Information systems implementation and IT-enabled organisational change in the Eastern Caribbean tourism sector : an examination of factors impacting on the successful adoption and use of the Internet and web-based systems in national tourist offices and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation
This research project addresses the adoption of the Internet and implementation of webbased systems by quasi-governmental organisations responsible for the management of tourism in the small island developing states (SIDS) in the Eastern Caribbean. The key aspects of this work entail the examination oft the factors which impact upon the systems implementation process and IT-enabled organisational change, levels of Internet adoption and maturity, the extent to which the implementation of web-based systems and e-business activities are being conducted within a strategic framework and the impacts and outcomes of the e-business activities in the tourism sector in these islands. Four in-depth case studies were conducted and data collected from a wide range of sources, across five of the islands, focusing primarily on the National Tourist Offices - and the regional tourism body, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation. Several models were used to address the key aspects of this study. It was found that while Internet penetration is relatively high, most web sites and web-based systems still have a limited focus on basic information provision and communication, as opposed to distribution and transaction oriented activities. The web-based systems in the National Tourist Offices are, for the most part, not being implemented within a broader strategic framework. The central aspect of this work deals with the analysis of factors which impact upon the successful implementation of web-based systems. A conception-reality (CR) gap model was used in the assessment of the organisational context variables in the information systems implementation process. The most significant factors affecting the implementation of webbased systems, indicated by wide CR gaps, were: financing constraints, a low level of emphasis placed on these initiatives and the limited integration of IT with related business processes. A distinct `organisational lag' was noted between technological innovation and administrative or process innovations. The critical impact of the wide gap in levels of management understanding is also addressed. The technology gap was moderate, and narrow gap levels were found for communication and user participation, which correlated with narrow gaps for clarity of objectives, staff acceptance and motivation. The broader context of this work is the phenomenon often referred to as the `Digital Divide'. Based on the findings of this work, it is argued that the wide chasms between countries of the North and those of the South cannot be defined only, or indeed primarily, in `technological terms'. The utilization of the new information and communications technology (ICT), as a means of social and economic advancement in developing countries, clearly requires firstly, the successful adoption and implementation of the relevant technologies. The overriding focus, however, must be on bridging key dimensions of the `conception-reality' gap, of which `technology' is but one aspect. This would result in fundamental changes, at the individual, organisational and national levels, fostering greater levels of social and economic progress, as well as in the process, narrow the `digital divide'.