Attitude towards adoption of sustainable technology by Malaysian SMEs and its impact on organizational performance

  • Muhammad Fauzan Abu Bakar

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research investigates organizational attitudes towards the adoption of sustainable technology and its impact on organizational performance among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia. The current innovation management research mainly focuses on determinants affecting organization employees’ attitudes. This research offers a parallel shift, focusing instead on organizational attitudes influencing adoption of sustainable technology within the SME context. Three main variables undergo in-depth examination: human attitudes, human persuasion and human ethics. As an additional edge to the theoretical research framework, government aid is a part of the antecedents of the adoption process. Historically, Malaysian SMEs are reliant on government support to ensure smooth business operations. Based on the triple bottom line model, it is perceived that adopting sustainable technology will impact on the economic, social and environmental performance of these organizations. The use of sustainable technology is increasingly driven by the demands to save resources, yield long-term cost savings, and protect the environment. Sustainable technology is currently attracting the attention of many business organizations, especially SMEs operating at the international level. Malaysia’s transitional economy is an excellent example of the succession of traditional to sustainable technologies. Antecedents serving as the foundation towards the integration of these advances into Malaysian business operations are not well researched. This study develops an advanced model of sustainable technology adoption, considering the strengths and limitations of existing models. The theoretical framework for this study is based on the theory of reasoned action (TRA),theory of planned behavior (TPB),attribution theory (AT),environmental attitudes model and the triple bottom line model. The research model of this study contains several modified variables that were not included in the existing theories. New variables are also added to the model to overcome the limitations of the current models. The advanced model combines multiple sets of factors found in previous models and incorporates factors that have been suggested in previous research. Furthermore, it incorporates additional variables found in other studies related to sustainable technology acceptance, to create a coherent model of sustainable technology adoption. The combination of factors in this study goes beyond previous research in an attempt to bring together relevant factors which can influence innovation adoption. These variables are integrated into a single model to examine the relationships between the antecedents and adoption of sustainable technology. The study uses quantitative methods to collect and analyze the data. Survey questionnaires were used to collect information regarding adoption of sustainable technology, and outcomes of that adoption, from Malaysian SMEs. Survey questionnaires were distributed to 3,460 randomly selected SMEs in eight districts of Malaysia. A list of SMEs was obtained from the SME Corporations Malaysia. This research used the online survey tool SurveyGizmo to email the survey instrument to target respondents. The purpose and aims of the research were explained in the email. A total of 382 completed questionnaires were received during three months. After the filtering process,322 questionnaires were accepted. The acquired data were analyzed through several stages in order to obtain relevant findings. SmartPLS was used to analyze the obtained data, using partial least squares – structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) algorithm. Frequency distribution, correlation and multivariate statistical techniques were used to analyze the data. Multicollinearity and outliers tests were also conducted to ensure that there was no bias in the data. Additional analysis was conducted to explain the phenomenon, by providing the importance–performance matrix analysis and modelling categorical moderator effects. After proposing and testing the advanced theoretical research model, the results showed three different PLS-SEM path analyses: adoption as the dependent variables, adoption as independent variables, and organizational characteristics as a control variables. The results indicated that affective and altruism had positive and significant effects on the adoption of sustainable technology. This research captured organizational perceptions of the adoption of sustainable technology and the impact of adoption on performance of Malaysian SMEs. This research broadens our understanding of the antecedents affecting adoption of sustainable technology in Malaysian SMEs. From a practical point of view, the research provides guidelines for SMEs and government policy makers with regard to sustainable technology adoption in Malaysia. Although the theoretical research model developed in this study is relatively advanced, further development of the model would be necessary to examine variables set in a different context. As this research is limited to Malaysian SMEs, future research should adjust the model to suit the needs of any other studies beyond Malaysia. Furthermore, longitudinal research would be appropriate to capture the changes that may occur over time and space in terms of antecedents and outcomes of adoption of sustainable technology. The research model tested in this study can be applied other developing countries to compare the findings with those of the current study relating to adoption and outcomes of sustainable technology in the SME sector.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorMajharul Talukder (Supervisor) & Ali Quazi (Supervisor)

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