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Understanding consumers’ adoption of e-pharmacy in Qatar: applying the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology

Hussam Al Halbusi (Management Department, Ahmed Bin Mohammed Military College (ABMMC), Doha, Qatar)
Khalid Al-Sulaiti (Department of Marketing, Al Rayyan International University College, Derby University-UK, Doha, Qatar)
Fadi Abdelfattah (Management Department, Modern College of Business and Science (MCBS), Muscat, Oman)
Ahmad Bayiz Ahmad (School of Management and Economics, University of Kurdistan Hewlêr, Erbil, Iraq and Department of Business Management, University of Raparin, Erbil, Iraq)
Salah Hassan (Arabic Program Department, Modern College of Business and Science, Muscat, Oman)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 24 January 2024

261

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the factors influencing the adoption of online pharmacies in Qatar using the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology-2 (UTAUT-2) framework. Specifically, this study examines the impact of performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, hedonic motivation, habit, technology trust, perceived risk and users’ level of awareness of behavioral intention, which in turn affects the adoption of online pharmacies. Furthermore, this study explores the moderating role of word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations on the relationship between behavioral intention and online pharmacy adaptation.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted a descriptive, quantitative approach to investigate the UTAUT-2 model in the context of consumers’ adoption of e-pharmacy in Qatar. Through convenience sampling, 455 responses were collected from regular customers accessing online pharmacy services. The data were analyzed using Smart-PLS 3.2 software to examine the hypothesized relationships.

Findings

The results showed that WOM recommendations significantly enhanced the relationship between behavioral intention and adopting online pharmacies in Qatar. This study identified the factors that may hinder or enable the adoption of online pharmacies, including performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, hedonic motivation, habit, technology trust, perceived risk and users’ level of awareness.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the existing literature on technology acceptance by extending the UTAUT-2 model and recognizing three additional variables (perceived risk, technology trust and technology awareness). These need to be investigated against UTAUT-2 variables to detect the significance of their impact on adapting the e-health concept in Qatar. The potential for cultural change to accelerate the adoption of online pharmacies is highlighted. Future research should explore the role of moral and cultural factors in technology adoption.

Practical implications

The results underscore the economic and social significance of e-pharmacy adoption, particularly within the context of a developing country. Considering the positive intentions expressed by individuals toward e-pharmacy, it becomes crucial for managers and decision-makers to make strategic choices to address any challenges that may arise. Policymakers are encouraged to enhance their services and implement various development initiatives to expand e-pharmacy accessibility and availability.

Originality/value

This study builds upon previous research on e-commerce in the pharmaceutical industry and provides a comprehensive understanding of customers in developing countries. Extending the UTAUT-2 model and identifying additional variables contributes to the knowledge of e-health concepts in Qatar. The findings have practical implications for developing strategies to promote online pharmacy adoption in Qatar and other countries.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank all the participants for participating in this research, and special thanks to the libraries of Qatar University and Qatar National Library for their unwavering support.

Ethical approval: All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the study.

Conflict of interest: All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Citation

Al Halbusi, H., Al-Sulaiti, K., Abdelfattah, F., Ahmad, A.B. and Hassan, S. (2024), "Understanding consumers’ adoption of e-pharmacy in Qatar: applying the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTPM-03-2023-0042

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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