Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 15 Number 3 1998 pp. 197-234

Exploring the Application and Acceptance of Group Support Systems in Africa

De Vreede, Gert-Jan, Jones, Noel, and Mgaya, Rabson J

ABSTRACT: Cross-cultural group support systems (GSS) field studies are scarce. Although the state of knowledge and theory development in this area warrants a focus on descriptive field explorations, most cross-cultural GSS research has taken place in laboratory environments. The study reported here represents the first detailed descriptive field study of GSS application in Africa. A grounded theory approach was used to collect and analyze data on eleven projects in which GSS meetings were organized in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. From the data emerged a model of GSS acceptance in the cultures investigated that extends the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) in terms of a specification of a number of relevant external factors. These factors include the endorsement of top management, computer literacy, oral communication preference, referent power, and satisfaction with use. Furthermore, the findings suggest that there is potential for applying GSS in Africa to support capacity-building efforts, which tops the agenda of international development agencies.

Key words and phrases: cross-cultural studies, field study, group support systems, grounded theory research, technology acceptance