In the recent past, many organizations have adopted e-commerce as a strategy in improving their level of performance in the contemporary competitive market. However, several barriers have hindered the adoption of e-commerce. One of the main barriers to e-commerce is gender. There is a significant difference in the perception of barriers to e-commerce between men and women. To eliminate the barriers to e-commerce, there is a need to have a clear understanding of various perceptions of these barriers to come up with necessary solutions. Gender has a major role in the perception of these barriers, which are encountered in the adoption of e-commerce in the UAE.
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Since the introduction of the internet, e-commerce has become very common in conducting various business activities all over the world. E-commerce has brought significant changes in the community in various aspects. It has also brought changes in the social environment. The adoption of e-commerce has helped in the elimination of various barriers in international trade. Organizations can now use various information and communication technologies in different business activities. However, e-commerce has not yet achieved its potential in the international market. In Arab countries, e-commerce is still far away from reaching its potential level. This is despite the significance of its impact on the global market.
Several barriers have faced the adoption of e-commerce by many businesses in the UAE. One of the main barriers is the cost. The adoption of the current technology usually requires a significant amount of capital in its implementation. Many organizations are however not ready to incur such expenses. Another barrier in the adoption of e-commerce is the complexity involved in its implementation. This kind of technology requires an organization to adopt several changes in its operations. For instance, it may face resistance in an attempt to implement these changes. When resistance takes place in an organization, it usually has a significant implication in various business operations. Some organizations may also not be in a position to access the necessary resources required for the adoption of this kind of technology. In addition, security concerns are also a major barrier to the adoption of e-commerce among others. As a result, the adoption of e-commerce in the UAE has not been successful as expected.
As already noted, there are several barriers to E-commerce in the UAE. These barriers have to some extent obstructed the adoption of E-commerce. Although there have been several studies carried out on the possible barriers to E-commerce, there has not been an adequate effort made to examine the association between e-commerce and gender in the UAE. This is even though it has a significant implication in the adoption of technology in day-to-day operations in the UAE.
As seen earlier, there is a significant difference in perception of the barriers to e-commerce from both men’s and women’s perspectives. According to previous studies, it has been revealed that women perceive technical issues to be more important than organizational issues (Schniederjans & Cao, 2002). This implies that women take the technical problems with more seriousness than organizational issues. For instance, they perceived the compatibility of the technology to have a major impact on e-commerce and its application in an organization. On the other hand, men emphasize more the suitability as well as the fitness of e-commerce in an organization. This calls for having a more modified approach in the adoption of e-commerce in an organization.
The issue of gender has many implications in today’s business world. Several questions are raised as a result of gender-related differences. Several aspects in the workplace are to some extent affected by gender differences. For instance, the ability to use mathematics as well as fight stress in the workplace is usually different across the gender. In the traditional way of production, the business was dominated by men (Kolsaker & Payne, 2002). Things have however changed. Women are now actively involved in the day-to-day business operations in the UAE. In the traditional economy, the main economic activities were manufacturing-oriented which was more dominated by men (Carter, 2002). This has been modified to a more retail and service-based economy that has encouraged more participation of the female gender.
Several reasons can be the possible causes of the differences in perception of these barriers from different people of a different gender. For instance, females are seen to be more comfortable when giving instructions through informal instructions than their male counterparts (Schniederjans & Cao, 2002). Most of the male managers for instance are seen to stress the use of power in management. On the other hand, the female managers are seen to stress the importance of interpersonal communication in day-to-day operations in an organization (Kolsaker & Payne 2002). As a result of these differences, varying perceptions have also emanated from these differences.
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It has also been realized that women are more reluctant to accommodate social business networks than their male counterparts (Schniederjans and Cao, 2002). As a result, women are not in a better position to attract investment partners or even partners who will be in a position to use such networks to attract technical assistance. This is despite the importance of such partnerships in the contemporary business world. As already noted, women are more concerned with technical difficulties. They take technical difficulties with more weight. On the other hand, male managers do not consider technical difficulties as a major intricacy.
Despite these barriers, several attempts have been made to mitigate these barriers. For instance, the technical barriers involving compatibility are expected to be minimal after the adoption of extensive markup language (Carter, 2002). By adopting this strategy, the problem associated with interoperability setbacks which have been a major barrier will be eliminated. This will promote the adoption of e-commerce in an organization to a greater extent.
From the above discussion, it is clear that there are significant gender differences in perception of the barriers of e-commerce. Women are more concerned about the technical barriers to e-commerce. They view the factors that are related to technology to pose a significant barrier in the attempt to adapt to e-commerce. On the other hand, men are more concerned about the suitability of e-commerce as well as its fitness in an organization. However, both perceptions are significant in promoting e-commerce.
- Carter, S. (2000). Improving The Numbers And Performance Of Women-Owned Businesses: Some Implications For Training And Advisory Services. Education & Training. Vol. 42, pp. 326-333.
- Kolsaker, A. & Payne, C. (2002). Engendering trust in e-commerce: a study of gender-based Concerns. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. Vol. 20 (4), 206-214.
- Schniederjans, M. and Cao, Q. (2002). E-Commerce Operations Management. Danvers, MA: World Scientific.