Strategic information systems planning for competitive and co-operative advantage in a developing country
This thesis is concerned with the emerging role of information systems in the strategies of business in developing countries and the potential for improved business use to significantly increase national levels of utilisation of IT. A report by the United Nations in 1971 called for major efforts to increase the level of utilisation of IT in developing countries in order to accelerate the rate of their economic and social development. The current level of computer utilisation, however, remains low. There is uncertainty as to why this is so since our present understanding of the prevailing rationality in strategic information systems decision-making by indigenous firms is incomplete and has not been adequately captured in any established body of knowledge. This research sought to help address the problem of low utilisation by conducting exploratory case study research into strategic IS decision-making, and by the development of a framework of good practice to assist indigenous firms in their strategic decision-making. This research contends that the underlying cause of lower levels of utilisation of technology by indigenous companies is their particular environmental and financial circumstances, coupled with a lack of models to assist this management process. Iterative case study research was conducted on manufacturing and banking firms. The results of this research should be interpreted through the limitations of a single study in a single country, however, it provides a more detailed understanding of the dynamics of SISP by indigenous companies than has been offered previously. The major research outcome is a framework of practical SISP models of decision-making, sectoral placement and stages of development which can be applied to assist firms in their determination of appropriate actions and directions. Moreover, the research processes and techniques utilised can be applied by investigators in other contexts where they seek to examine qualitatively relationships between factors, processes and levels of utilisation of Information Technology.