lays groundwork for a focused body of research in this area.
Mbarika, Victor A. W, Pratim Datta, and Chitu Okoli. 2010. Extending the Social Identity of Information Systems: Telemedicine Transfer to Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Information Technology Research Forthcoming.
Although Benbasat and Zmud’s (2003) pronouncement of an “identity crisis” within the information systems (IS) discipline has been mitigated in the industrialized world, we are concerned that the crisis still looms large in the developing world. The objective of this paper is to understand how the information systems discipline can extend its social presence in developing countries to help sustain life itself. We illustrate our concern and argument with an in-depth examination of one area for which information systems research has much to offer: research into telemedicine—remote delivery of healthcare using telecommunications technologies—in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to transform the healthcare sector of this very needy society, home to 33 of the 48 least developed (poorest) countries of the world, and host to some of the world’s most serious ongoing health crises. Contrary to common thinking, socio-political nuances require a different lens to investigate IT-enabled social development in SSA. In that vein, we propose a research framework for telemedicine transfer in the context of SSA with propositions pertinent to the developing world. This paper surfaces issues often overlooked or deemed irrelevant in developed societies in which the bulk of present information systems research has been developed. We conclude by drawing thorough implications of this research agenda as a stepping stone to recreating a social identity in developing nations plagued with more immediate concerns surrounding basic human sustenance.
Stacie N. Nwabueze, Peter N. Meso, Victor W. Mbarika, Mengistu Kifle, Chitu Okoli, and Mark Chustz. 2009. The Effects of Culture of Adoption of Telemedicine in Medically Underserved
Communities. In Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 42:10. Vol. 42. CD-ROM. Waikoloa, Hawaii, USA: IEEE Computer Society, January 5.
Within the information systems discipline, three streams have emerged that address the issue of information technology adoption, diffusion and use. The first examines the factors influencing an individual’s decision to accept a new technology. The second stream deals with the impact of culture on the development and use of information technology; and the third stream is directed toward the transfer of information technology from one country or context into another. While these three streams have attempted to theorize and empirically explain the factors influencing information technology adoption within a new environment, they have largely been used separately and tested within the context of advanced economies. In this paper we attempt to integrate all three in examining the introduction of telemedicine technology in medically underserved communities. The results suggest that the interaction effects of the factors derived from all theories provide a better explanation of technology introduction in medically underserved communities.
Okoli, Chitu. 2006. Embedding telemedicine in its social context. Invited presentation presented at the ICTs and Health: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, March 9, Addis Ababa.
Tan, Joseph, Mengistu Kifle, Victor W. A Mbarika, and Chitu Okoli. 2005. E-medicine diffusion: E-medicine in developed and developing countries. In E-health paradigm shift: Perspectives, domains and challenges, ed. Joseph Tan, Chapter 8. New York: Jossey-Bass.
1. Define “E-medicine” in the context of the different periods in the development and growth of e-medicine as a concept, a discipline, and a practice
2. Review challenges faced in the history of e-medicine
3. Understand the significance of diffusing e-medicine in Canada
4. Identify factors affecting e-medicine implementation and diffusion in developing countries, specifically Ethiopia
5. Recognize the meanings and relationships among these constructs and their potential impact on e-medicine implementation success
Solomon, Aster, Mengistu Kifle, Victor A. W Mbarika, and Chitu Okoli. 2004. Telemedicine Endeavors in Ethiopia: Potential Benefits, Present Challenges, and Potential Factors. In 5th Annual Global Information Technology Management (GITM) World Conference, ed. Prashant C Palvia. San Diego: Global Information Technology Management Association.
Kifle, Mengistu, Aster Solomon, Victor A. W Mbarika, and Chitu Okoli. 2004. Critical Success Factors for Telemedicine in Ethiopia. In 2004 IRMA International Conference, ed. Mehdi Khosrow-Pour. New Orleans: Information Resources Management Association.
Mbarika, Victor A. W, and Chitu Okoli. 2003. Telemedicine in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Proposed Delphi Study. In 36th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, ed. Ralph H. Sprague. Waikoloa Village, Hawaii: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
By the end of 2001, an estimated 40 million people worldwide-2.7 million under age 15-were living with HIV/AIDS. More than 70 percent of these people (28.1 million) live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another killer, malaria, is responsible for as many as half the deaths of African children under the age of five. The disease kills more than one million children each year-2,800 per day-in Africa alone. As such statistics demonstrate, the need for medical care in Sub-Saharan Africa is paramount. Sub-Saharan Africa has fewer than 10 doctors per 100,000 people, and 14 countries do not have a single radiologist. The specialists and services that are available are concentrated in cities. This study examines the state of adoption of telemedicine in Sub-Saharan Africa. We present several examples of successful adoption of telemedicine in the continent, provide several research implications, and propose a Delphi study to identify the critical success factors that would enable successful implementation of telemedicine in Sub-Saharan Africa. While we do not claim that telemedicine will solve all of Sub-Saharan Africa’s medical problems, we do contend that it is a starting point to reach Africans that live in areas with limited medical facilities and personnel.
General and other
Greenbaum, Perry J. 2009. Internet equality — Webbed and Wireless. Concordia University Magazine, Spring. http://magazine.concordia.ca/2009/spring/features/equality.shtml.
The JMSB’s Chitu Okoli believes improving internet access for less developed nations will increase their economic opportunities
Okoli, Chitu (2009). A Brief Review of Studies on Open Source Software in Developing Countries in Peer-Reviewed Journals. SSRN Working Paper Series (http://ssrn.com/abstract=2293669).
For more details on this paper, see the listing in the section on my research on open source software.
Mbarika, Victor W. A, Chitu Okoli, Terry Anthony Byrd, and Pratim Datta. 2005. The Neglected Continent of IS Research: A Research Agenda for Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of the Association for Information Systems 6, no. 5: 130-169.
Research with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a major region within the world’s second largest continent, is almost non-existent in mainstream information systems research. Although infrastructures for information and communication technology (ICT) are well established in the more developed and industrialized parts of the world, the same is not true for developing countries. Research on developing countries has been rare in mainstream IS and, even where existent, has often overlooked the particular situation of SSA, home to 33 of the world’s 48 least-developed countries. Ironically, it is such parts of the world that can stand to gain the most from the promise of ICT with applications that would help the socioeconomic development of this region. In this study, we present the need for focused research on the ICT development and application for SSA. The information systems research community has a unique and valuable perspective to bring to the challenges this region faces in developing its ICT infrastructure, hence extending research and practice in ICT diffusion and policy. We present here a research agenda for studying the adoption, development, and application of ICT in SSA. In particular, teledensity, telemedicine, online education, and e-commerce present important areas for research, with implications for research, practice, and teaching.
Aynu, Bilen, Chitu Okoli, and Victor A. W Mbarika. 2003. IT training in Sub-Saharan Africa: A moderator of IT transfer for sustainable development. In 4th Annual Global Information Technology Management (GITM) World Conference, ed. Prashant C Palvia. Calgary: Global Information Technology Management Association.
While the importance of IT in development strategies is widely recognized, there has been relatively little consideration of the important role that IT training or human capacity development can play in structuring a sustainable IT development. In this paper we argue that although the development of IT infrastructure is a fundamental need for effecting sustainable development in SSA, the presence of substantial infrastructure cannot yield economic development without the human capital to effect this conversion. Thus, IT training is a necessary moderator to enhance the effect of IT transfer in achieving sustainable economic development. The economic role of IT training initiatives is more indirect, operating as a moderator of IT transfer factors that lay an underlying infrastructure for innovation for the growth of IT development.
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