Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges to information and communication technologies (ICT) implementation in multinationals. The paper focuses on contextual variables relevant to the understanding of the implementation of ICT in organizations operating in the Middle East, such as organization culture and power relations. Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on interviews with 31 employees of a multinational company that operates in the Middle East. In addition, 60 days of electronic mail of two senior managers were studied and random samples of messages from the computers of six participants collected. Altogether 200 e‐mail messages, spanning seven months were surveyed. Findings – It was found that the transplantation of ICT was based on the construction of technology as symbolizing the value of modernity. Although employees did not resist the implementation of ICT tools, several problems related to language and access to data had an impact on their work. Furthermore, the ICT tools implicitly assumed a utilitarian discourse that values computer‐mediated more than face‐to‐face communication, but the organization rejected this aspect of the tools. Practical implications – We argue that more flexible designs of ICT should take into account the particular discourse system employed in order to achieve a better fit between the ICT tools and the users. Originality/value – The paper focuses on a neglected area of research, the implementation of ICT tools in culturally diverse organizations and discusses contextual variables relevant to the understanding of the implementation of ICT in organizations such as organization culture and power relations which have not been extensively discussed in the literature.
Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 3, 2008
Keywords: Communication technologies; Multinational companies; Egypt
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