Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Information Systems and Decision Sciences

Major Professor

Alan Hevner, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Rosann Collins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donald Berndt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jamil Jreisat, Ph.D.

Keywords

contingency theory, decision support system, developing economies, Global IT, ICT4D, ICT sector

Abstract

Building a thriving information economy is a goal for many developing countries. This research helps identify the factors (inhibitors and motivators) that can be used to leverage the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in a developing country to build a sustainable information economy that benefits other sectors of the economy. This is done by studying the current literature on this topic and then synthesizing the theoretical models to create a unified decision framework to help developing countries set their path to building a sustainable information economy.

Drawing on past literature and extant theory, a novel ICT4D decision framework is built that provides a three-dimensional view based on 1) the ICT value chain, 2) key factors (e.g. infrastructure, policies, markets), and 3) stakeholders (e.g. industry, government, academia). This decision framework is then used to study the case of Palestine, where secondary and primary data are used to compare the critical success factors for Palestine with the general framework. This synthesized framework and critical success factors superset is expected to advance the field’s understanding of how both controllable and non-controllable country characteristics contribute to or inhibit the growth and development of an ICT sector in developing countries. In addition, the framework and identified success factors help in setting a future path for development.

Results from both secondary data sources demonstrate the usability of the framework to analyze the current setting of the ICT sector, in addition, to help investigate a range of possible opportunities for action to reach a higher level of ICT success. Then, via a targeted set of interviews with academic, industrial, and governmental sources who are experts in the Palestinian ICT arena, an exploratory study was performed that focused on key critical success factors for future development of the ICT economy. Controllable factors that have the potential for sustainable action were identified.

In the case of Palestine, it appears that despite having many challenges that are out of control, there seem to be many opportunities for change specifically in government and educational policies that can help the ICT sector in specific, and the Palestinian economy in general reach its real potential. Given the current political situation in Palestine, it was found that there is a great potential in creating new software products for export. The challenges in this particular area in the case of Palestine lies in the lack of adequate business skills to research the global market and to market products and services that can be offered by the Palestinian ICT sector.

The findings should also help stakeholders see if the challenges to developing an ICT sector in Palestine are the same as those for any developing country, and where they are truly unique. The outcomes of this research have the potential to frame and inform economic development decisions that could define the future of the Palestinian state.