Factors affecting end-user computing sophistication in small business
This thesis describes research on End-User Computing (EUC) in small business in an environment where no Information System (IS) support and expertise are available. The research aims to identify the factors that contribute to EUC Sophistication and understand the extent small firms are capable of developing their own applications. The intention is to assist small firms to adopt EUC, encourage better utilisation of their IT resources and gain the benefits associated with computerisation. The factors examined are derived inductively from previous studies where a model is developed to map these factors with the degree of sophistication associated with IT and EUC. This study attempts to combine the predictive power of quantitative research through surveys with the explanatory power of qualitative research through action-oriented case study. Following critical examination of the literature, a survey of IT Adoption and EUC was conducted. Instruments were then developed to measure EUC and IT Sophistication indexes based on sophistication constructs adapted from previous studies using data from the survey. This is followed by an in-depth action case study involving two small firms to investigate the EUC phenomenon in its real life context. The accumulated findings from these mixed research strategies are used to form the final model of EUC Sophistication in small business. Results of the study suggest both EUC Sophistication and the Presence of EUC in small business are affected by Management Support and Behaviour towards EUC. Additionally EUC Sophistication is also affected by the presence of an EUC Champion. Results are also consistent with respect to the independence between IT Sophistication and EUC Sophistication. The main research contributions include an accumulated knowledge of EUC in small business, the Model of EUC Sophistication, an instrument to measure EUC Sophistication Index for small firms, and a contribution to research methods in IS.