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The association between gender and e-commerce barriers has not been researched in-depth, even if it has implications for the adoption of this technology. In this research, modern financial roles and communal condition reveal the change continuity among women. It is evident from the number of girls and women who have access to education today. As Rodgers & Harris (2003) observe “schools and universities are segregated, and levels of enrollment of girls and their performance are impressive”. The research has indicated that gender usually plays a significant role when it comes to the adoption of new technologies and business practices. However, differences arise from the way men and women perceive the importance of a certain technology, its benefits, and challenges. The study has also revealed that there is no major difference between the way women and men view e-commerce, but it reveals a difference in the way men and women react to technological problems their businesses face.
As evident from many developed nations, research is significant because the role of women in issues that affect the economy cannot be ignored. Therefore, difference between the way men and women perceive issues needs to be addressed effectively in order to allow consistency. The study is also significant because it has revealed that women are more reluctant to accommodate social business networks than their male counterparts, thus it will provide recommendation to enhance their active involvement in business.
The purpose of a study carried out by MacGregor & Vrazalic (2008) was to establish differences in men and women’s perception of business challenges. It employed qualitative methodology in collecting data and doing analysis. Its findings have revealed that men and women face different challenges as business managers and entrepreneurs. “Addition finding from the study indicated a greater barriers differentiation within male managed SMEs, which suggested the demand for more customized e-commerce adoption program in these organizations” (MacGregor & Vrazalic, 2008). Differing levels of appreciation of e-commerce by men and women could slow down the level of growth in its application. It is important for women to develop the same level of appreciation for the e-commerce as men in order to allow its development.
Moreover, issues concerning men in business management differ from those that women would be concerned about. While women are more concerned about details, men tend to pay attention to the cumulative progress. Gender plays a significant role when it comes to the adoption of new technologies and business practices. Differences arise from the way men and women perceive the importance of a certain technology, its benefits, and challenges. MacGregor & Vrazalic (2008) revealed that there is no major difference between the way women and men view e-commerce, but it reveals a difference in the way men and women react to technological problems facing their businesses.
In a different study conducted on small business owners by Carter in 2000, the purpose of this research was to establish differences in the men and women’s perception of the technological use in business. It employed both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in collecting data and doing the analysis. In its findings, the study has revealed that men are less concerned about new technologies for their businesses and feel that they do not need them frequently. Women, on the other hand, are more receptive as far as new technologies are concerned. They are keen on understanding how technologies can benefit their businesses and how easily technologies can be integrated into their businesses.
In this case, differences in gender can arise from many other factors. The level of literacy among women is lower compared to that of men. It has made it more difficult for a larger number of women to appreciate and use new technologies in the market such as e-commerce. For example, it may not be easy to shop online if one does not understand the technical language associated with some parameters of an online transaction.
The purpose of another study conducted by Whitehead & Moodley in 1999 was to establish differences in perception between men and women regarding the size of business and its productivity. As an objective study, it also employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches in collecting data and doing the analysis. In its findings, the research pointed out that “female managers of small business are more comfortable with giving instructions to staff through informal conversation than are their male counterparts” (Whitehead & Moodley, 1999). The researchers also indicated that communication and problem solving strategies differ further. Scholars indicated that “While men will stress the role and use of power, female managers stressed the importance of interpersonal communications” (Whitehead & Moodley, 1999).
As Carter (2000) stated, “studies conducted in the past on the role of gender in business management have revealed that women and men have very different management approaches, thus the variations that each gender faces when conducting e-commerce. Modern research in Europe, Scandinavia, and the US shows that females saw the small business sector as a means of circumventing the ‘glass ceiling’”. Studies further reveal that the growth of females in the sector in Australia is over four times bigger than that of males. Even in this situation, the reality is still to catch up with an environment where women and men should enjoy equal chances in business management. “The successful managerial stereotype remains masculine-self confident, decisive, dominating, aggressive, competitive and independent” (MacGregor & Vrazalic, 2008).
Cultural conditioning and gender stereotyping further create big difference in the way women approach technical issues and solutions at work as well as how they develop teams to manage challenges at work. Women are more likely to use their positions to create the environment where people are supported and nurtured. Men, on the other hand, use senior positions to create a hierarchal environment where nothing short of obedience is expected. The environment supports issuing and receiving orders as well as authority. Women grow up knowing how to be responsible and handle easy things that have a well-defined future. As a result, technical issues that can be hard to predict become hard to manage. Further differences arise from the way men and women perceive issues and the level of priority they place them on.
Men and women adopt different strategies in the way they handle business-related issues. Furthermore, they have different preferences and strategies as consumers. These differences are widespread and revolve around adaptability, attitudes regarding new business paradigms, and the perception of risks. In developing countries, there are fewer economic and political opportunities for women as compared to what is available to men due to cultural barriers. It has been a trend for as long as men and women continue to assume different roles in the society. This trend is explained by the gender role theory explaining that boys and girls assume roles that are assigned to them as they grow up, roles that they have to keep up with as grown-up men and women. In such areas, women are considered to be homemakers while men are considered to be providers. It means that men are constantly involved into different economic activities in order to earn living for themselves as well as for their families.
E-commerce is becoming an increasingly popular aspect of many businesses. It is so in both developing and developed worlds as businesses try to reach global markets. Over the last decade, there has been an increased rate at which businesses adopt e-commerce as a strategy in improving their level of performance on the contemporary competitive market. However, there are several barriers that have delayed the adoption of e-commerce.
One of the main barriers to e-commerce is gender. However, I believe that the role of gender in the perception of issues affecting e-commerce has not been investigated comprehensively. It is despite the fact that gender influence is a formidable force in many aspects of life and even technology. I will present a clear understanding of differences between the men and women’s perceptions of challenges facing e-commerce and significant barriers in the world. In the past, researchers have put more interest in the differences between men and women in social issues making it difficult to access literature on gender differences where technical matters are concerned.
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 into the community in various aspects. It has also brought changes to the social environment. 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 on the international market. In some countries, for instance, e-commerce is still far from reaching its potential level despite the significance of its impact on the global market.
There is a number of barriers that many businesses have faced concerning the adoption of e-commerce in some parts of the world. One of the main barriers is the cost. The adoption of the current technology usually requires a significant amount of capital for its implementation. Many organizations are, however, not ready to incur such expenses. Another barrier to the adoption of e-commerce is the complexity involved into 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 occurs in the organization, it usually has a significant implication on various business operations. Some organizations may also not be in a position to access 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. As a result, adoption of the e-commerce in developing countries has not been as successful as expected. These barriers have to some extent obstructed the adoption of the e-commerce. Although there have been several studies carried out concerning possible barriers for the e-commerce, there has not been an adequate effort to examine the association between e-commerce and gender in some areas. It is despite the fact that it has significant implications on the adoption of technology in day-to-day operations in developing countries.
In addition, there is a significant difference in the perception of barriers for the e-commerce from both men’s and women’s perspectives. According to previous studies, it has been revealed that women view technical issues as more important than the organizational ones. It implies that women perceive technical problems more seriously than the organizational ones. For instance, they regard the compatibility of technology as the one having a major impact on the e-commerce and its application in the organization. On the other hand, men emphasize more on the suitability as well as fitness of e-commerce in an organization. It calls for having a more modified approach to the adoption of e-commerce in the organization.
There is a need to conduct a more objective study aimed at establishing whether there are significant gender differences in the perception of e-commerce barriers. The focus of such a research will be on the fact that women are not considered to be concerned about technical barriers to the e-commerce compared to their male counterparts. The research should also be concentrated on factors that are related to the technology in order to establish whether they pose a significant barrier for the attempt to adopt the e-commerce.
The issue of gender has many implications for the today’s business world. There is a number of questions that are raised as a result of gender related differences. Several aspects in the workplace are affected to some extent by gender differences. For instance, abilities to use mathematics as well as to fight stress in the workplace are usually different across genders. Concerning the traditional way of production, business has been dominated by men. However, things have changed. Women are now actively involved in day-to-day business operations in many developing countries. In the traditional economy, main economic activities have been manufacturing oriented and more dominated by men. It has been modified to a more retail and service based economy that has encouraged more participation of the females.
There are several reasons that can be possible causes of differences in the perception of these barriers by different people of different gender. For instance, females are seen to be more comfortable while giving instructions through informal instructions than their male counterparts. Many male managers, for instance, are seen to stress the use of power in management. On the other hand, female managers are seen to stress the importance of interpersonal communication in day-to-day operations in the organization. Varying perceptions have also emanated from these differences.
Women are often more reluctant to accommodate social business networks than their male counterparts. 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. It happens despite the importance of such partnerships in the contemporary business world. As it has been already noted, women are more concerned about technical difficulties. They take technical difficulties more seriously. On the other hand, male managers do not view technical difficulties as a major intricacy. Despite these barriers, several attempts have been made in an effort to mitigate these barriers. For instance, technical barriers involving compatibility are expected to be minimal after the adoption of the extensive markup language. By adopting this strategy, the problem associated with the interoperability setbacks that have been a major barrier will be eliminated. It will promote the adoption of the e-commerce in the organization.
Despite all the challenges and issues arising, the research has noted that one of the biggest strengths met by women is the capacity to multitask. They are capable of managing various social and financial activities at the same time. Furthermore, women easily adapt to challenges and are able to move on. These strengths should be used for the development of e-commerce in the developing countries. Previously, women were considered to be homemakers with little involvement in matters that affect the economy of the country. The situation has changed on the global business arena and women are increasingly finding themselves on the frontline of economic matters.