The relationship between culture and e-business website acceptance (a comparative study of Arab and UK cultures)

  • Sa'ad Ali Khushman

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Previous research into website and e-business acceptance and usage has not been completely successful in establishing how this links with factors related to culture. Furthermore, most new technologies have originated within a developed cultural context—namely the United States and Western Europe. Consequently, when new technology transfers to different cultural settings we can predict some sort of cultural gap because of their technology acceptance modes. Most studies have focused on technology transfer into the developed countries with an a priori assumption about the fit of that technology without taking into consideration cultural values that would make impact its ultimate uptake and acceptance. Few of these studies have tried to investigate how Arab cultural values could influence general acceptance and use of e-business websites.

    The aim of this study is to explain the influence of culture on a user's acceptance behaviour and to develop a new website acceptance model that includes cultural variables. The researcher reviewed the existing literature related to culture, technology acceptance theories, Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and e-business. A Culturally- Sensitive Technology Acceptance Model (CTAM) was devised and a pilot study conducted to test the cultural variables considered relevant. Along with Perceived Usefulness, Perceived Ease of Use, Cultural Variables and Website Quality, these variables affect user Intention to Use e-business websites.

    The research combines both qualitative and quantitative methods to reflect the nature of the research problem and to determine whether any relationships between variables can be identified to determine behavioural patterns. A random sample consisting of 623 respondents was drawn from Arab and UK tourists visiting Jordanian tourist sites. A survey questionnaire and semi-structured interview were employed to obtain data from the selected sample. Questions contained in the questionnaire were derived from existing literature and were piloted to enhance its reliability and validity.

    Statistical methods were used to analyse the data in three main phases. The first phase aimed to establish that there were differences between the Arab and UK samples in terms of e-business website acceptance. This was found to be the case. The second phase aimed to establish that these differences were directly related to culture. Again, the results confirmed that there was a significant relationship between cultural variables and ebusiness website acceptance. In the third phase, a multiple regression analysis was applied to find the relationship between the independent variables (Website Quality, Cultural Variables, Perceived Usefulness and Perceived Ease of Use) and the dependent variable (Intension to Use). The results show that some of the cultural variables are not significant for either sample. Within the Arab sample, Trust, Tangibility, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance and Individualism were found to be significant but Subjective Norms and Masculinity were not. For the UK sample Trust, Power Distance and Individualism were significant but Tangibility, Subjective Norms, Masculinity and Uncertainty Avoidance were not.

    Hence, the results show that cultural variables have a significant impact on user acceptance of e-business websites and Davies’ 1989 original and general Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was found to be moderately applicable in an Arab milieu.

    However, not only do the Arab and UK groups have different preferences in website quality (such as website design, content, etc), but there are also differences in the acceptance process. For the UK, acceptance is routed through design preferences, usefulness and attitude of satisfaction. However, for the Arabs, it seems to be determined by ease of use. The results also indicate that factors such as tangibility and trust are playing an important role in determining website acceptance in Arab countries.

    The results are expected to provide useful insights that can help global businesses to enhance and improve technology acceptance across countries within different cultures such as the Arab and UK. This study provides a better understanding of the relationship between cultural values and website acceptance, and should help firms and companies understand the influence of core cultural values on e-business website acceptance and thus to better exploit social and cultural practices in organisational technology dispersal.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SponsorsJordan Tourist Board
    SupervisorAlison Todman (Supervisor) & Saad Amin (Supervisor)


    • management information systems
    • UK culture
    • internet
    • e-business websites
    • human computer interaction
    • Arab culture

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