Predicting Students Usage of Internet in Two Emerging Economies Using an Extended Technology Acceptance Model (Tam)

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ABSTRACT

This study employed an extended technology acceptance model (TAM) to predict Internet usage in two developing countries (Chile and United Arab Emirates (UAE)). In addition to investigating the impacts of perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived usefulness (PU), and perceived Internet content (PIC) on students ' usage of the Internet, it analyzed the direct impacts of external variables such as gender, educational background, income level, self-reported measure of computer knowledge, Internet cost, and Internet availability on Internet usage and their moderating role in the relationship between PEOU, PU, and PIC and Internet usage. To validate the research model, data was collected from 169 students from Chile and 194 students from United Arab Emirates (UAE). The results showed that only PU was a significant predictor of Internet usage for both Emirates and Chilean samples. Additionally, while gender significantly impacted Emirates students ' usage of Internet, self-reported knowledge about computers significantly impacted Chilean students ' usage of Internet. Income level was the only significant moderator for both countries. PU affected usage of the Internet more positively for students with high income level than it did for those students with low income. Discussion of practical implications of the results was included.

INTRODUCTION

Most studies of the Internet have focused primarily on adoption, e-commerce, and web design (e.g., Kim et al., 2005; Park, et al., 2004; Stanfield and Grant 2003; Ranganathan and Grandon 2002; Tan and Teo 1998; Teo and Pian 2004). Little research has been done on student usage of the Internet (Alshare et al, 2005a). Additionally, the majority of studies on Internet usage in the last decade have been carried out in developed countries. There is a need to understand not only why technology has or has not been adopted but also to comprehend the impacts of its adoption by developing countries. The Internet has major impacts upon the ability of developing countries and citizens to be more effective participants in the emerging global business environment.

The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), introduced by Davis (1989), is the mostpopular model used in Information Systems (IS) literature to predict the intention or the usage of Information Technology (IT). According to the citation index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI 2005), by September 2005, there were 63 1 journal citations for the original Davis (1989) article. In his model, Davis introduced perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness as the two main factors that influence computer usage (e-mail). TAM has been used in predicting intention or usage of different computer applications primarily in the region of North America (Lapczynski 2004; Pijpers 2001). TAM was then extended by incorporating additional factors; see for examples, (Alshare et. al, 2004; Davis et al., 1989; Gefen and Straub 1997; Venkatesh et al. 2003; Venkatesh and Davis 2000; and Lucas and Spitler 2000). It is worth mentioning that there were few studies that tested TAM or extended versions outside the region of North America, primarily in developed countries (e.g., Al-Gahtani 2001, Huang et al., 2003; Lai and Wong 2003; Straub et al., 1997). Moreover, fewer studies applied TAM or extended versions to developing countries (e.g., Akour et al. 2006; Elbeltagi et al., 2005; Loch et al., 2003; McCoy et al. 2005; Parboteeah et al., 2005; Rose and Straub, 1998; Zakour 2004).

In this study, we extended the research that was conducted by Alshare et. al (2005a) by including more external variables such as Internet cost and Internet availability. Additionally, we tested a modified TAM model outside the region of North American in two developing countries, Chile and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These two countries represent two emerging economies (The World Competitiveness Yearbook, 2002).

LITERATURE REVIEW OF CONSTRUCTS AND HYPOTHESES

Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) and Perceived Usefulness (PU)

According to TAM, perceived ease of use refers to the extent to which a person feels that using a particular technology would be free of effort. …