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Upper echelon theory (UET): A major determinant of information technology (IT) adoption by SMEs in Nigeria

Hart O. Awa (Department of Marketing, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria)
Sunday C. Eze (Business and Management Research Institute, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK)
Joseph E. Urieto (Department of Management, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria)
Benjamin J. Inyang (Department of Management, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 3 May 2011




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impacts of such demographic variables as age composition, gender sensitivity, experience, homogeneity/heterogeneity and educational attainment of top management teams (TMT) on small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs)' information technology (IT) adoption behaviour.


The data collection method was primarily field survey guided by the five working hypotheses and research objectives. Analysis of the data was made with multiple regression analysis and Pearson correlation coefficient as there were five independent variables that entered into the equation, though at different stages/times.


As the study unravelled, the age composition, experience and gender sensitivity of TMT members of SMEs were found to have significantly strong power of predicting the extent of adoption of IT. Group homogeneity, in terms of functional track, has negative impacts and education has weak impacts, contrary to many previous inquiries.

Practical implications

The paper takes a sample of subjects across industries from where findings are specifically generalized. Extended data and measures are required for further in‐depth investigation in specific areas and industries not covered by this work in order to build external validity and further expand knowledge. Also, the paper suggests that marketers of IT infrastructures are encouraged to focus more on individual and group idiosyncrasies of decision makers measured by age, gender and experience in order to accurately predict and timely package programmes that win trial, loyal, switching and viral/advocacy behaviours in this global age.


The paper bridges a knowledge gap by replicating and complementing upper echelon theory on the extent to which IT adoption is determined and shaped by the demographic factors of members of TMT in Nigeria, where such studies rarely exist.



Awa, H.O., Eze, S.C., Urieto, J.E. and Inyang, B.J. (2011), "Upper echelon theory (UET): A major determinant of information technology (IT) adoption by SMEs in Nigeria", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 144-162.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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