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E-Governance in Saudi Business and Infrastructure Proposal


Introduction

Issues about e-governance are gaining popularities in various parts of the world. Technological advancements have transformed the face of the earth in various fronts. Pietersen (2002) says that the world has been reduced into a small village because of the advancements in the field of transport and communication. This has resulted in a situation where the geographical barrier that existed before has been eliminated. These changes have had massive effect on business units. It is clear that with these advancements, every market in any part of the world is open to competition both from the local and international firms. This is what has taken place in the Saudi markets. Firms are looking for ways of gaining competitive advantage in this market.

E-governance has come out as one of the strategies through which firms can gain competitive advantage in the market. With advanced communication technologies, firms in Saudi Arabia are finding it easy to manage their firms through e-commerce.

Research Aim

In every research, it is always important to clearly define aims and objectives. According to Pielstick (207), aims are the broader desired outcomes of a given research. They are the long term benefits that such a research should bring to an organization. This scholar holds that a research should have specific aims that would define its path. It will be clear to all the stakeholders that such a research would be striving to achieve specific outcome in the long run. This research paper is no exception. The aim of this research paper is to give a report, based on a research, on e-governance in Saudi Arabia.

Research Questions

As stated above, the research questions are always dictated by the research aim. After defining a research aim, it is easier to define research questions and research objectives. The following are the research objectives of this research.

  1. What is the relevance of e-governance in the Saudi business environment?
  2. Do you believe that the Saudi society has the right infrastructural facilities to support e-governance?
  3. Do you believe that e-government is going to define the future of commerce in Saudi Arabia?

Literature Review

The field of e-commerce has gained popularity over the last few years. According to Mouton (2007), e-commerce has been seen as the best way to reach for customers from all parts of the world. This scholar says that e-commerce gained popularity in the developed countries, especially in the United States and United Kingdom following radical changes that took place in the family setting and in the corporate world (Proulx, 2011).

Women were increasingly becoming assertive in the corporate world. Gone are those days when women would be considered as caretakers of homes and children Moran (2011). This has resulted in a situation where both parents are working in the corporate world where they spend six days a week, from morning to evening. This means that they are left with no time to go shopping around. Mohamed (2010) says that this is what has attracted numerous firms to consider going online. This is because consumers have come to appreciate the importance of making their purchase online. E-governance has therefore, gained ground on the basis that the society has transformed, and the need to apply e-governance cannot be avoided (Peter, 2008).

According to Minja (2009), the Saudi society has experienced massive infrastructural developments, and this has enhanced the ability of firms to go online. This has increased the need for these firms to use e-governance in managing various operative issues within the market (Rodney, 2004). Although considered a new trend in this society, e-governance in Saudi Arabia is becoming popular as firms in this country makes move to expand to international markets. As Mellina (2002) says, e-governance does not only improve efficiency of firms, but also their ability to gain a global image and capture markets in foreign countries.

Long (2008) emphasizes this fact by saying that the current Saudi society is ripe for e-governance. This scholar says that the country has a strong information and communication technology infrastructure that can support e-governance (Peter & Graham, 2008). Majority of the firms are also hiring people with competence in e-commerce, making it easy for such firms to maintain this technology within its system.

Research Methodology

This chapter focuses on various aspects of research development. It includes methods of data collection, its analysis and presentation procedures. Every research project applies a certain research method to achieve its objectives depending on its goals (Lewin, 2010). In research, design deals primarily with aims, uses, purposes, intentions, and plans within the practical constraints of time, location, money, and availability of staff (Huy, 2002).

In this study, respondents will be briefed in advance. This is necessary to ensure that respondents are prepared psychologically for the task ahead. This would also help in ensuring that response was given in time to allow timely analysis. The respondents will be given relevant notice by the researcher. The study population will also be amicably informed in order to get prepared for the study. Briefing is important because it enhances reliability of the study. It is also ethical to inform people before researching on them (Hong & Faedda, 2007). The findings will also be made public to the researched as one way of ensuring morality in the study.

Furthermore, the researcher will observe researcher-researched ethics by keeping away from criticism. This chapter will also focus on the literature review as one of the methods used in collection of secondary sources of information. It gives the reason why literature review was used as a method to collect data. The chapter gives an overview of the purpose of collecting and analyzing data and the basic questions used to gather the desired responses (Poole, 2004). Alternative methods of data collection are very important in research for they avail to the researcher a number of ways through which data can be collected.

The chapter brings back the research hypotheses. This is important because it is at this stage that the researcher goes into the field to gather information. It is therefore necessary that the research hypotheses are brought to focus because they would be the guiding light in the process of gathering data (Hoffman, 2001). The researcher would be trying to confirm the hypotheses. In order to eliminate criticism, this chapter clearly states the scope of the study. There are limits beyond which this research may not hold because of the method used in data collection and analysis. It is therefore important that limitations are clearly stated to make it clear to readers of this material how far this research reveals what it purports to.

Since the main method of data collection will be primary source, the questionnaire will be the main instrument used to collect data. This chapter brings out the questionnaire format, reasons for choosing this format, its advantages and disadvantages. This chapter discusses sampling theories, importance of research design, methods of sampling -giving their advantages and disadvantages- and the determination of the sample size (Mitchell, 2010). Also discussed in this chapter is the data analysis technique. In so doing, the researcher hopes to bring to focus the channel through which data would be collected. The researcher has ensured that the methodology is not only important to the professionals in this sector, but also to other related sectors such as insurance, finance, procurement etc.

Quantitative research method

Quantitative research is a kind of study that utilizes figures to arrive at certain conclusions (Glatthorn, 2005). In this regard, the research will take the form of a survey, whereby the researcher identifies the sample and posts questionnaires to them. In this research, there was need to compare variables in order to establish cause and effect. This demanded for a method that would be objective and able statistically to generalize the findings.

Quantitative method was found to be the most appropriate method to use in this research. Quantitative research involves systematic empirical study of a phenomenon by use of statistical tools. Its main objective is always to employ mathematical theories and models in developing its generalization (Creswell, 2009). Therefore, quantitative method would help in this research. It would enable the researcher test the hypotheses put forth for validity and allow the use of a sample as a representation of the entire population. Although qualitative methods was traditionally used in social science and would be appropriate in this research, it is not able to give empirical support for research hypothesis. Qualitative methods explain why a given pattern of events has taken place the way they have (Cramer, 2003).

On the other hand, quantitative methods explains what and when of a phenomena. Ethnographic research and phenomenology as approaches of qualitative research would have been appropriate. Ethnography would help in investigation of culture of the society under investigation. Phenomenology would have helped investigate realities of the firm; and how it affected its operation. However, because the process may not empirically support the hypotheses put forward to help guide the research, it will not be used in this research (Safizadeh, 2003). Due to these reasons, qualitative method will not be employed in the research and the researcher opts for quantitative research.

Scope of Data Collection

Primary data for this research was collected from the employees of the firm under study. This data will be collected with the help of a questionnaire. The scope of data collection will be limited to the two categories of individuals. This is because of the time that is available for the research. Because most of the employees are nationals of this country, they clearly understand the social structure of the society and therefore, are in a position to respond appropriately to questions regarding the society of the country (Shachaf, 2008). They also understand how this affects the performance of the firm. The level of accuracy needed in this research would be achieved within this scope. Secondary data will be gathered from existing literature about issues on e-governance.

Format for the questionnaire

Questionnaire design

There will be two key methods used to gather information in this research. The first one will be through a questionnaire, which will be physically delivered to the staff of the selected firm in Riyadh. The questionnaire will capture various attitudes of staff members of this firm regarding their opinions on e-governance. The second source of information for the research will be literature on various aspects of e-governance in this country. The focus of the literature review will be to find information on the application of e-governance in management of firms. The questionnaire will have four parts.

The first part sought to capture the background information of respondents. The second part will deal with the demography and gender of the respondents. This is to ascertain the prevalence of views in various categories in order to ensure that if any differences came about, then they would be captured in their demographic space. The third part will deal with academic credentials and work experience of the respondents.

The motivation for this section came from the understanding that different sections of population respond differently to issues, based on age and academic credentials (Shalaby, 2004). The fourth part will delve into the specific issues relating to e-governance within this country.

The questionnaire will also employ a mix of open and closed ended questions to capture different aspects of issues studied. Open ended questions will be used because they give respondents more time to figure out their opinions, which would make them volunteer more information related to feelings, outlooks and comprehension of the subject (Biswas, 2011). This would allow a researcher to understand the position of respondents as regards to feelings. Open ended questions minimize some errors that could have been created in the course of research. Respondents rarely forget answers if given an opportunity to respond freely.

Furthermore, respondents cannot ignore some questions because they must go through all of them. Open ended questions generate data that can be used in data analysis by other researchers. In other words, they allow secondary data analysis. On the other hand, closed-ended questions are analyzed easily. That is why they were used in this study.

Each response can be coded for statistical interpretation. Nonetheless, closed-ended questions are compatible with computer analysis package. The technique is more specific meaning that its answers are consistent in all conditions. This aspect is impossible with open-ended questions because each respondent is allowed to use his or her own words (Shoult, 2006). Finally, closed-ended questions take less time to administer unlike open-ended questions, which are detailed hence time consuming.

The questionnaire will be sent to respondents using drop and pick method. The researcher arrived at this decision after considering time and resources. The method is time consuming, but very effective. Furthermore, the method allows respondents to reflect on the questions and answer them accurately.

Moreover, the method is not affected by the respondent’s level of literacy. One big advantage of the technique is that there is interaction between the researcher and the researched. This means that respondent’s reactions are easily captured. Reactions are important because they give more information regarding the feelings of respondents. The literature collected provided information regarding various theories related to e-governance, which is spread across the last century.

The body of literature availed a number of theories dealing with sampling and sample designs in the business world and performance issues in the context of human resource development in various industries. Finally, the literature will provide information on the state of research on the field. Various researchers have conducted studies on various elements of social media and e-governance (Belanger, 2011). This gave the study a sound academic backing and a strong basis for drawing comparisons and conclusions.

The use of the questionnaire made it possible to capture issues that are unique to this firm. This is because there was no accessible literature with required degree of relevance to the subject matter of the firm under the study. The targeted staff would respond to the questionnaires, which will be physically delivered to them. Physical delivery of the questionnaire increases the accuracy of data collected as there will be interactivity. After collection, the data will go through analysis, culminating the observations and conclusions.

Reliability and validity of the method

Validity means appropriateness, applicability and truthfulness of a study. It is the ability of research instruments to produce results that are in agreement with theoretical and conceptual values (Bass, 2009). In this study, internal validity was ensured through checking the representativeness of the sample. The researcher ensured that the sample used captured all important characters at the firm as the target institution, and the Saudi society.

During data collection process and in analysis, the researcher will steer away from any form of bias. All the respondents will be picked randomly, without any preference. Moreover, the response received from the employees of this firm, and other stakeholders will be assigned a similar weight, depending on their category (Vassiliev, 2002). This will ensure that data which will be collected will not in any way, be influenced by the opinion of the researcher.

External validity will be ensured through triangulation that is, the researcher will use more than one technique in collecting data. This is necessary to ensure that bias from one end is countered effectively by other techniques. As Badenhorst (2007) says, respondents are human beings with weaknesses when it comes to giving views freely. They would always exaggerate or underrate things when they make statements.

Working with this in mind, the researcher designed a formula to moderate data gathered from the field to balance off the two extremes. The researcher found literature review to be very important in this part because the opinions they have are already moderated. External validity will be also guaranteed by asking respondents to give their views. This would give them freedom of some sort, to provide information based on their own experience and views.

Reliability means that the study is consistent and lacks any ambiguity. It is the ability to trust something to provide information that addresses the issue at hand (Vincent, 2008). It is related to the accuracy of instruments that is, how accurate the measuring device is in measuring what it claims to measure. In this study, it will be achieved through increasing verifiability of the perspective and using statistical tools to verify reliability. The researcher will adopt the principles of coherence, openness and discourse in order to guarantee reliability.

Timescale

In every research project, there must be a clear schedule that should be followed to ensure that it achieves its objectives (Weber & Weber, 2001). This research project should be completed within four weeks. The research project should be completed within the four weeks. The Gantt chart below specifies the activities that will be carried out in this project

Gantt chart

Gantt chart

The above Gantt chart demonstrates all the activities that should be accomplished within a specified duration. The activities should be accomplished within a time span of four weeks. The activities will start from May first this year.

Resources

In a piece of research, it is always very important to clearly define the materials that are to be used in order to retrieve the desired data both from primary and secondary sources. The primary sources of data for this research will be retrieved using questionnaire as has been stated in the methodology section above. The questionnaire will be the important tool for the collection of the primary data.

The resources for secondary data will be from books, journals, articles and other available literatures in this field. In every research process, time is always another important resource. As stated in the timeline above, the available time for this piece of research was four weeks. Within this time, the researcher will be expected to collect all the relevant materials, get the desired data and then analyze this data to produce the desired results. Another important resource will be finance. In order to be in a position to conduct a successful research, there must be a sound financial support. These resources will enable the researcher to conduct a successful research.

References

Badenhorst, C. (2007). Research writing: breaking barriers. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.

Bass, B. M. (2009). Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations. New York: The Free Press.

Belanger, C. (2011). Our World: Saudi Arabia. Riyadh: Cangage.

Biswas, S. (2011). Commitment, involvement, and satisfaction as predictors of employee performance. South Asian Journal of Management, 18(2), 92-107.

Cramer, D. (2003). Advanced quantitative data analysis. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Glatthorn, A. (2005). Writing the winning thesis or dissertation: a step-by-step guide. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Hoffman, E. (2001). Postgraduate research guidelines. Vaal: Triangle Technikon.

Hong, S. M., & Faedda, S. (2007). Refinement of the Hong psychological reactance scale.Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(1), 500-507.

Huy, Q.N. (2002). Emotional filtering in strategic change. Academy of Management Proceedings, 6(1), 43-78.

Lewin, K. (2010). Field Theory in Social Science. New York: Harper & Row.

Long, D. (2008). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Mellina, E. (2002). Six principles of change execution. Executive Excellence, 19(1), 13-14.

Minja, D. (2009). E-Commerce in the Contemporary World. KCA Journal of Business Management, 2(1), 1-14.

Mitchell, M. (2010). Research design explained. Belmont: Cengage Learning.

Mohamed, R. (2010).The Saudi Arabian Economy: Policies, Achievements, and Challenges. New York: Springer.

Moran, D. (2011). Social media marketing: A Country-Level Analysis. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Mouton, J. (2007). Basic concepts in the methodology of the social science. Pretoria: Hunan Sciences Research Council.

Peter, V. (2008). Saudi Arabia: an Environmental Overview. London: Routledge.

Peter, W. & Graham, D. (2008). Saudi Arabia: The Coming Storm. New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Pielstick, D. (207). The Transforming Leader: a Meta-Ethnographic Analysis. The Community College Review, 4(3), 1-37.

Pietersen, W. (2002). The Mark Twain dilemma: The theory and practice of change leadership. Journal of Business Strategy, 23(1), 32-37.

Poole, M. (2004). Research Methods in Human Resource Management. London: Chattered institute of Personnel Management.

Proulx, T. (2011). Modal Analysis Topics, Volume 3: Proceedings of the 29th IMac, a Conference. New York: Springer.

Rodney, W. (2004). Economic Development in Saudi Arabia. New York: Routledge.

Safizadeh, M. (2003). An Empirical Analysis of Financial Services Processes with a Front Office or Back-Office Orientation. Journal of Operations Management, 21(5), 557-576.

Shachaf, P. (2008). Cultural Diversity and Information and Communication Technology Impacts on Global Virtual Teams: An Exploratory Study. Information Technology Journal, 45(2), 131-142.

Shalaby, N. (2004). SME’s Development in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh: Eastern Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Shoult, A. (2006). Doing Business with Saudi Arabia. London: GMB Publishing Ltd.

Vassiliev, A. (2002). History of Saudi Arabia. New York: New York University Press.

Vincent, P. (2008). Saudi Arabia: an Environmental Overview. London: Routledge.

Weber, P. & Weber, J. (2001). “Changes in employee perceptions during organizational change”, Leadership & Organization Development Change, (22)6, 291-300.

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