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Impact of the Technological Revolution

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Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Thu, 08 Feb 2018

1 INTRODUCTION

The role of technological revolution has touched every aspect of people’s lives from shopping to banking. The changes have great impact on services quality and banking activities has enabled the banks to compete in the world markets (Siam 1999-2004, 2006).

The banking industry worldwide is witnessing a growing technology driven self-service by way of electronic banking (e-banking) through interacting with customers as a way of increasing productivity.

The use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) helps the banks in making strategic decisions by enabling better alignment of business to build better relationship with customers. ICT has enabled banks to provide the following services:

  • Automated Teller Machines (ATM) that have been installed at convenient places for customers to access their accounts anytime.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) that allows different organisations to exchange transactional, financial and business information between their computer systems.
  • Plastic Cards designed to pay for goods and services without necessarily using cash and also to withdraw cash from ATM’s located worldwide.
  • Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) is a facility that allows fund transfer from one bank to another electronically. It can be used for bulk or repetitive transfers either by institutions for dividend distribution, salary, etc. and pension, or by individuals for regular payments to utility, loan repayment, etc.
  • Internet Banking as a channel of Electronic Banking (E-banking) allows the customer to do transactions through the bank’s web page in a flexible mode, i.e. at anytime and anywhere.

The flexibility of E-banking is a major benefit to customers because they are able to access the banking services at the comfort of their homes or offices and no more queuing at banks. For the banking sector, E-banking is a big investment on capital and resource though the initial acquisition of relevant infrastructure, standardisation and security are expensive, especially for small banks in developing countries, but not a big problem for big banks in developed countries. These also have to follow the standard legislative and regulatory issues set within a country to protect customers’ rights, especially the concerning data protection.

1.1 Background of Study

The role of internet has become unavoidable to business and society. Businesses and governments worldwide are always working on how to better utilise the internet in order to increase their penetration into the global market (Khan, Mahapatra & Sreekumar (2009). Banking sector has seen the use of Information Technology (IT) a better way of reducing the traditional way of investing and moving along the modern technological changes in order to meet up with the global market. The growing changes in technology bring economical and social consequences on our daily life and these changes brought about the Internet. The Internet provides services like, World Wide Web (WWW), Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) which are the core business services of E-banking. The banking sector has embarked on internet banking systems to enable their customers to access their accounts globally and in a flexible mode through their websites. This move to internet banking has seen banks reducing long queues as some customers can serve themselves either through the ATMs or through the website, depending on the type of service they want to perform. Though the banking has embarked on internet banking systems, it has not totally abolished the traditional banking activities. This is to allow those customers who need face to face help to still come to banks to get help on whatever activities or services they need either because they do not trust the web or because they are unable to do not know the technology used and fear to make mistakes.

Internet is used world wide for different things, some good and some malicious. This then brings in the issue of trust on the part of both the web site owners and users. Some users still prefer to go and queue in the banks because either they do not trust the web services or are unfamiliar with the systems and therefore feel uncomfortable to use e-banking. Trust should be built in order to encourage more customers to use the web site for their banking service needs. Trust can be categorised into tangible and intangible trust. Tangible trust is an implied trust that can be addressed by the use of digital certificates and SSL protocols and service level granularity. On the other hand intangible trust is something that can be formed or reinforced and is subjective, emotional and has a rational component. Trust can build or destroy the organisation’s reputation.

1.2 Motivation of Study

There has been considerable work carried out in the field of e-banking/e-commerce trust (Smith & French 2005); (Khalil 2007), however, there was a gap in their knowledge of cultural gap, especially in developing countries like Botswana. The motivation on this research is as follows:

  • The need to show the importance of localisation of e-banking site as e-banking is a new phenomenon in Botswana.
  • To make further studies on cultures of two ethnic groups within the same country as there have been very little research on this area. This is not the case with developed countries as the studies show that there has been localisation of e-banking to suit their target markets (Singer, Baradwaj and Avery 2007).

1.3 Aim

The main aim of this research is to examine how the Tswana and Kalanga ethnic groups of Botswana culturally perceive trust on a B2C e-banking website and to design an e-banking website for each ethnic group.

1.4 Objectives

The following objectives will be achieved through this study:

  • A research will be carried out on how cultural background influences the trust and use of e-banking services.
  • To relate the findings of the research in the design process of a web sites that suits the culture for Tswana and Kalanga ethnic groups.

1.5 Research Questions

The research study aims to test the following key questions:

  1. What is the impact of culture on the contents of e-banking site?
  2. How does culture affect online trust in e-banking?
  3. Is it necessary to consider culture, trust and usability in designing e-banking website?
  4. How does Tswana and Kalanga cultural differences affect e-banking?

1.6 Methodology

The research employs both primary and secondary data. Primary data will be collected through a structured survey which will be an online. The online survey will be through email where a link will be sent to the respondents in Botswana and UK. This method is chosen because it is flexible in that the respondents answer the questionnaires at their own free time and in a flexible mode of their computers. The other important thing is that it is cheaper to administer and responses are received more quickly and also that if there are any errors in the questionnaire it is easier to correct the errors.

2 E-SERVICES AND CULTURE – WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP

2.1 E-Commerce and E-Banking

The development of Information Technology and the advent of internet have enabled traditional business activities to change into Electronic Commerce (E-commerce). E-commerce is a process that allows businesses and customers (B2C) to exchange goods and services electronically anytime anywhere, and it includes banking, stocks and bonds, retail shopping, movie rentals, etc. E-Commerce has opened a global market where businesses can reach their respective customers quickly and cost effectively (Li et al 2009). For trading to be successful in this virtual world, trust must be considered vital not forgetting culture. E-commerce includes inter-organisational marketing process in which the following relationships are observed: B2B (business to business), B2C (business to consumer), and C2C (consumer to consumer).

E-banking sometimes called electronic banking or internet banking is a system that allows people to conduct transactions and manage their accounts without necessarily going to the ‘brick and mortar’ banks. For customers using internet banking to access their account, they need to have personal accounts at the respective banks’ websites. For e-banking to be effective, banks should invest on IT infrastructure like Hardware, Software, Networking which include connection to the internet.

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and personal computers have reduced the cost in favour of banks on paper work and labour force since customers use self services offered by banks. However, it should be noted that there are still some people who would want to be served by bank officials either because he/she does not know how to operate the banks system, does not trust it or want face-to-face interaction with bank officials.

2.1.1 Benefits of E-Banking

Electronic banking or online banking is the most popular means of e-commerce for millions people worldwide. Most banking products and services are now offered over the Internet. Banks have invested in robust information technology practices and secure-transaction technologies that have made electronic banking trustworthy. This has also created some benefits on e-banking as follows:

  • Convenience and flexibility as the customer is able to pay bills, shop and transfer money from anywhere at any time suitable to the customer as long as the customer has access to a personal computer and internet connectivity. There is no strictness of business hours as the services are available 24 hours every day unlike in the traditional brick and mortar where a customer has to observe working hours.
  • Customers are able to manage their customers as they are able to access their accounts and therefore can cross check their accounts anytime.
  • To the customer the only cost associated with e-banking is the cost of the time spent online which is usually charged by the internet provider.
  • There is also time and money saving as customers do not have to travel distances to their respective banks unless on crucial issues.

2.1.2 Limitations of E-Banking

As well as electronic banking have advantages there are some limitations too. Below are some limitations on electronic banking.

  • Some bank websites have too much information that confuses the customers and the customer may feel it is a waste of time as he/she does not get the information that he/she wants and may never bother to visit the website again.
  • The financial needs of the customer may not be quickly be predicted and therefore will take some time to be solved, which is an inconvenience to the customer.
  • Hacking and identity theft are on the rise this calls for a certain amount of trust placed on the banks by electronic banking customers. The system should be able to stand against hacking.
  • There is no Face-to-face interaction in electronic banking and some customers still need this type of service that are observed in a traditional bank to quickly solve or answer customers’ queries.
  • In case of internet failure the customer is unable to withdraw money from his/her account and unable to even use the ATMs or credit/debit cards.
  • Some banks charge for ATM usage by non-customers, therefore if a customer stays where there is not ATM for his/her bank, then he/she will be charged to using the facility of another bank.

2.1.3 Security and Trust

Security issues are a major concern for everybody using internet whether for banking purposes or not. There is an increase of security risks in the banking sector as their systems are exposed to risky environments. Confidentiality, integrity, privacy and availability are the core areas of security that banks and financial institutions must address (Jide Awe 2006).

This calls for banks and financial services authority to plan ahead in monitoring and managing the security threats. The security threats are classified in three categories; breaches with serious threats (e.g. fraud), breaches caused by casual hackers (e.g. web sites defacement or services denial (e.g. causes of web sites to crash) and flaws in systems design (e.g. genuine users able to see or use another user’s accounts). These threats cause serious financial, legal and reputational implications to the banks affected. Banks and financial institutions need to put in place security measures to respond to these threats. The security measures need constant update in order for them to cope with the ever increasing and advanced threats. The banks should also have sufficient staff who have security expertise in order to keep on checking and updating the banks’ systems. These threats bring in customers’ lack of trust on the electronic banking that is why some customers prefer to queue at banks to get services that they would have otherwise done through the internet.

Trust should be built in order to encourage more customers to use the web site for their banking service needs. McKnight, Cummings and Chervany (1998) define trust as “an individual’s beliefs about the extent to which a target is likely to behave in a way that is benevolent, competent, honest, or predictable in a situation”. Trust can be categorised into tangible and intangible trust. Tangible trust is an implied trust that can be addressed by the use of digital certificates and SSL protocols and service level granularity. On the other hand intangible trust is something that can be formed or reinforced and is subjective, emotional and has a rational component. Trust can build or destroy the organisation’s reputation.

Trust is very important and should be the critical area for each bank to consider because if customers do not trust a bank then the bank will be out of business. Trust on e-banking is crucial because it can make the banks to lose money and popularity if hackers are able to access customers’ accounts. It can be ensured by putting stringent measures on the banks systems and including in its website the symbols/signs and text that will make the customer aware of the security of the website. Some researchers believe that in electronic cyber consumer trust is more important than in traditional transactions (Kim, Ferrin and Rao 2007). There are signs and symbols that are used in the website that indicate to the customer that the site is trustworthy. These trustworthy signs may be explicit and some implicit (French, Liu Springett 2007).

2.1.4 Cultural Models

The world is comprised of people with different cultural backgrounds which justifies their behavioural variation. This variation usually shows the different cultures and values of these people. Culture is something that identifies and differentiates one person from another and it is something that is not inherited or from genes but it is learned. The environment in which a person grows usually determines the person’s culture because he/she learns the language, the norms and values of the people with which he/she lives. Hofstede (1991) defines culture as “the collection of human mind that distinguish the members of one human group or category of people from those of others”. The manifestation of cultural differences is formed through a combination of four characteristics: symbols, heroes, rituals, and values.

Rituals are sacred things that must be carried out within a cultural environment. Values are cultural things that are mentally stored as one grows up within the cultural environment. Symbols are things like language, pictures/objects and gestures that depicts meaning understood within the same cultural group. Heroes are people respected and considered to be role models within a cultural environment, however, this changes as the child graduate into adulthood.

Cultural differences across the world vary according to ethnic groups and also across geographic boundaries.

2.1.5 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Hofstede (1984, 1991) identified the following five cultural dimensions which could be used to compare and measure cultural differences.

2.1.5.1 Power Distance Index

Power is not distributed equally among the society. This is indicated by some people having more power than others, eg. some people are born kings, chiefs already having that status even at the very early age as toddlers. These people will be respected from that very early age even in way they are addressed.

However, the power distance can be measured differently depending on the difference in society. There are those that are termed as large power distance culture where the subordinates do as told and the superior gives instructions and is the only one who decides what is good for the society or organisation. On the other hand there are those that are termed low power distance where there is consultation between the superior and the subordinates. In this category the superior respects the subordinates and entrust them with important assignments believing that they will be successfully completed.

2.1.5.2 Individualism versus Collectivism

In individualism can be classified as nuclear family where each individual act independently, making his/her own choices and decisions. As a member of the nuclear family, the individual has to take care of himself/herself and his/her immediate families. On the other hand collectivism can be classified as patrilineal or matrilineal where people, after being integrated into the society at birth, are looked after by extended families.

2.1.5.3 Masculine versus Femininity

Division of roles depend on gender, Men must provide for their families and female must take care of the children and the whole family. The assertiveness of men creates dominance over female on economic life within the family irrespective of whether it is an extended or nuclear family. However, in developed countries there are some variations on gender role pattern that enable females to enrol in courses that were initially designed for men and therefore do jobs that were done by men. In some underdeveloped or developing countries where the gender role pattern still exists, women are barred from doing jobs that are considered to be designed for men and women are also barred from enrolling on courses that are designed for men. This gender role pattern is still strictly followed in some underdeveloped countries where men are said to be head of families and thus gives the men all authority over everything that goes on in the family. Woman in such families do not have any say, they are told what to do, how and when by their husbands and they are not supposed to question the instructions from men.

2.1.5.4 Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)

Most people fear uncertain situations because they cannot predict what might happen in the near future. To minimise this, organisations or societies engage strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and religious and cultural beliefs to protect their organisations or societies. However, avoidance of uncertainty varies according to cultural differences. In high power distance culture, the boss is the only one to make decisions and the subordinates must strictly follow the boss’s instructions. Subordinates expect the supervisors to tell them what to do because they regard each other as unequal. In organisations, this is also indicated by the wide salary gap whereas in societies it is indicated by the prestige given to superiors (e.g. chiefs) by their subordinates (e.g. tribes).

In low power distance culture there is respect by supervisors over their subordinates. The supervisors entrust subordinates with important assignments trusting that the work will be done efficiently and if there is something wrong the supervisor will not put the blame on the subordinates, but rather takes it upon himself. The society believes people are equal irrespective of their education, religion or wealth. There is more democracy as subordinates’ views are sought and taken into consideration when making decisions.

2.1.5.5 Long-Term Orientation versus Short-Term Orientation

The long-term orientation versus short-term orientation is a model which came a after Hofstede was convinced by Michael Bond who called this dimension the Confucian dynamism. Values of long-term orientation are more oriented towards future e.g. perseverance and thrift while on the short-term the values are more oriented towards past and present and therefore more static e.g. respect for tradition and reciprocation of greetings, favours and gifts, personal steadiness and stability.

2.1.6 Trompenaars, Hall and Other Cultural Models

There are several cultural models most of which overlap into Hofstede’s models (Kluckhohn; Trompenaars 2000). Trompenaars developed the below models:

2.1.6.1 Universalism versus Particularism

This can be viewed as authority versus consultation. In authority the one who has authority gives instructions and makes decision without the involvement of others whereas in consultation other people’s views are taken into consideration when making decisions.

2.1.6.2 Individualism versus Communicationism

Where there is balance between individuals and groups needs.

2.1.6.3 Specific versus Diffuse Relationships

Here the business is done on an abstract relationship (contract) or on good personal relationship in order to bring in liking and trust.

2.1.6.4 Neutral versus Affective Communication Styles

In this dimension people hide and hold on to their emotions or they show them up in which case they expect some emotional response.

2.1.6.5 Time Orientation

Monochromic culture focuses more on performing the task promptly meeting the original plan and prefers to do one task at a time. Polychronic culture tends to e multi-tasking, doing different things at the same time, and emphasis is more on relationship than on tasks.

2.1.7 Hall’s Cultural Models

Hall (1976, 1983) developed the three cultural dimensions in which he describe how people behave. Following are his Cultural Models:

2.1.7.1 Context

High Context – People are helped by many contextual elements to understand the rules and it is a problem for those who do not understand unwritten rules.

Low Context – More explanation on rules is done as things are not taken for granted and therefore there is less chance of misunderstanding.

2.1.7.2 Time

Monochronic Time is where one thing is done at a time and the concern is achieving the task on schedule.

Polychronic Time is where several things are done at the same time (multi-tasking) and here the concern is on relationship and not schedule.

2.1.7.3 Space

High Territorial – Some people have greater concern for ownership and try to mark their territorial boundaries whether at home, parking space and even in shared offices.

Low Territorial – People here are not much concerned with ownership of space and for them it less important

Hofstede, Trompenaars and Hall did extensive research that enabled them to conduct rankings on countries’ cultural differences. Hofstede conducted his research on 50 countries whilst Trompenaars conducted his on between 19 and 52 countries though with fewer rankings. Although it does not clearly show whether Hall did any rankings but he did a comparison of cultural dimensions among the French, Americans and Germans.

2.1.8 Tswana Culture

Households in the Tswana polities usually take the form of three residential sites: one household in the village, one at agricultural holdings outside the village but not very far from the village (where ploughing takes place) and the last a cattlepost (with kraals for keeping livestock owned by the family).

  • • Power Distance: Tswana tribes greatly respect their elders which is shown especially when the younger ones greet the elders. In Botswana greetings are used to judge somebody’s behaviour and greetings are conducted in a certain manner. When greeting an elder, a younger has to stop a bit to show respect and if the younger person is a male wearing a hat, he has to take it off to show respect to the elder. A man also has to take off his hat when getting inside the house as a custom unless the man is a widower. Each Tswana tribe or ethnic group has a Chief (Kgosi) who is helped by paternal uncles and Headmen. The paternal uncles are by virtue of close relationship to the Chief advisors as they are considered to have the royal blood. Kgosi’s traditional court is called Kgotla, and it is the main customary court within the village where disputes or misunderstandings that could not be solved by Headmen are solved. The Chief’s Kgotla also acts as the Traditional Court of Appeal within the village, where people who are not satisfied with the Headmen’s rulings can appeal. Chieftainship is inherited, so for a person to be a chief he/she has to be born from the royal family and not somebody chosen. Most of the Tswana people are Christians as Christianity was brought in Botswana as early as 1845 by a Scotsman named Dr. David Livingstone. The first Christian to be baptized by Dr Livingstone was Chief Sechele of the Bakwena and this was a good sign towards improvement in peoples’ way of living. For a chief to be a Christian it was easier to convince other chiefs and the people to become Christians. Christianity also contributed a lot to Tswana culture as it reduced the bureaucratic principles where only one person would make decisions for the whole family or tribe and nowadays consultation is the norm.
  • • Individualism versus Collectivism: Collectivism is the norm with the Tswana Culture where somebody has to take care of his/her family and also the extended family like uncles, grandparents, aunts, nephews and nieces. In the olden days class differentiation was very low and mostly invisible because traditionally those who had more cattle would help those who had none by distributing the cattle to those households for management. This helped the families because they would use the cattle to plough with and user their milk to feed their own family. This management of cattle also resulted in people being paid by one cow every six months or every year depending on the agreement between the owner of the cattle and the person taking care of the cattle. However, some people do not want to take the responsibilities of extended families and that is why there are organisations like SOS and other orphanage organisations to take care of orphans and also the government is giving out food rations on monthly basis to orphans, elderly people and families considered to be very poor.
  • • Masculinity versus femininity: In the traditional Tswana setup masculinity is the norm, roles are distinguished according to gender, and this is clearly visible in traditional ceremonies where men are the only ones to sit on chairs and women sit on mats and also that in meetings men are to speak first and women are to confirm what the men have said. Men were considered heads of the families and therefore their decisions were final and unquestionable. But since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 (United Nations World-Wide Web page 1995) and the government of Botswana’s emphasis on equality, some jobs/tasks which were considered to be for males only are now considered unisex. At present there are some women chiefs in some Tswana tribes which traditionally the chieftainship was considered to be for men, even if the chief would die only having daughters that meant chieftainship would be given to one of the partenal uncles or his elder son. By this the chief’s family would have lost the chieftainship inheritance.
  • • Uncertainty avoidance: Tswana ethnic group used to believe in ancestors and most of them liked to consult traditional healers for different illnesses and protection against evil spirits. Since the introduction of Christian religion through Dr David Livingstone in 1843, most people no longer believe in traditional healing. The staple food for Tswana is sorghum or corn meal porridge which is made thinner for breakfast and thicker for lunch and supper eaten with some relish which may be chicken, meat from goat, sheep or cattle (sometimes pounded), caterpillar known as ‘phane’ and various wild game and vegetables. But these cultures of food have now shifted a bit but are more common in ceremonial occasions like weddings and funerals and also westernised foods are prepared like coleslaw, pumpkin, squash, rice, etc.
  • • Long-term versus Short: Tswana culture used to allow children to go to school only to learn how to read and write. Most female teenagers were taken out of school to go and be married to elderly men as an arranged marriage between the parents without the agreement of the female teenager, but now people find their own partners and marry when they feel they are ready and not pushed.

2.1.9 Kalanga Culture

Kalanga tribe is found in the north eastern part of Botswana and some in Zimbabwe, only separated by the border. The Kalanga tribe in Botswana, who are still withholding their culture, are mostly found in different villages within the north east side of Botswana. The Kalanga Language was taught in primary schools until 1972, six years after Botswana gained its independence from the British, and now the Kalanga tribe believe that since the discontinued teaching of Kalanga Language in primary schools their culture has been jeopardised. The staple food for Kalanga is sorghum or corn meal porridge which is always made thick and taken with relish. The relish is comprised of meat (sometimes pounded), caterpillar known as ‘phane’ and various wild game and vegetables. But these cultures of food have now shifted a bit but are more common in ceremonial occasions like weddings and funerals and also westernised foods are prepared like coleslaw, pumpkin, rice, squash etc.

  • Power Distance: The Kalanga, like the Tswana, have chiefs who look after the tribe. Their ancestral belief is very high even if they still do practise Christianity. This is shown in their annual Dombosaha ceremonies and also in their prayers for rain. Their prayers are conducted at the hill call Domboshaba, where they believe their ancestral god ‘Ngwale’ is. The word Domboshaba means Red Hill – ‘Dombo’ means hill and ‘shaba’ means red. Bakalaka treat Domboshaba like the Islam treat Mecca, this means Domboshaba is a holly place for Bakalaka. They believe the ancestors are always watching over the living and if the ancestors become upset they are able to send sickness to the living as a sign of displeasure. According to the Kalanga tribe the spirits displeasure is revealed through illnesses, droughts and other calamities and can be appeased only through worship to Ngwale.
  • Individualism versus Collectivism: The Kalanga tribes are still strictly using collectivism as they look after each other or their extended families. Individualism is avoided as their belief is “no man is an island’. They emphasise on community care which shows collectivism dimension.
  • Uncertainty avoidance: The Kalanga tribes believe in worshipping their ancestral god called Ngwale and they also believe in pleasing Ngwale to avoid punishment. Their belief is that Ngwale is always looking at them and if he is not happy with them, he will punish them by bringing incurable diseases, droughts and other disasters. Due to these beliefs the Kalanga tribe do not want to anger Ngwale in order to avoid the situations of calamities. They also believe in consulting Ngwale go guide them or help them solve some problems for which they have no control of like when there is not enough rain durin

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