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FACULTY OF ENGINEERING, BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

FAKULTEIT INGENIEURSWESE, BOU-OMGEWING EN INLIGTINGTEGNOLOGIE

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT / INDIVIDUELE WERKSOPDRAG


Surname / Van

MAKIWA

Initials / Voorletters

P. J

Student Number /
Studentenommer

Module Code /
Modulekode
Assignment number /
Opdrag nommer

Name of Lecturer /
Naam van Dosent

DR NAIDOO

Date of Submission /
Datum ingehandig

25 APRIL

INF :

Declaration / Verklaring: I declare that this assignment, submitted by me, is my own work and that I have
referenced all the sources that I have used. / Ek verklaar dat hierdie opdrag wat deur my ingehandig word,
my eie werk is en dat ek na al die bronne wat ek gebruik het, verwys het.

Signature of Student /
Handtekening van
student

MARK / PUNT

1. Below is a summary of the justification of each aspect of the Research Approach to


be adopted for my study.
a) Research Approach
My proposed study is inductive in nature which focuses on observing ICT use in
Zimbabwean SMEs in a particular context and aims at formulating a new theoretical
position and desist from generalising the research findings. The inductive approach
is suitable for studying human behaviour in organisations and will ensure flexibility in
formulating a research design. This study aims to bring a deep understanding of the
phenomena in question and hence it suits an inductive approach more than a
deductive one (Miles and Huberman, 1994). The study will not involve the testing on
any theory but rather its intended purpose is to understand and ascertain the key
issues facing Zimbabwean SMEs in ICT adoption and utilisation, and to provide
recommendations and an implementable framework for the successful adoption and
utilisation of ICT based on the available empirical data.
My study will take on a triangulated approach that will employ both a survey strategy
and case studies. Both approaches will use a qualitative research mode because the
inductive nature of the study will lead to questions that involve why, what and how
which can only be effectively addressed using a qualitative research mode.
The epistemological view that will be adopted for my study will be that of
interpretivist. I am adopting the interpretivist approach since my research topic
requires an exploratory approach in order to highlight the critical factors affecting
effective use and adoption of ICT in Zimbabwean SMEs.
2.
a) Data Collection Strategy
Triangulated data collection method will be used to assist in increasing the validity of
the research findings. A survey and Case studies will be employed during this study.
150 self-administered questionnaires will be distributed to conveniently sampled
Zimbabwean SMEs. The target respondents will be I.T managers, owner-managers,
managing directors and administrative managers. A cover letter will be used to

explain the purpose of the research. The questionnaire will seek to reveal general
information about the SME which include nature of business, industry, if they
currently use any ICT, what type of ICT they use and the level of ICT knowledge
amongst employees.
After collecting and assessing the questionnaires and after getting informed consent
30 will then be selected for semi-structured interviews and an interview protocol will
be used as a guide. The 30 will be selected based on purposive probability sampling
and how they would have completed the questionnaire including which industry and
region they belong to. The interviews will seek to answer questions relating to what
benefits have they extracted from ICT and what are the factors that affect ICT use
and adoption.
Interview questions will be open ended allowing respondents to give their own views
as well. An audio recording device and video camera will be used to capture the
interviews. Transcription will be done soon after the interviews and I will use
Transcribe which is an efficient online transcription tool that will ensure efficiency and
speed. Transcripts will also be send back to respondents to ensure accuracy and
proper interpretation.
15 SMEs will then be selected from the 30 using purposeful sampling and will be
used as cases .To ensure a richer theory building the study will employ a cross-case
analysis. A case study protocol will then be used to thoroughly investigate further
these SMEs and will include company document analysis, observations and further
interviews with other employees.
b) Data analysis approach
For the survey phase descriptive statistics and content analysis will be employed to
analyse the quantitative data collected using the self-administered questionnaires.
Content analysis will be used mainly to identify the number of SMEs that use ICT
and the occurrences of the types of ICTs used. A single coding method will be used
where SMEs will be categorised into Micro (1 5 employees), Small (6
20employees) and Medium (21+ employees).

The interviews and case studies will be analysed using thematic analysis where the
collected data will be grouped into different themes to ensure effective analysis .The
themes will be based mainly on the literature review and from my observations
during the study. For this study a repeated pattern of responses will be used to
identify the themes. The main themes will include:
i. ICT current state and adoption level within SMEs - The objective of this theme is to
reveal the current application and utilisation of ICT and level of adoption with
Zimbabwean SMEs.
ii. Impact of ICT on SME business operations - The aim of this theme is to establish
weather ICT adoption has positively or negatively impacted their businesses.
iii. ICT adoption and usage hindrances - The objective of this theme is to reveal the
factors that inhibit the use and adoption of ICT within the SMEs.
3. Data Collection and Analysis Tools
a) The first survey stage will utilise self-administered questionnaires mainly because of
the poor postal system in Zimbabwe. Although time consuming and expensive this
tool will ensure a high response rate and will also enable me to clarify any vague
questions and to clearly articulate the objectives of the study.
b) The second phase of the study will employ semi-structured interviews. This tool will
guarantee flexibility and will facilitate an in depth understanding of the issues on the
ground and getting quick clarifications on any vague questions. An interview guide
will be employed and a digital recorder to capture the interview and produce a
transcript for each interview.
c) For case studies I will also use documents as a tool that will assist in understanding
the

companys

background.

Examples

will

include

memos,

administrative

documents, meeting minutes, newspaper articles and progress reports.


d) Observations will also be used as a data collection tool
i.

Analysis tools will include Excel charts created using key headings extracted from
the thematic framework. These will facilitate the survey content analysis.

ii.

I will also use Atlas ti software because it is a too that facilitates the establishment of
relationships between identified themes.

iii.

I will also employ SPSS software content analysis in order to reveal a meaningful
statistical view of the data collected during the survey.