The Impact of Electronic Meeting Technologies in Two less Developed Countries
Rabson Mgaya (Lecturer,Department of Computer Science, University of Dar es Salaam), Gert Jan de Vreede (Associate Professor,Department of Systems Engineering, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)
Download Article | Published On 01/01/2001

Abstract

Electronic meeting support, such as Group Support Systems (GSS), can play a crucial role in supporting groups engaged in development activities. Being an American invention, research into GSS is predominantly focused on Euro-American settings. GSS field studies in other cultural environments are scarce. The objective of our study is to explore the applicability of GSS in two particular environments: Tanzania and South Africa. Our data suggest that the use of GSS is evaluated positively in both countries, although Tanzanian groups perceived more benefits. In South Africa, top management displayed very open and non-conservative behavior towards the technology, while in Tanzania hesitance from top management can be expected to be the greatest hindrance for GSS acceptance and application. The data further indicate that GSS do nor replace existing meeting customs, but rather introduce new ones that co-exist next to the traditional ones. The main difference between application of GSS in western and non-western is a stronger focus on the electronic discussion in Africa where anonymity is the key feature

Keywords

Collaborative development, Group Support Systems, groupware, Tanzania, South Africa, Cross-cultural

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