The Role of Culture in the Adoption of Electronic Commerce in Thailand
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Hofstede’s cultural dimensions have been used extensively in cross-cultural research because globalization has led organizations to do more business across continents, and therefore researchers need to compare the Information Technology (IT) context across multiple cultures. The examination of cross-cultural studies and IT adoption has caused a problem with the level of analysis because the measuring of the impact of culture has predominantly been at the national level. However, numerous IT issues, such as the factors affecting Electronic Commerce (e-Commerce) adoption, require an examination of issues at the individual unit of analysis. Therefore, there was need to address the unit of analysis to be able to develop a research model that accounts for the influence of national dimensions on the individual levels of e-Commerce adoption. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the impact of national culture on the take-up of e-Commerce technology in Thailand. In particular, the thesis examines the role of culture in e-Commerce adoption within Thai small and medium enterprises in the hospitality industry, and the role of trust in social networks, as the dominant factor in the e-Commerce adoption decision. The findings of the present study suggest that culture does have an influence on e-Commerce adoption in Thailand. As Thailand is a collectivist society, the influence is then in the form of the reliance of potential e-Commerce adopters on their strong-tie relationships with friends and family members. There is also evidence suggesting that Thai culture is at a stage of shifting from a traditional to a modernized society because of the influence from Western countries. This can be seen by the change in cultural dimension scores between Hofstede’s original study in 1980 and the present research. Even though cultural change might be occurring, the individualism index of Thai society still shows that Thai people are rooted within a collectivist framework, particularly in terms of the role of trusted people influencing decision-making in relation to the adoption of e-Commerce. Another key finding of the present study is that trust in social networks plays a crucial role in a cross-cultural model. Four out of five cultural dimensions were found to have a statistically significant and positive influence on trust in social networks. This makes trust in social networks a dominant antecedent of the technology acceptance model (TAM) beliefs on attitude and the intention to adopt the e-Commerce system. In addition, trust is also found to have a strong and direct effect on e-Commerce adoption. The contribution of this thesis is that it introduces the role of trust in social networks into cross-cultural and e-Commerce adoption studies. Furthermore, it also applies the new e-Commerce adoption model to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in a developing country context. This is important because the emphasis of e-Commerce adoption studies is usually placed on large organisations and developed countries, especially in North America and Western Europe. Future research opportunities are also discussed within this thesis.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Griffith Business School
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e-Commerce technology in Thailand