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Title: Does charity begin at the homepage? : an investigation into how and why charities are using Internet technology
Author: Goatman, Anna Kathryn
ISNI:       0000 0001 3501 2085
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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This research is concerned with the adoption of Internet technology by charities. It aims to address the shortfall of research into the detailed aspects of how and why charities are using Internet technology. Consequently, rather than having numerous specific aims, the research objective is broad, with a focus on discovery rather than developing or testing predetermined hypotheses. Philosophically, the research was undertaken from a constructivist standpoint, assuming a relativist ontology and subjectivist epistemological position. A grounded theory methodology was adopted. Data were collected through in-depth, unstructured, interviews with representatives of 31 charities of various sizes, mission-related activities and locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In accordance with the principles of grounded theory, the processes of data collection and analysis were undertaken simultaneously. All interviews were fully transcribed by the researcher, and the data analysed using NVivo. Line-by-line coding was used initially to code transcripts. Codes were then grouped into hierarchical trees, bringing together sections of data, and establishing relationships between them. The findings reveal that charities are using Internet technology to interact with a wide variety of audiences, and predominantly see Internet technology as a tool for service delivery, as opposed to a means of raising funds or promoting the organisation. The findings also show that the way in which charity websites are developed, managed and monitored is significantly influenced by the factors that differentiate charities from commercial organisations. The empirical research was undertaken prior to the literature review, in order that the literature selected could be guided by the findings. Accordingly, the literature review focuses on the heretofore distinct fields of e-services and not-for-profit marketing, and draws on research published in a number of different fields including stakeholder theory, information services, public sector marketing, e-business, e-commerce, e-health and e-government. The contributions of the research lie in three areas: theoretical, methodological and practical. Theoretically, the research indicates that Internet marketing can and should be expanded to incorporate non-commercial, non-financial, exchanges and/or relationships by linking the concept of e-service to that of charity marketing. There is also strong support for the suggestion that the Internet can be used to enhance voluntary spirit and improve economic performance. Methodologically, the research demonstrates that marketing and management researchers may benefit from looking outside the management and marketing discipline for research methods. Moreover, the research also helps build a bridge between theoretical and practical grounded theory. Practically, the research provides information of benefit and use to those working in the charity sector who may currently be using, or considering using, Internet technology to improve, enhance or change the way in which they operate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available