Assessing the Impacts of the Digital Divide on the Operational Efficiency of Saudi Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

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Date
2024
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University of Salford
Abstract
This dissertation investigates the challenges and opportunities for digital technology adoption in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), using critical systems thinking as a framework. The study provides key insights into the digital transformation landscape of SMEs through a thorough literature review and empirical analysis. It identifies significant barriers, such as infrastructure gaps and digital literacy challenges, and emphasises the importance of tailored training programmes and comprehensive strategies for dealing with cybersecurity threats and a limited web presence. Cultural and social factors also influence technology adoption, necessitating contextually tailored approaches. Moving forward, the success of SMEs is dependent on addressing infrastructure deficiencies, promoting digital literacy, encouraging industry collaboration, and ensuring equitable access to technology. The study makes practical recommendations for policymakers, industry stakeholders, and SME owners/managers, while also advocating for additional research to investigate emerging trends and assess the effectiveness of proposed strategies in increasing SME competitiveness in the digital economy.
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Keywords
Digital Transformation, Digital Technology Adoption, Critical Systems Thinking, Cybersecurity Threats, Digital Divide, Information Technology, Information Systems
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