E-Business assimilation in the context of Saudi Arabia : utilising Habermas' lifeworld and system theory
Al-Ariefy, Abdullah S.
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2011 Abdullah S Al-Ariefy. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
E-business assimilation in Saudi Arabia becomes critical due to the overarching social issues that the stakeholders encounter. Grounded in Habermas‘ Critical Social Theory (CST), this study applies the theory of lifeworld and system to understand the relevance of the Islamic faith as well as the Arab culture in the conduct of businesses in Saudi Arabia, which in turn, would make e-business assimilation a success.
This study seeks to contribute to the IS literature‘s lack of research in which the aim is to emphasise social factors as the main determinants of e-business assimilation. We point out that inherent to the other important factors (e.g., technological, organisational, and cultural), people‘s actions (emancipated or regulated) are most critical to realising business‘ innovation and growth through utilising e-business technology.
The sample of the study was composed of 1071 SAP end-users from the three leading Saudi companies, namely, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), and Saudi Iron and Steel Company (Hadeed), an affiliate of SABIC. Also, seven consultants contributed their knowledge and expertise regarding e-business adoption, on which they have been working for many years. The necessary data were collected through two methods: (1) distributed survey questionnaire for the SAP end-users; and (2) face – to - face (semi-structured) interview for the consultants.
The value of Habermas‘ theory of lifeworld and system is shown by the development of a business model that can be used to achieve e-business assimilation success in the context of Saudi Arabia because it has the ability to distinguish the actions in various social situations – whether the actions reflect emancipation or restriction of the actors‘ way of living; and consequently, whether the actors‘ way of living should remain as it is or should undergo necessary changes. The newly developed ―E-Business Assimilation Model‖ (EAM) includes as its constructs the most important factors relevant to e-business success as well as the concepts of lifeworld and system: that is, all factors are subject to be ―filtered‖ through both the lifeworld and the system constructs. Through EAM, it was found that it could be easy for the project team to execute an e-business project if they will give critical consideration II to the people‘s social and cultural beliefs, aspirations, perspectives and preferences. Understanding the people‘s social and cultural means allows the project team to customise the e-business systems to be installed, and to make sure that the new system really fits the organisational setting. For every challenging lifeworld and system situation, the top management can provide improved solutions to be applied.
The findings show how SAP implementation in the selected companies was affected by social factors such as age and gender; cultural factors such as religion; organisational factors such as performance motivating, management support and consultancy; and technological factors. The companies‘ change management programmes had enabled resolution of problems by the adoption of measures suited to each company‘s holistic characteristics and needs. Evidence of system-lifeworld interactions was demonstrated in each of these cases. Saudi society was shown to be strongly lifeworld oriented, such that ‗system‘ comes into conflict with a member of lifeworld and there are some lifeworld elements (such as gender roles and constraints) that system cannot change but must work within. The findings demonstrate the value of a system – lifeworld perspective in analysing factors influencing a change such as e-business assimilation and result in development of an elaborated model for holistic analysis of pertinent factors.
- Business School, The University of Hull
- Clarke, Steve, 1950-
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