In his research, Almahroos (2012) investigated the impact on the attitude of people of Saudi Arabia on the adoption of online buying. The scholar used a TRI scale that was based on optimism, innovativeness, insecurity, and discomfort, as well as 71 hard copy questionnaires and 97 online questionnaires. He found that the attitude of people of Saudi Arabia towards a technology affected their adoption of online buying. The level of education was also found to be a factor that determined people’s adoption to online buying. For instance, highly educated individuals tend to purchase items and services online more often than less educated ones (Almahroos 2012). It is worth stressing that the study had a limitation of the sample population biasness. The scholar collected the data from undergraduates aged between 18 and 35 who had completed their studies and possessed income between 1,000 and 10,000. The article has contributed to the changing of people’s perception concerning the adoption of online buying technologies.
The internet has been used by many people in Saudi Arabia for various purposes, such as social networking, sending emails, and discussing politics. Being one of the media used by many people, the internet has been implemented in various institutions and has contributed to new ways of bargaining that establish internet politics. Anderson (2007) compared studies done in Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia on internet’s freedom and coercion and concluded that the internet has enhanced a shift in the political economy in the developing nations from modernization to globalization. It has enabled free airing of political ideas and relating them to those of other nations. The study is acceptable as it draws its conclusion after comparing the internet usage in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
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Having conducted the study that involved 74 students from the UAE universities, either public (1) or private, Shen and Shakir (2009) found that the internet usage among Arab adolescents is diverse. In most cases, it involves searching for information applying search engines, such as Google, sending emails, chatting using social networking sites, like Facebook, entertainment, and discussing online. The study indicated that the internet is a tool that can lead to changes in the educational institutions, society, and workplace. The study had a limitation of using a small sample size of 74 students. It was too small to represent the whole UAE and involved more conservative students; therefore, it cannot be used for generalization.
Alqudsi-ghabra, Al-Bannai and Al-Bahrani (2011) collected data from 6 Arab countries and found that though the application of the internet in most GCC and Arab countries started slowly and rapidly spread during the 21st century. The researches stressed that there are disparities in the usage, adoption, and flow of information in most of the countries, even though they have similar commonalities in their political, economic and cultural aspects. Alqudsi-ghabra, Al-Bannai and Al-Bahrani (2011) noted that laws and regulations in the regions affect the flow of information and reduce the adoption and use of the internet. In addition, the revolts have greatly affected the adoption and spread of the internet in the Arab and GCC countries. The research had a limitation of not by using absolute numbers from different countries to interpret study results. The research contributed a lot to the development of various strategies that help with the spread and use of the internet in the regions.
By collecting data across 105 countries, developed and developing, including Saudi Arabia, using the most commonly used measure of the internet adoption comparison across countries – Internet users per 10000 inhabitants (IUR), Beilock and Dimitrova (2003) concluded that the per capita income determined the diffusion of the internet in most users in various countries. The level of people’s openness in the society and the level of liberty enjoyed by people determined the diffusion and use of the internet. The state of infrastructure also contributed to the diffusion of the internet in various regions. By creating and using a non-economic factors level, the researchers did a remarkable work to determine the factors that influence the diffusion of the internet in 16 European countries.
By issuing self-administered questionnaires to dermatological patients of King Saud University, AlGhamdi and Almohedib (2011) found that the internet is not only used by medical practitioners, but also by patients. AlGhamdi and Almohedib (2011) found that most dermatology outpatients in Saudi Arabia use the internet to find some information regarding health. Young educated women who earn more money use the internet to search for online health information more than other female and males. Though they relied on their doctors for medical information, they contended that the internet provided valuable information regarding health. The researchers recommended that doctors should guide patients to the websites with credible health-related information. The research helped in conducting further research regarding not only the use of the internet by professionals, but also by the people they attend to, such as patients and students.
Digital divide, a term used to describe unequal implementation and use of current information communication technology, is caused by many factors in the Middle East and other developing countries. Ghashghai and Lewis (2003) reviewed various literatures and found that the factors include: low levels of education, poor technology, disparity in the level of income, and poor infrastructure. They recommended for various strategies, such as developing economic and cultural practices that enable successful implementation of the internet. The paper encourages many stakeholders to develop cultural and practical approaches that would enable the public to take advantage of the benefits brought by technology.
During their research, Sait and Al-Tawil (2007) collected data from 3000 respondents using questionnaires. The following data allowed them to conclude that a lot of people are beginning to use the internet in Saudi Arabia, which has encouraged social development by connecting people with their families and friends and bringing people with similar interests together. However, since the internet is usually used by individuals, there is fear that it would lead to isolation among users (Sait & Al-Tawil 2007). By interpreting direct results, analyzing queries and merging results of the study, the paper presents comprehensive research that can help to solve social issues regarding the use of the internet in Saudi Arabia.
The decision making style in the public and private organizations in Saudi Arabia determines the adoption of the internet by professionals in the organizations. In their study that involved 87 public relations professionals in Saudi Arabia, Al-Shohab, Fredrick, Al-Kandari, and Dorsher (2010) found that the authoritarian decisions making style in the public sector hinders the adoption of the internet in the institutions. On the other hand, the collaborative forms of making decisions in the private organizations encourage employees to adopt and use the current technological innovations to improve the efficiency and innovation (Al-Shohaib, Frederick, Al-Kandari, & Dorsher 2010). The study contributed a lot to the field of the internet and technology usage as it provided a clear reason that has lag the public sector behind.
The advent of the internet and its continued growth in usage in various parts of the country have made it fused and connected to many appliances and machines, such as telephones, washing machines, vehicles, and pagers. However, this has not been fully implemented in the Middle East, due to obstacles, such as disparities in income, language barrier, illiteracy, and lack of education (Alterman, 2000). The expensiveness of satellite television and the internet is another factor that has delayed the adoption and use of technology in the area (Alterman 2000). The article is very educative and gives promises that, just like technologies of the last two decades, the internet and satellite technology will be adopted in Saudi Arabia.
Using Website Block Finder application software constructed using Visual Studio C++ MFC to study website blocking in 10 countries, Mathrani and Alipour (2010) studied the restriction on the diffusion of the internet through regulations put by the government across ten countries, including Saudi Arabia and the USA. They found that the access of websites is restricted in the areas related to religion, social networking, politics, news channels and entertainment in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, among other countries. The study has contributed a lot to the research by IT professionals on finding ways of blocking websites and bypassing those that are blocked.
By conducting a web survey to 1000 out of 690,000 internet users, Sait, Al-Tawil, Ali, and Ali (2003) found that the internet in Saudi Arabia is mainly used for the social, educational and business purposes. Though the internet has changed and socialized most people in Saudi Arabia, it has shade off some culture that was practiced. It has promoted education as most professionals use it to do research and further their education and has promoted businesses through advertising and e-commerce (Sait, Al-Tawil, Ali & Ali 2003). The study has contributed a lot to the implementation of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia as it provides the expectations of people regarding e-commerce in the region.
The unequal distribution of broadband technology creates a new form of the digital divide. By collecting data from countries and utilizing multiple aggression analysis, Gulati and Yates (2010) found that the diffusion of broadband technology is evident in the countries with the culture of sound governance and allocate a lot of money into the information communication technology sectors. Good governance and ICT infrastructure encourages competition in all sectors, including business, government, and education, therefore improving standards of living of citizens of such countries. The model used in the study applied models that are easy to measure but did not use those that are difficult to measure, such as skills in ICT and motivation to use ICT. Therefore, it did not represent full information regarding digital divide and broadband.
The heavy regulation and surveillance of the internet and its contents in the Arab countries have created a barrier to the exploration of the internet for the political activities. However, in 2011, the free use of the internet and mobile technology during the uprisings that demanded change in politics made a great shift in the utilization of the internet in the regions (Breslow & Allagui 2011). This has enabled a creation of communities where people become members and discuss their views regarding various aspects of the countries. The study has contributed to the continued un-regulation of most internet content in the Arab world and the use of the internet political purposes.
Zittrain and Edelman (2002) connected to the internet through proxy servers and accessed about 60,000 websites to study how the websites are filtered. The scholars found that Saudi government is highly involved in filtering web content on that contains information regarding religion, education, health, entertainment, humor, and reference (Zittrain & Edelman 2002). Zittrain and Edelman (2002) also noted that the Saudi government delegates the web blocking to its web filtering software provider that determines the kind of websites to block based on the guidelines given to them. The researchers recommended for documentation of more blocked sites, including those that are designed in the Arabic language. Since the list they provide does not represent the full list of websites blocked by the government, their conclusion seems not validated and does not represent the web blocking system of Saudi Arabia.
Studies done on the effect and use of the internet in educational institutions in Saudi Arabia indicate that male students have high internet skills than female ones (Sait, Al-Tawil, Khan & Faheemuddin 2009). The internet motivates male students more that it does to female students and both male and female student prefer the use of the internet in their educational system. However, the internet use in education has encouraged plagiarism among students. Most teachers in the education systems in Saudi Arabia had no internet skills and were not using it to teach their students (Sait, Al-Tawil, Khan & Faheemuddin 2009). Using bivariate regression analysis of data, the study provided an insight of the behavior of the internet use in the educational sector in Saudi Arabia.
Such scholars as Sait, Ali, Al-Tawil and Sanaullah (2003) conducted a web-based survey using questionnaires. They found that the young generation in Saudi Arabia uses the internet more frequently compared to the old generation, with men leading in the internet usage. Many people, 51% of those who use the internet, pay for its connection while the rest connect to the internet from their educational institutions (Sait, Ali, Al-Tawil, & Sanaullah 2003). Many users of the internet search for information relating to software and hardware, as well as use it for chatting and making telephone calls (Sait, Ali, Al-Tawil, & Sanaullah 2003). It should be noted that the research only included the online population as the sample. Thus, it could not reflect the views of all people as it failed to reflect the response of those who were not online.
Williams et al (2007) studied the factors that influence the adoption and use of broadband technology in both developing and developed countries. They found that the developing countries have adopted the internet and demand more supplies from manufacturers and are utilizing high internet connection. The developing countries, on the other hand, have a low adoption of broadband technology; they either do not have internet access or have adopted DSL technology. As a result, they are experiencing slow internet connectivity (Williams et al. 2007). While people or countries try to adopt internet technology, the quality and speed of the internet should be of major concern. This panel discussion has contributed to encouraging internet adopters to consider the quality and speed of the internet connection.
Almobarraz (2007) used the diffusion of the innovation theory to study the perceived adoption of the internet among faculty members at IMSU and chi-square and multiple regression techniques to analyze data. The scholar found that a small percentage (9.9%) of faculty member had not adopted the internet. The majority of faculty members adopted the internet and used it for research, teaching, and socializing (Almobarraz 2007). The factors that hindered their adoption included their decisions on whether to adopt or not to adopt the internet and the communications channels in place. The innovation theory, being technology related, provided results that can be improved through further research or used for the improvement purposes.
The Saudi Arabian Government and private sectors show varying results regarding the adoption and use of internet. In the study in which a Rodger’s diffusion innovations theory as the theoretical framework was applied, Al-Shohaib (2005) found that a larger percentage (93.2%) of public relations professionals in the private sector adopted the internet compared to a small percentage (82.5%) in the public sector. This was attributed to availability of the internet connection and management support (Al-Shohaib 2005). The study helped in the field as it provided the causes of differences that exist in the adoption and use of the internet by the public relations professionals in the public and private institutions.
Factors that enable the diffusion of broadband in the developed countries are different from those that affect the diffusion of broadband in the developing countries (Gulati & Yates 2012). The researchers contend that the broadband diffusion in the developed countries is greater than in the countries that have invented heavily in information communication and technology, have implemented good governance, have highly educated citizens, and have encouraged urbanization (Gulati & Yates 2012). In addition, high competition in the telecommunication sector enables the diffusion of broadband technology. The research is informative as it dwells on the combination of business and technology. It contributed to the field of business and technology, especially in the current world where business and technology are inseparable.
Dwivedi and Weerakkody (2006) investigated the factors that influence attitude towards the broadband adoption in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They concluded that the major factors are connection type, usefulness of the technology, the quality of service provided by the technology, and the nature of the use of the technology (Dwivedi & Weerakkody 2006). Other factors that were involved include: regulation and filtration of broadband as consumers did not like it. As technology is important and its adoption greatly helps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness, the article’s discussion of the factors that hinder the adoption of broadband was timely and contributed a lot to the field.
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