Abstract of Chitu Okoli’s Dissertation
Expert assessments of e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa:
A theoretical model of infrastructure and culture for doing business using the Internet
In spite of numerous socioeconomic problems in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), there has been an increasing growth of Internet connectivity, and much business activity has arisen to take advantage of this technology. This dissertation investigates experts’ assessments of the pertinent factors affecting e-business in SSA from the dual perspective of national infrastructure and culture.
I review the literature related to e-business in SSA and develop three conceptual models that identify various pertinent factors and hypothesize their interrelationships in determining e-business outcomes. The first model includes all the factors I identify; the second model examines those factors that operate at the national level; and the third includes those that operate at the cultural level. For empirical insight into my research questions, I design and conduct a survey that empirically solicits information from business practitioners, government officials, officials of nongovernmental organizations, and academics that have expertise related to e-business among urban SMEs in SSA. I use the survey responses to test the research models and to help answer my research questions.
The overall model explains approximately 30 percent of the variation in e-business capabilities and in e-business value. I find that from a national infrastructure perspective, experts believe that non-specific general information and communication technology (ICT) policies are not very influential, while policies targeted specifically towards e-business are important in affecting e-business capabilities and in obtaining value from e-business, as well as ICT infrastructure. ICT infrastructure only affects e-business capabilities, but not its value. Experts believe that national governance institutions positively affect e-business value, but not capabilities. They do not believe that commercial infrastructure significantly affects e-business outcomes. Additionally, from the cultural perspective, 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. I conclude by discussing the findings in light of the existing literature related to e-business in SSA, and by noting implications for management, research and teaching.
The full dissertation is available online. A summary report of the results of dissertation survey is available.
Subsequent to the dissertation, I collected similar data on Latin America; the combined results are also available.