Implementing a technological innovation in small business centers in Kenya: Barriers and user concerns
                        Githeko, Jason Munyiri; PhD

                         Problem. The performance of African institutions has been negatively affected by the difficulty of
                         communicating with other institutions. Despite several attempts to use low-cost computer networks to
                         alleviate this problem, little is known about the factors that influence the success of implementation.
                         Purpose. This study aimed to examine the process of implementing a FidoNet Bulletin Board System
                         (BBS) in Kenya with a focus on: (a) factors that should be considered; (b) barriers to implementation; (c)
                         changes in the concerns of BBS users; and (d) change in BBS users' perceptions regarding the utility of
                         the BBS. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model developed by G. E. Hall and colleagues and E. M.
                         Rogers' diffusion of innovations model constituted the conceptual framework. Method. A case study
                         approach was adopted with the case consisting of four Small Business Centers (SBC) and a network
                         services provider. Observations and interviews were conducted during site visits over a four-month
                         period. Concurrently, modems and communication software were installed and SBC staff trained in their
                         use. Two questionnaires were pre- and post-administered to participants to measure changes in user
                         concerns and in their perception of the BBS' utility. Results and Conclusions. The categories of factors
                         that need to be considered were: (a) effective promotion of networking; (b) the nature and reliability of
                         telephone services; (c) computer systems maintenance; (d) security of equipment; (e) human resource
                         concerns; (f) communication and coordination with project participants; (g) finance and budgetary
                         priorities; (h) cooperation among networking service providers; and (i) government procedures and
                         regulations. The categories of barriers identified were: (a) interpersonal and inter-organizational conflicts;
                         (b) technical difficulties; (c) financial constraints; (d) regulatory problems; (e) skill and motivational
                         problems; and (f) inadequate decision support systems. At the end of the study, users still displayed the
                         profiles of new or non-users of the innovation (BBS) and their perception of utility of the BBS showed no
                         change; consequently, it was concluded that substantial change in user concerns and perception of
                         utility may take much more than four months. A number of recommendations are made and several areas
                         of further study suggested.


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