The impact of socio-cultural and religious values on the adoption of technological innovation : a case study of Saudi Arabia

  • Abdullah Alsheddi

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The main purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of socio-cultural and religious values on the adoption of technological innovation in Saudi Arabia. Although many studies have been conducted on the adoption of technology in developed nations, only a few analyses have focused on the Middle East, and particularly Saudi Arabia (Al-Saggaf, 2004; Alomari, 2014). Specifically, there has been little research published specifically on the impact wielded by socio-cultural and religious values on technology adoption (Sedikides 2010; Al-Sharif, 2014; Ab. Wahab, 2016). This study addresses the gap in our knowledge on this subject by examining the impact of socio-cultural and religious factors on the adoption of technological innovation in a Middle Eastern country.
    The study develops a comprehensive theoretical framework based on existing relevant theories and models, namely the following: Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) by Venkatesh, Morris, Davis & Davis (2003); the Innovation Diffusion Theory Model (IDT) by Rogers (2003); the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) by Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) by Davis (1989); and the Cultural Dimensions Theory (CDT) by Hofstede (1973). The research model of this study comprises several new variables and several adapted variables that were not fully captured in the existing theories. New variables are added to the model to overcome the limitations of the current models. The selection and combination of factors in this study go beyond previous research in an attempt to create a better model by bringing together relevant factors into a coherent model that investigates innovation adoption by individual employees within an organization in Saudi Arabia.
    This study also expands on the current technology adoption studies within a developing country. It addresses a substantial knowledge gap by addressing cultural, social and religious influences in a comprehensive model. The study asserts that religious, cultural and social values have significant influence on the adoption of technological innovation. A solid contribution is made to theory and practice in the context of a Middle Eastern country. Furthermore, six research questions were developed to cover the areas of cultural values, social values, religious values, demographics and expected benefits in addition to the attitude effects. Twenty hypotheses were proposed for these six categories. The study uses quantitative methods to collect and analyze the data. Online questionnaires were used to collect information regarding the attitude to the adoption and usage of Government Resource Planning (GRP) Systems and the outcomes for employees working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia.
    A pilot study was conducted to establish the validity and reliability of the survey instruments. The questionnaire was then sent to 1677 employees to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Saudi Arabia). In total, 377 completed questionnaires were received of which 340 were deemed usable, making a response rate of 22.48%. Statistical Package for Social Sciences 23.0 (SPSS) was used to analyze the data. Data was analyzed using multivariate statistical analysis. The conducted summary statistics, frequency analysis, reliability tests (Cronbach’s alpha) correlation analysis, factor analysis and multiple regression analysis are presented here.
    The result shows that correlation coefficient squared R²=.512 which is also referred to as the coefficient of determination, indicates the percentage of total variation of Y (dependent variable). It is explained by the independent variables. In this analysis, 51% of the differences in employees’ attitude to the GRP application can be explained by the effect of cultural, social, and religious variables. Prior research suggests that an R² of .15 indicates moderate variance while an R² of .35 suggests high variance (Cohen, 1988). For this model, Power distance (t (340) =3.653, p<0.000), In-group collectivism (t (340) =3.437, p<0.001), and Masculinism (t (340) =3.682, p<0.000) are significant predictors of GRP acceptance. Uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation were found to have no significant effect. Of the two social factors, social network (t (340) =3.354, p<0.001) was found to have a significant effect while peers’ influence did not have a significant effect.
    From the four religious factors, perfection (Itqan) (t (340) =5.382, p<0.000), cooperation (Ta’awun) (t (340) =2.597, p<0.010), and transparency (Shaffaf) (t (340) =2.857, p<0.005), were found to have significant effect, while responsibility (Masuliyyah) had no significant effect. From the four demographic factors only, age (t (340) =2.222, p<0.027) was found to have a significant effect, while gender, academic qualification and job position emerged as having no significant effect. Attitude (t (340) =33.645, p<0.000) exerted a significant effect of usage level. Among the four outcomes variables three of them - cost effectiveness, (t (340) =3.087, p<0.002), service quality (t (340) =3.175, p<0.002), and organizational efficiency (t (340) =7.974, p<0.000) - have a significant relationship with the usage of GRP systems. Meanwhile a relationship with customers has no significant relationship.
    The research novelty of this study lies in the specification and development of a comprehensive research model to test the impact of cultural, social, religious, and demographics on the adoption of technological innovation. The combination of socio-cultural and religious variables into a single study context goes beyond previous research. It does this by bringing together all the relevant factors that may affect individual employees’ innovation adoption into a coherent model. This research fills a knowledge gap by investigating an unexplored topic in a Middle Eastern country.
    The outcomes of the study also provide a useful, deterministic tool for managers, government and organizations in Saudi Arabia to better manage and implement technological innovation in Saudi Arabia. It will help managers to identify any problems that individual employees face in adopting innovation and develop strategies that improve uptake and acceptance of a technological innovation. Findings of this study will assist the Saudi government to develop policies and procedures for the implementation of new technologies in various public service departments and agencies. The research provides guidelines to the government, public and private sector in Saudi Arabia to generate policies and procedures that govern technology acceptance in the workplace. This consequently will support in achieving King Salman’s national transformation program - a program for the development of human resources and the Saudi Vision 2030. Several limitations are identified and suggestions for future research are provided.
    Date of Award2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDharmendra Sharma AM PhD (Supervisor) & Majharul Talukder (Supervisor)

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