IT adoption by women executives


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An Exploratory Analysis of the barriers
in the Adoption of Information
technology byWomen in Business

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IT adoption by women executives

  1. 1. Towards a Gender and Social Identity Theory Analysisbarriers An Exploratory Analysis of the of Information Technologythe Adoption of Information in Adoption and Usage in Business Environments Technology by Women in Business Environments José Esteves, Célia de Anca, Salvador Aragón
  2. 2. Background • Some studies show that women are the predominant users of ICT in the work (e.g. Instituto de la Mujer 2006). • The cultural norms work clearly like entrance and permanence barriers in computer engineering and sciences (Webster 1996). • Nowadays, in Europe the female Internet use for educative y p activities is higher than men (45% of the women use it as opposed to 40% of the men in EU 15). • However, this percentage changes a lot if we analyze Internet use for financial services (40% of the men use it as opposed to 25% of the women). omen)
  3. 3. Background • The perception of the science and technology careers like socially isolated, consuming of time, intensely competitive and incompatible with a healthful family, animate women to avoid these careers. • A confirmed tendency by the empirical works is the smaller disposition of the female gender to course technical classes in the school or university which has direct implications in the nature of its future work (Gaskell 1992 Cohoon 2001 Joshi and Khun 1992, 2001, 2001). • Women have low shares of ICT-specialist employment and andand, if anything, these shares are decreasing or remaining constant, but rarely show an increase (Montagnier and Welsum 2006). y ( g )
  4. 4. Introduction This research in progress study attempts to investigate research-in-progress the reasons for women to adopt and use certain types of IT in business environments and the impacts of that IT adoption.
  5. 5. Research Methodology We have started doing focus groups analysis, and in a second phase, phase we will do a survey to confirm results results. Demographics: •A group of 7 women • age between 28 45 28-45 •Pos-graduated education (all with mba or finishing it) •All with laptop
  6. 6. Research Methodology • Exploratory Analysis p y y • Qualitative research study • To obtain in depth information about attitudes in-depth beliefs, perceptions, behaviour, interests, emotional response and concerns concerns.
  7. 7. What is a focus group? A group interview or discussion (i.e., (i qualitative approach) to lit ti h) t access memories, feelings and p perceptions concerning a specific p g p focused topic. A data collection procedure. Reference: Krueger, R. A. & Casey, M. A. (2000). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research. Sage Publications 7
  8. 8. Strengths of Focus Groups • Provides concentrated amounts of rich data, in participants’ own words, on precisely the topic of i i d i l h i f interest. • Interaction of participants adds richness to the data that may be missed in individual interviews. • Provides critical information in development of hypotheses or interpretation of quantitative data. yp p q
  9. 9. Sample Group 1 p Group 2 p Group 3 p Group 4 p Spain Brazil Spain Spain 7 7 8 10 All with a master or All with an Doing an EXMBA Doing an EXMBA MBA degree university or master degree Age: 30 40 30-40 Age: 35 45 35-45 Age: 30 45 30-45 Age: 30 45 30-45 All with a PC or All with a PC or All with a PC or All with a PC or laptop d i t l t and internet t laptop d i t l t and internet t laptop d i t l t and internet t laptop d i t l t and internet t connection at home connection at home connection at home connection at home Most of them with Most of them with Most of them with children children children
  10. 10. Focus Groups: Initial Questions • Do you think there is a technological gap between men and women? d • What reasons may cause resistance to the adoption and use of ICT? • How the ICT helps in your work? p y
  11. 11. Cultural/Social Environment Close Environment Individual
  12. 12. Cultural/Social Environment 1. Lack of perception of gender differentiation Close Environment 1. Family 2. Educational 3. Work Individual 1. Attitude 2. Basic Motivation
  13. 13. Individual Dimension: Attitude • The first aspect in which all the group agreed is that women in their talks they never speak of ICT. • The exception is to mobile phones, but even the talks on mobiles are due to the visual and fashionable aspects, rather than its capabilities of the mobile phone. • Even if they are in a mixed group of women and men, they do not talk about ICT, or if a topic like that appears, they try to change it immediately. • Although most of the women see a potential in ICT tools, they have preferred to focus in the problems associated to ICT use, mainly discussing the issues of “the iti “th writing and communication style of emails”, th ethical problems, and th d i ti t l f il ” the thi l bl d the problem of confidentiality because everything is kept registered and can be sent to others. • They feel safer commenting certain issues/problems by telephone rather than a digital medium like email.
  14. 14. Individual Dimension: Basic Motivation • All participants feel comfortable with of Microsoft Office tools, trying more and more to llearn tools lik PowerPoint or Excel b l like i l because of their professional needs. h i i l d Nevertheless, most of them do not have an advanced usage level, only developing the capabilities needed to perform their tasks. • The topic of communication is probably the one that attracts more them, although the majority has admitted that they think that tools like the E mail or E-mail the Messenger are time consuming, and they prefer ICT tools using audio communication. • As far as ICT projects, only one participant explained that she was involved in a project of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) In her case since her (CRM). case, childhood, ICT was present in her close environment. Her motivation for the use of the ICT is recognized in her company, what it has often made possible to invite her to participate in projects where there is a technological base as the base, case of the implementation of a CRM.
  15. 15. Individual Dimension: Basic Motivation • If they have some free time available, the participants mentioned that they do not think either about seeing something of ICT, or in venturing themselves to learn a new tool if they do not see a practical utility in a short-term or medium-time period. i d • This aspect may have a critical importance in the way ICT courses are designed and taught taught. • The participants agreed that in the case of men exists an aspect of the personality more of adventure and curiosity to learn something, although they do not see it as applicable in the near future.
  16. 16. Close Environment: Family • Women who have had a computer and contact with ICT in their houses since they were kids (although they had not used it), they feel more comfortable with ICT and its usage. • Those women, who have not had previous contact with the ICT, continue having much more resistance to the ICT and they perceive it as something related to work. • Also it was analyzed the fact that the new technologies must allow the woman to combine i work with the education of i children, h bi its k ih h d i f its hild without this disable her to evolve in its career. • The fathers are who spend more time with the children in front of ho ith the computer. • Although part of the reason can be the overload of work of the woman, we thought that the main aspect is the cultural one and the own attitude of the woman to ICT.
  17. 17. Social/cultural • Most of the participants have mentioned that culture stills seeing men like whom must have knowledge on ICT or “mechanical things” whereas women should have knowledge or experience in “more sensible” aspects. • Some participants mentioned th t sometimes th h S ti i t ti d that ti the human resources d department t t directors in their companies promote the same cultural mentality by not inviting or proposing more ICT courses for women. • All the participants agreed that the adoption of the ICT can bring them professional benefits benefits. • Nevertheless, they have seen it like a need of the modern society to compete equally with men, but not as much as gender discrimination medium, probably because professionally they d not f l di i i b f i ll h do feel discriminated. d • At personal level, they see there is a disadvantage in relation to men. Those that have children, still noticing that their daughters are not interested in ICT, , g g , whereas their children are those that use more the computers in house.
  18. 18. Social/cultural • When we began to argue with the evident numbers that exist of lack of women in technical careers, and the fact that most of the participants did not have an advanced l l of t h l i l skills, some of th d d level f technological kill f them h have expressed th need d the d of this issue of gender differentiation has to be improved. • We perceive this factor of lack of perception of gender differentiation as a defensive way to not show that at this moment women are more vulnerable in ICT skills skills. • Group thinking behaviours and social identity theory - Even some of them admitted ICT was an issue, after 5 minutes they changed their position for the opinions of the rest of the group, and they prefer to say (and being contradictory to previous position) that ICT skills were not a problem y p p ) p between men and women discrimination.
  19. 19. Limitations • Yes, it is an exploratory study☺ • Only women as participants • Social Pressure in Group Decisions – group polarization • Groupthink – group members try to maintain harmony and unanimity in group – can lead to some better decisions and some worse decisions than individuals
  20. 20. Conclusions • An exploratory conceptual model of the adoption barriers and use of ICT by women in business environments. • 3 important dimensions have been identified: the individual dimension, the dimension near surroundings, and finally the cultural di lt l dimension. i • These factors may have strong implications in the way women are educated in ICT and the way ICT courses are designed designed. • The main implication would be the change of the design of ICT courses trying to give eminently character of practice and courses, applicability sense in the topics taught and sense of awareness of the need to improve the ICT skills.
  21. 21. Further work • Model Validation – Survey development. • Comparison between women and men. • Use of social identity theory theory.