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Motivations to subscribe to streaming services

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Understanding motivations to use online streaming services

Prof. Mark Anthony Camilleri has recently co-authored an academic contribution that explored the consumers’ perceptions, motivations and intentions to use online streaming technologies. The following text is an adapted version of an open-access article that was accepted for publication in the Spanish Journal of Marketing – ESIC. The full paper can be accessed online through: 

https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/SJME-04-2020-0074/full/html

The unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a considerable increase in the number of subscriptions to paid streaming services. Media and entertainment companies including Amazon’s Prime Video and Netflix, among others, are responding to these latest developments in the marketing environment. These service providers may usually acquire exclusive licensing rights to stream a variety of TV shows and movies through their online platforms. In many cases, they are also investing in resources, competences and capabilities to produce and distribute their own content. They do so to offer their subscribers a wide selection of streaming services that can be accessed through digital devices and mobile applications (apps).

In this light, the researchers explored the online users’ motivations and gratifications from watching movies, TV series and/or live broadcasts through new media devices. From the outset, the researchers hypothesised that the individuals’ acceptance of streaming technologies, as well as their ritualised and instrumental motivations to use them, would have a positive effect on their intentions to continue using them.

The findings from this research indicated that the streaming software enhanced the respondents’ experience of watching informative and/or entertainment programmes. Hence, they were committed to continue watching recorded movies and TV series through digital media including mobile devices like smart phones and tablets.

The statistical analysis revealed that there were highly significant relationships between the individuals’ perceived ease of use of online programmes and their perceived usefulness. Both factors were also correlated with their intentions to use streaming technologies.

Moreover, the survey respondents’ ritualised motivations to use these online media was found to have a very significant effect on their intentions to use them. Evidently, they were utilising online streaming technologies on a habitual basis, to break the routine. It appears that they sought emotional gratifications from streaming services, as they considered them as a form of distraction.

The research participants also revealed that they used online streaming technologies for instrumental purposes to watch informative programmes, including news and talk shows in addition to entertainment programmes, including movies and series. Other studies also reported that there were many instances where individuals benefited of their smart phones and tablets’ instrumentality and ubiquity, as they enabled them to watch recorded videos, live streams as well as intermittent marketing content, when they were out and about.

During COVID-19, more businesses allocated significant marketing expenditures to online channels. As a result, many ads were also featured in different websites, including those that offer live streaming services. Video ads are usually presented to free-tier consumers as skippable or non-skippable streaming.

In this case, participants clearly indicated their agreement with the survey item that sought information about their preferences with regards to advertising options, whilst using streaming services. Respondents were aware that subscribed users of online streaming technologies can limit or block intrusive and repetitive advertisements. This finding suggests that there is scope for digital marketers to refine the quality of their video ads. Ultimately, it is in their interest to create engaging promotional clips that appeal to their target audiences.

In a similar vein, online streaming service providers ought to feature interactive content that enhances their customers’ overall online experience. This study revealed that the survey participants appreciated that the streaming programmes can be accessed from any place, at any time, through Internet networks and decent Wi-Fi connections.

Furthermore, respondents indicated that the streaming technologies were entertaining them in their free time. This factor affected their engagement with them. On the other hand, this study demonstrated that the research participants’ instrumental motivations were not predicting their intentions to continue using these media.

One of the plausible reasons for this finding is that respondents were using big screens to watch on-demand streaming services rather than accessing them via their mobile devices’ smaller screens.  The latest TVs offer high resolution images and better sound systems than smart phones and tablets.

Recap

This contribution sheds light on the factors that are motivating individuals to purchase online streaming services. It implied that online users were subscribing to these services to entertain themselves by watching new movies and TV series, in an ad-free environment. This study confirmed that consumers perceived the usefulness of online streaming technologies as they provided secure, reliable, low latency streaming infrastructures. Probably, consumers valued the service providers’ recommender systems as they reminded them about new or trending movies and TV series. Such alerts are usually related to the consumers’ personal preferences and previous consumption behaviours.

In conclusion, it is hoped that the findings from this research will open-up future research avenues to academia. Perhaps, other studies involving interpretative research can investigate the subscribers’ opinions and beliefs on streaming services. Inductive methodologies can possibly reveal important factors about the individuals’ consumption behaviours, and could also clarify why, where, when and how they are using online streaming technologies. This way, service providers of streaming services will be in a better position to retain customers and attract new ones.

Suggested Citation: Camilleri, M.A. & Falzon, L. (2021). Understanding motivations to use online streaming services: Integrating the technology acceptance model (TAM) and the uses and gratifications theory (UGT), Spanish Journal of Marketing – ESIC., Forthcoming, DOI: 10.1108/SJME-04-2020-0074

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Filed under digital media, Marketing, online, online streaming

The Students Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations to Engage with Digital Learning Games

An Excerpt from one of my latest papers, entitled; “The Students’ Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations to Engage with Digital Learning Games”.

How to Cite: Camilleri, A.C. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Students Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations to Engage with Digital Learning Games. In Shun-Wing N.G., Fun, T.S. & Shi, Y. (Eds.) 5th International Conference on Education and Training Technologies (ICETT 2019). Seoul, South Korea (May, 2019).


This contribution has explored the primary school’s grade three  students’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations toward the use of educational games. It relied on the technology acceptance model to investigate the students’ perceived usefulness and ease of use of the  schools’ games ([7], [8], [15]). Moreover, the researchers have also  included the measuring items that explored the students’ perceived  enjoyment ([12], [13], [20]) as they investigated whether they  experienced normative pressures to play the educational games ([14], [22], [23]). The findings from the Wilcoxon test reported that the students played the school games at home, more than they did at school. They indicated that the school’s games were easy to play.

This study reported that the students recognized that the school’s games were useful and relevant as they were learning from them. Moreover, they indicated that the school’s educational games held their attention since they found them enjoyable and fun. The vast majority of the children played the educational games, both at home and at school. The findings in this study are consistent with the argument that digital natives are increasingly immersing
themselves in digital technologies ([2]), including educational games ([1], [4], [10], [11], [28]). However, the results have shown that there was no significant relationship between the perceived ease of the gameplay and the children’s enjoyment in them.

Furthermore, the stepwise regression analysis revealed that there was no significant relationship between the normative expectations and the children’s engagement with the educational games; although it was evident (from the descriptive statistics) that the parents were encouraging their children to play the games at home and at school.

This research relied on previously tried and tested measures that were drawn from the educational technology literature in order to explore the hypothesized relationships. There is common tendency  in academic literature to treat the validity and reliability of quantitative measures from highly cited empirical papers as given. In this case, the survey items in this study were designed and adapted for the primary school children who were in grade 3, in a
small European state. Future studies may use different sampling frames, research designs and methodologies to explore this topic. To the best of our knowledge, there is no other empirical study that has validated the technology acceptance model within a primary school setting. Further work is needed to replicate the findings of  this research in a similar context.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We thank the department of education, the school’s principal and her members of staff who have provided their invaluable support during the data gathering process.

REFERENCES
[1] Ge, X., and Ifenthaler, D. 2018. Designing engaging
educational games and assessing engagement in game-based
learning” In Gamification in Education: Breakthroughs in
Research and Practice, IGI Global, Hershey, USA, 1-19,

[2] Bourgonjon, J., Valcke, M., Soetaert, R., and Schellens, T.
2010, Students’ perceptions about the use of educational
games in the classroom. Comp. & Educ. 54, 4, 1145-1156.

[3] Hwang, G.J., and Wu, P.H. 2012. Advancements and trends
in digital game‐based learning research: a review of
publications in selected journals from 2001 to 2010. Brit. J.
of Educ. Tech. 43, 1, E6-E10.

[4] Carvalho, M.B., Bellotti, F., Berta, R., De Gloria, A.,
Sedano, C.I., Hauge, H.B., Hu, J., and Rauterberg, M. 2015.
An activity theory-based model for serious games analysis
and conceptual design. Comp. & Educ. 87, 166-181.

[5] Connolly, T.M., Boyle, E.A., MacArthur, E. Hainey, T., and
Boyle, J.M. 2012. A systematic literature review of empirical
evidence on computer games and serious games. Comp. &
Educ. 59, 2, 661-686.

[6] Burguillo, J.C. 2010. Using game theory and competitionbased
learning to stimulate student motivation and
performance. Comp. & Educ. 55, 2, 566-575.

[7] Dickey, M.D. 2011. Murder on Grimm Isle: The impact of
game narrative design in an educational game‐based learning
environment. Brit. J. of Educ. Tech, 42, 3, 456-469.

[8] Huang, W.H., Huang, W.Y., and Tschopp, J. 2010.
Sustaining iterative game playing processes in DGBL: The
relationship between motivational processing and outcome
processing. Comp. & Educ. 55, 2, 789-97.

[9] Harris, J. Mishra, P., and Koehler, M. 2009. Teachers’
technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning
activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration
reframed. J. of Res. on Tech. in Educ. 41, 4, 393-416.

[10] Wouters, P., Van Nimwegen, C., Van Oostendorp, H., and
Van Der Spek, E.D. 2013. A meta-analysis of the cognitive
and motivational effects of serious games. J. of Educ. Psych.
105, 2, 249-266.

[11] Camilleri, M.A., and Camilleri, A. 2017. The Students’
Perceptions of Digital Game-Based Learning, In Pivec, M.
and Grundler, J. 11th European Conference on Games Based
Learning Proceedings (London, UK, October 04-05, 2017),
University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria, 56-62.

[12] Davis, F.D. 1989. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of
use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS
Quart. 319-340.

[13] Davis, F.D., Bagozzi, R.P., and Warshaw, P.R. 1989. User
acceptance of computer technology: a comparison of two
theoretical models. Mgt. Science, 35, 8, 982-1003.

[14] Ajzen, I. 1991. The theory of planned behavior. Org. Behav.
and Human Dec. Proc. 50, 2, 179-211.

[15] Lee, M. K., Cheung, C. M., and Chen, Z. 2005. Acceptance
of Internet-based learning medium: the role of extrinsic and
intrinsic motivation. Inf. & Mgt. 42, 8, 1095-1104.

[16] Chen, K. C. and Jang, S. J. 2010. Motivation in online
learning: Testing a model of self-determination theory.
Comp. in Human Behav. 26, 4, 741-752.

[17] Dunne, Á., Lawlor, M. A., and Rowley, J. 2010. Young
people’s use of online social networking sites–a uses and
gratifications perspective. Journal of Res. in Int. Mktg. 4, 1,
46-58.

[18] Li, H., Liu, Y., Xu, X., Heikkilä, J., and Van Der Heijden, H.
2015. Modeling hedonic is continuance through the uses and
gratifications theory: An empirical study in online games.
Comp. in Human Behav. 48, 261-272.

[19] Teo, T., Beng Lee, C., Sing Chai, C., and Wong, S.L. 2009.
Assessing the intention to use technology among pre-service
teachers in Singapore and Malaysia: A multigroup invariance
analysis of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).
Comp. & Educ. 53, 3, 1000-1009.

[20] Camilleri, M.A., and Camilleri, A.C. 2017. Digital learning
resources and ubiquitous technologies in education, Tech.,
Knowl. and Learng. 22, 1, 65-82.

[21] Park, S.Y. 2009. An analysis of the technology acceptance
model in understanding university students’ behavioral
intention to use e-learning, Educ. Tech. & Soc. 12, 3, 150-
162.

[22] Venkatesh, V., Morris, M.G., Davis, G.B. and Davis, F.D.
2003. User acceptance of information technology: Toward a
unified view. MIS Quart. 425-478.

[23] Venkatesh, V., Thong, Y.T.L., and Xu, X. 2012.Consumer
acceptance and use of information technology: extending the
unified theory of acceptance and use of technology. MIS
Quart. 157-178.

[24] Ryan, R. M., and Deci, E. L. 2000. Intrinsic and extrinsic
motivations: Classic definitions and new directions.
Contemp. Educ. Psych. 25, 1, 54-67.

[25] Cheon, J., Lee, S., Crooks, S. M. and Song, J. 2012. An
investigation of mobile learning readiness in higher
education based on the theory of planned behavior. Comp. &
Educ. 59, 3, 1054-1064.

[26] Chang, C.T., Hajiyev, J., and Su, C.R. 2017. Examining the
students’ behavioral intention to use e-learning in
Azerbaijan? The general extended technology acceptance
model for e-learning approach. Comp. & Educ. 111, 128-
143.

[27] Park, S. Y., Nam, M. W., and Cha, S. B. 2012. University
students’ behavioral intention to use mobile learning:
Evaluating the technology acceptance model. Brit. Journal of
Educ. Tech. 43, 4, 592-605.

[28] Camilleri, M.A. and Camilleri, A.C. 2017. The Technology
Acceptance of Mobile Applications in Education. In
Sánchez, I.A. and Isaias, P. (Eds) 13th
International Conference on Mobile Learning (London, UK,
10-11 April 2018). International Association for
Development of the Information Society Budapest, Hungary,
41-48.

Presentation is available at: https://www.slideshare.net/markanthonycamilleri/the-students-intrinsic-and-extrinsic-motivations-148006875

 

 

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Filed under digital games, Digital Learning Resources, digital media, Education, internet technologies, internet technologies and society

The Students’ Perceived Use, Ease of Use and Enjoyment of Educational Games

This is an excerpt from one of my latest empirical papers.

How to Cite: Camilleri, A.C. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Students’ Perceived Use, Ease of Use and Enjoyment of Educational Games at Home and at School. 13th Annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference. Valencia, Spain (10-13 March, 2019). International Academy of Technology, Education and Development (IATED). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3339163


gamesThis contribution has explored the primary school’s grade three students’ attitudes toward educational games. It relied on the technology acceptance model to investigate the students’ perceived usefulness and ease of use of the schools’ games ([10], [12], [44]). Moreover, the researchers have also included the measuring items that explored the students’ perceived enjoyment ([19]) as they investigated whether they experienced normative pressures to play the educational games ([10], [14], [20]). The findings from the Wilcoxon test reported that the students played the school games at home, more than they did at school. They indicated that the school’s games were easy to play. This study reported that the students recognized that the school’s games were useful and relevant as they were learning from them. Moreover, they indicated that the school’s educational games held their attention since they found them enjoyable and fun.

The vast majority of the children played the educational games, both at home and at school. The findings in this study are consistent with the argument that digital natives are increasingly immersing themselves in digital technologies ([45]), including educational games ([1], [3]). However, the results have shown that there was no significant relationship between the perceived ease of the gameplay and the children’s enjoyment in them. Furthermore, the stepwise regression analysis revealed that there was no significant relationship between the normative expectations and the children’s engagement with the educational games; although it was evident (from the descriptive statistics) that the parents were encouraging their children to play the games at home and at school.

This research relied on previously tried and tested measures that were drawn from the educational technology literature in order to explore the hypothesized relationships. There is common tendency in academic literature to treat the validity and reliability of quantitative measures from highly cited empirical papers as given. In this case, the survey items in this study were designed and adapted for the primary school children who were in grade 3, in a small European state. Future studies may use different sampling frames, research designs and methodologies to explore this topic. To the best of our knowledge, there is no other empirical study that has validated the technology acceptance model within a primary school setting. Further work is needed to replicate the findings of this research in a similar context.

REFERENCES (this is a full list of references that appeared in the bibliography section of the paper)

 
[1] J. Bourgonjon, M. Valcke, R. Soetaert, and T. Schellens, “Students’ perceptions about the use of educational games in the classroom,” Computers & Education, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 1145-1156, 2010.

[2] S. Bennett, K. Maton, and L. Kervin, “The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence,” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 39, no. 5, pp. 775-786, 2008.

[3] M. Prensky, “Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1,” On the horizon, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 1-6, 2001.

[4] W. Nadeem, D. Andreini, J. Salo, and T. Laukkanen, “Engaging consumers online through websites and social media: A gender study of Italian Generation Y clothing consumers.” International Journal of Information Management, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 432- 442, 2015.

[5] H.J. So, H. Choi, W.Y. Lim, and Y. Xiong, “Little experience with ICT: Are they really the Net Generation student-teachers?”, Computers & Education, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 1234- 1245, 2012.

[6] J.M. Twenge, “The evidence for generation me and against generation we.” Emerging Adulthood 1, no. 1, pp. 11-16, 2013.

[7] D. Oblinger, and J. Oblinger, “Is it age or IT: First steps toward understanding the net generation,” Educating the Net Generation, 2(1-2), 20, 2015.

[8] N. Howe, and W. Strauss, “Millennials go to college: Strategies for a new generation on campus,” American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), 2003.

[9] K. Gregor, T. Judd, B. Dalgarno, and J. Waycott, “Beyond natives and immigrants: exploring types of net generation students,” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol. 26, no. 5, pp.332-343, 2010.

[10] T. Teo, “Modelling technology acceptance in education: A study of pre-service teachers,” Computers & Education 52, no. 2 (2009): 302-312, 2009.

[11] M. Fishbein, and I. Ajzen, “Belief, attitude, intention and behavior: An introduction to theory and research,” 1975.

[12] F.D. Davis, “Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology,” MIS Quarterly, pp. 319-340, 1989.

[13] F.D. Davis, R.P. Bagozzi, and P.R. Warshaw, “User acceptance of computer technology: a comparison of two theoretical models,” Management Science, vol. 35, no. 8, pp. 982- 1003, 1989.

[14] I. Ajzen, “The theory of planned behavior,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 179-211, 1991.

[15] V. Venkatesh, M.G. Morris, G.B. Davis, and F.D. Davis, “User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view,” MIS Quarterly, pp. 425-478, 2003.

[16] V. Venkatesh, J.Y.L. Thong, and X. Xu, “Consumer acceptance and use of information technology: extending the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology,” MIS Quarterly, pp. 157-178, 2012.

[17] S.Y. Park. “An analysis of the technology acceptance model in understanding university students’ behavioral intention to use e-learning,” Educational Technology & Society, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 150-162, 2009.

[18] P. Legris, J. Ingham, and P. Collerette, “Why do people use information technology? A critical review of the technology acceptance model,” Information & Management, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 191-204, 2003.

[19] H. Nysveen, P.E. Pedersen, and H. Thorbjørnsen, “Intentions to use mobile services: Antecedents and cross-service comparisons,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 330-346, 2005.

[20] L.M. Maruping, B. Hillol, V. Venkatesh, and S.A. Brown, “Going beyond intention Integrating behavioral expectation into the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology,” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 623-637, 2017.

[21] V. Venkatesh, and M.G. Morris, “Why don’t men ever stop to ask for directions? Gender, social influence, and their role in technology acceptance and usage behavior.” MIS Quarterly, pp. 115-139, 2000.

[22] M.A. Camilleri and A. Camilleri, “The Students’ Perceptions of Digital Game-Based Learning,” In M. Pivec and J. Grundler, 11th European Conference on Games Based Learning (October). Proceedings, University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria, pp 56- 62, 2017.

[23] T. Teo, and M. Zhou, “Explaining the intention to use technology among university students: a structural equation modeling approach,” Journal of Computing in Higher Education, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 124-142, 2014.

[24] T. Doleck, P. Bazelais, and D.J. Lemay, “Examining the antecedents of social networking sites use among CEGEP students,” Education and Information Technologies, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 2103-2123, 2017.

[25] B. Wu, and X. Chen, “Continuance intention to use MOOCs: Integrating the technology acceptance model (TAM) and task technology fit (TTF) model,” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 67, pp. 221-232, 2017.

[26] C.T. Chang, J. Hajiyev, and C.R. Su, “Examining the students’ behavioral intention to use e-learning in Azerbaijan? The general extended technology acceptance model for elearning approach,” Computers & Education, vol. 111, pp. 128-143, 2017.

[27] I. Arpaci, K. Kilicer, and S. Bardakci, “Effects of security and privacy concerns on educational use of cloud services,” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 45, pp. 93-98,
2015.

[28] A.F. Agudo-Peregrina, Á. Hernández-García, and F.J. Pascual-Miguel, “Behavioral intention, use behavior and the acceptance of electronic learning systems: Differences between higher education and lifelong learning,” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 34,
pp. 301-314, 2014.

[29] F. Paraskeva, H. Bouta, and A. Papagianni. “Individual characteristics and computer self-efficacy in secondary education teachers to integrate technology in educational practice,” Computers & Education, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 1084-1091, 2008.

[30] D.R. Compeau, and C.A. Higgins, “Computer self-efficacy: Development of a measure and initial test,” MIS Quarterly, pp. 189-211, 1995.

[31] S.A. Nikou, and A.A. Economides, “The impact of paper-based, computer-based and mobile-based self-assessment on students’ science motivation and achievement,” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 55, pp. 1241-1248, 2016.

[32] L.A. Annetta, J. Minogue, S.Y. Holmes, and M.T. Cheng, “Investigating the impact of video games on high school students’ engagement and learning about genetics,” Computers & Education, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 74-85, 2009.

[33] E.W.T. Ngai, J. K. L. Poon, and Y.H.C. Chan, “Empirical examination of the adoption of WebCT using TAM,” Computers & Education, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 250-267, 2007.

[34] T.Teo, and C. Beng Lee, “Explaining the intention to use technology among student teachers: An application of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB),” Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 60-67, 2010.

[35] T. Teo, and C. Beng Lee, C. Sing Chai, and S.L. Wong, “Assessing the intention to use technology among pre-service teachers in Singapore and Malaysia: A multigroup invariance analysis of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM),” Computers & Education, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 1000-1009, 2009.

[36] J.Y.L. Thong, W. Hong, and K.Y. Tam, “Understanding user acceptance of digital libraries: what are the roles of interface characteristics, organizational context, and individual differences?” International journal of human-computer studies, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 215-242, 2002.

[37] M.A. Camilleri, and A.C. Camilleri, “Digital learning resources and ubiquitous technologies in education,” Technology, Knowledge and Learning, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 65- 82, 2017.

[38] D.Y. Lee, and M.R. Lehto, “User acceptance of YouTube for procedural learning: An extension of the Technology Acceptance Model.” Computers & Education, vol. 61, pp. 193-208, 2013.

[39] T. Teo, and P. Van Schalk, “Understanding technology acceptance in pre-service teachers: A structural-equation modeling approach,” The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 47-66, 2009.

[40] C. Smarkola, “Technology acceptance predictors among student teachers and experienced classroom teachers,” Journal of Educational Computing Research, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 65-82, 2007.

[41] M.A. Camilleri, and A.C. Camilleri, “Measuring The Educators’ Behavioural Intention, Perceived Use And Ease Of Use Of Mobile Technologies,” In Wood, G. (Ed) Reconnecting management research with the disciplines: Shaping the research agenda for the social sciences (University of Warwick, September). British Academy of Management, UK, 2017.

[42] M. Turner, B. Kitchenham, P. Brereton, S. Charters, and D. Budgen, “Does the technology acceptance model predict actual use? A systematic literature review,” Information and Software Technology, vol. 52, no. 5, pp. 463-479, 2010.

[43] R.P. Bagozzi, and Y. Youjae, “On the evaluation of structural equation models,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 16, no. 1, pp.74-94, 1988.

[44] M.A. Camilleri, and A.C. Camilleri, “The Technology Acceptance of Mobile Applications in Education,” In Sánchez, I.A. and Isaias, P. (Eds) 13th International Conference on Mobile Learning (Budapest, 11th April). pp41-48. International Association for Development of the Information Society, 2017.

[45] A. Colbert, N. Yee, and G. George, “The digital workforce and the workplace of the future,” Academy of Management Journal, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 731-739, 2016.

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RESEARCH: The Small Business Owner-Managers’ Attitudes toward Digital Media

An Excerpt from my latest paper: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Forthcoming).


small-businesses-social-media

This contribution sheds light on the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the pace of technological innovation, perceived use and ease of use of digital media; as they communicate and interact with interested stakeholders online. It also explored their stance on responsible entrepreneurship, specifically on commercial, ethical and social responsibilities, as well as on their willingness to support other responsible stakeholders.

This empirical study and its theoretical underpinnings contribute to an improved understanding as to why today’s SMEs are expected to communicate with stakeholders through digital media. At the same time, it raises awareness of responsible entrepreneurial initiatives that could be promoted through digital media, including; corporate websites, social media and blogs, among others.

Generally, the results reported that there were high mean scores and low standard deviations, particularly when the participants were expected to indicate their attitudes on their commercial and ethical responsibilities. The nature of the SMEs’ CSR activities is usually integrated into their company culture, often implicitly in habits and routines that are inspired by highly motivated owner-managers; rather than explicitly in job descriptions or formalized procedures (Jenkins, 2006). The factor analysis indicated that the SME owner-managers were increasingly perceiving the usefulness of digital media to engage with marketplace stakeholders, including; consumers, suppliers and other businesses, as they promoted their responsible entrepreneurship behaviors.

The communications on their businesses’ social responsibility and environmentally-sound practices also served them well to engage with other interested groups; including; human resources, shareholders and investors, among others. This finding mirrors Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) argumentation as these authors remarked that each business decision on economic, social, and environmental aspects must take into account all stakeholders. Notwithstanding, the businesses and their marketers need to possess relevant knowledge on their stakeholders, as this will impact on the effectiveness of their CSR communication (Morsing and Schultz, 2006; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

The value of their communications lies in their ability to open-up lines of dialogue through stories and ideas that reflect their stakeholders’ interests (Fieseler and Fleck, 2013; Moreno and Capriotti, 2009). For these reasons, companies cannot afford to overstate or misrepresent their CSR communications. Their online communication with stakeholders could foster positive behaviors or compel remedial actions, and will pay off in terms of corporate reputation, customer loyalty and market standing (Tantalo and Priem, 2016; Du et al, 2010).

This study suggests that the SME owner-managers were recognizing that they had to keep up with the pace of technological innovation. Yet there were a few participants, particularly the older ones, who were still apprehensive toward the use of digital media. Eventually, these respondents should realize that it is in their interest to forge relationships with key stakeholders (Lamberton and Stephen, 2016; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Rauniar et al., 2014; Uhlaner et al., 2004). This research posits that the owner-managers or their members of staff should possess relevant digital skills and competences to communicate online with interested parties.

Likewise, Baumann Pauly et al., (2013) also recommended that the managers must be trained, and that their CSR activities must be evaluated. These findings are in line with other contributions (Spence and Perrini, 2011; Perrini et al., 2007) that have theoretically or anecdotally challenged the business case perspective for societal engagement (Penwar et al., 2017; Baden and Harwood 2013; Brammer et al. 2012).

The regression analysis has identified and analyzed the determinants which explain the rationale behind the SME owner-managers’ utilization of digital media for stakeholder engagement and for the promotion of responsible entrepreneurship. It reported that the respondents’ technology acceptance depended on their perceived “use” and “ease of use” of digital media; and on their willingness to communicate online on their commercial, ethical and social responsibilities.

The results from the regression analysis reported positive and significant relationships between the SMEs’ online stakeholder engagement and the pace of technological innovation; and between the SMEs’ online engagement and the owner-managers’ perceived usefulness of digital media. This study indicated that the pace of technological innovation, the owner-managers’ perceived ease of use of the digital media, as well as their commercial responsibility were significant antecedents for their businesses’ online communication of their responsible behaviors. Arguably, the use of technology is facilitated when individuals will perceive its usefulness and its ease of use (Davis, 1989).

In fact, the findings from this research have specified that the owner-managers’ intention was to use digital media to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship. They also indicated their desire to use this innovation to engage with stakeholders on other topics, including commercial and ethical issues. This is in stark contrast with Penwar et al.’s (2017) findings, as the authors contended that the SME owner-managers’ perceptions on social engagement did not hold the same virility when compared to the context of their larger counterparts. These authors argued that the tangible benefits of CSR engagement had no effect on SMEs. In a similar vein, Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) study reported that the larger businesses were more effective than SMEs in their CSR communications.

However, the findings from this study’s second, third and fourth regression
equations indicated that the small and micro businesses were using digital media to improve their stakeholder engagement and to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship issues.

Implications and Conclusions

SME managers and executives are in a position to enhance the effectiveness of their businesses’ communication efforts. This study has identified and analyzed the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the utilization of digital media for the communication of commercial, ethical and social responsibility issues.

Previous academic research has paid limited attention to the technology acceptance of digital media among small businesses, albeit a few exceptions (Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Baumann Pauly, Wickert, Spence and Scherer, 2013; Durkin et al., 2013; Taylor and Murphy, 2004). In this case, the research findings indicated that digital technologies and applications were perceived as useful by the SME owner-managers. This implies that the utilization of digital media can be viewed as a critical success factor that may lead to an improved engagement with stakeholders.

Several SMEs are already communicating about their responsible entrepreneurship through conventional and interactive media, including; social media, review sites, blogs, et cetera. These savvy businesses are leveraging their communications as they utilize digital media outlets (e.g., The Guardian Sustainability Blog, CSRwire, Triple Pundit and The CSR Blog in Forbes among others) to improve their reach, frequency and impact of their message.

In addition, there are instances where consumers themselves, out of their own volition are becoming ambassadors of trustworthy businesses on digital media (Du et al., 2010). Whilst other stakeholders may perceive these businesses’ posturing behaviors and greenwashing (Camilleri, 2017; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

A thorough literature review suggested that the positive word-of-mouth publicity through digital media may lead to strategic and financial benefits (Camilleri, 2017; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Durkin et al., 2013). Therefore, businesses, including SMEs, are increasingly joining conversations in social media networks and online review sites. These sites are being used by millions of users every day. Indeed, there is potential for SMEs to engage with their prospects and web visitors in real-time.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, digital media, Marketing, Small Business, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement