New media and business: adoption and use of mobile phone technology services in empowering women entrepreneurs in Machakos county
This study sought to investigate the adoption and use of mobile technology for the empowerment of women entrepreneurs in Machakos County. It sought to investigate why, despite the worldwide knowledge of the boost to entrepreneurships that the use of mobile phone services have done, women entrepreneurial activities still lag behind in terms of more profit and growth. The study had the following specific objectives; i) To assess the extent of adoption and usage of mobile phone technology to empower women entrepreneurs in Machakos county, ii) To find out factors that influence the adoption and use of mobile technology services by women entrepreneurs in Machakos County, iii) To investigate the role of communication and information flow in the adoption and use of mobile phone technology. The study used three theories: Uses and Gratifications theory, Technology Acceptance Model and Empowerment theory. The study used mixed method design. Systematic random sampling was used to select 350 respondents. Survey method was used to collect quantitative data. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and then presented in tables, figures and bar graphs. Purposive sampling was used to select 8 key informants and participants in the focus groups discussions. In-depth interviews and interview guide were used to collect qualitative data. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically and presented in narrative form. The study found out that women entrepreneurs have accepted the mobile phone as an important tool for running their businesses but they were not using all the services of the mobile phone and especially the advanced applications. They mostly use the mobile phone for voice calling and SMS services and shy away from the advanced ones. There is a disconnect between the „roll out‟ of an innovation and how the entrepreneurs adopt and use it. This is because the stakeholders underscore the value of communication process and information flow in the „roll out, of a new innovation from the implementation stage all the way to the adoption process. The study recommends that any mobile service application being „rolled out‟ to the entrepreneurs should have the communication and information flow context in it. This will lead to adoption and use which will result to more income, more skills and exposure to more markets thereby improving their wellbeing hence being empowered.
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