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Management Information System (MIS) Challenges GCC Countries

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Abstract

GCC countries have witnessed some of the tremendous growth in the world of technology as witnessed in the member states like UAE. The growth in economy of these countries has been attributed to the extensive investment in e-business, which has made UAE, for instance, to be a major business hub among the upcoming economies. In spite of the massive development in e-business, which is a core component of GCC MIS operations, it has posed serious challenges, which some researchers have documented in various publications. This study seeks to unearth the real challenges of MIS as envisaged in the e-business of the member countries.   

Statement of the problem

Management information systems have revolutionized the way of doing business in the entire world and the famous Gulf Cooperation Council countries are no exception. The changes in technology have been at the epicenter of economic growth in the GCC countries and results in countries such as UAE affirms this fact. However, this vibrant growth linked to information system has not been without challenges more so in the online privacy for system users (Cheskin Research Group, 1999).  

Electronic commerce in the GCC, which accounts for a significant amount of business transactions are very complex to handle and manage. This complexity can be seen in the context of difficulty, which helps handle and analyze important elements of electronic privacy and security which serve to boost customer confidence of online transactions. The situation even becomes more complicated with the electronic trust which many governments have been trying to handle as much as possible. It is to be understood that developing consumers’ trust is the way to go in online business, and as such, there are only two important variables to be taken into account by all major players in the GCC countries. These are privacy and security issues in the electronic commerce, which for some scholars have been neglected by the major stakeholders in the GCC countries (International Telecommunication Union, 2004).

The above assertions on electronic commerce privacy and security have also been the top priority of world’s renowned commercial bodies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been actively involved in looking at the issues that could enhance e-commerce security for all stakeholders. FTC has actually been commended for coming up with some of the elaborate solutions for online commerce security; for instance, the body proposed that all online privacy issues should be left to an industry self regulatory mechanism. Besides this solution, the body also developed elaborate principles to guide players in handling online privacy issues which include notice, choice, and security and information access (Federal Trade Commission, 1999).  

Background and Literature Review

Management information systems (MIS) challenges have been on the offing for sometimes now. Many literatures have been written to give evidence of the challenges e-commerce was facing in a world that is vastly being revolutionized through technology. One of the best literatures on the challenges of e-privacy and security which are critical segments of MIS is found with the federal trade commission of the US through its ambitious fair information practices (FIPs). The vocal fair information practices developed five online security practices, which have been widely adopted by the world over to secure privacy of stakeholders in e-commerce. The practices include Notice/awareness, Access, Choice, Security, Enforcement and Redress. Scholars and players believe that when the five variables are used exogenously, the privacy of all stakeholders is assured beyond reasonable doubt (Karake et.al, 2003).    

Since technological revolution, especially leading to e-commerce, the three major challenges of security, privacy and trust have been witnessed. During the early days of its inception, e-commerce or e-business as some called it received low turnover in terms of the number of users, because people associated it to security risks. In recognition of the consumers fear for e-business, providers of e-commerce began ambitious strategies to device methods that would curb security problems the system was posing to the users. One of the methods or systems developed to ensure e-safety was secure sockets layer (SSL), which forms like Amazon quickly incorporated into their system necessitating their business boom. Besides the SSL, electronic firms all over the world including the GCC countries have adopted the robust use of digital certificates, which allow documents to be verified electronically (Henderson, 2005).  

Research Hypothesis

In recognition of what has been happening to other countries of the world as regards issues of MIS security, there is a likely chance that the challenges identified and highlighted in the literature review will hold. In this context, the research hypothesis is that the issues of privacy, security and trust of e-business are major MIS challenges facing the GCC countries` e-business.

Definition of Research Variables

This section will deal with operational definitions for the variables that are intrinsic to this research. These include the following:

Fair information practices (FIPs):

These are the foundations upon MIS bases its safety and security procedures, while different parties are involved in any kind of e-business. 

Secure sockets layer (SSL)

This is one of the latest protocols used by internet providers to secure the safety of messages transmitted from one server to the next. 

Gulf cooperation council (GCC)

This is a group of six developing countries of Asia that include Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Oman.   

E-business

This is a kind of commerce, where transactions or commercials are effected through online technologies such as internet and inter-country phone calls. 

Research Design and Strategy

This study will adopt a combination of qualitative and quantitative research designs in order to generate information that will effectively test the hypothesis of study. Quantitative research design, more so, descriptive study is essential in that, because it makes it possible to take raw data from companies that engage in e-business and put them into useful format for research analysis. As regards qualitative design, the study will adopt the case study design as it makes it possible to have a deep and in-depth study and analysis of data from individual companies that trade in e-commerce within the GCC confinement and beyond. In summary, this study will present both a descriptive study and qualitative analysis of privacy and security issues of selected e-companies from among the six countries that make up the GCC.

Sampling Techniques

This study will be perfectly based on the random sampling of websites of companies within the developing GCC countries. To make it more complete, the researcher will evaluate thirty commercial websites of companies within the GCC boundary, which are consistent with the world standards under the famous FTC specifications. The random sampling evaluation will be subjected to the following research questions:

(i)     How many GCC e-business companies have devised privacy and safety policies within their systems?

(ii)     Are there differences among the safety and privacy policies developed by different GCC companies?

(iii)    To what degree are the GCC individual companies addressing the famous five FTC privacy variables?

(iv)    What is the absolute content of privacy statements developed by each of the sample companies?    

The distribution of sample population was as follows:

Country

Number of Companies

Bahrain

7

Kuwait

9

Oman

11

Qatar

8

Saudi Arabia

11

UAE

14

Data Collection Procedures

Having determined the sample population for this study, the study will adopt data collection methods that will yield both qualitative and quantitative data for proper analysis.  In light of this development, the researcher will adopt the services of interview/questionnaire and case study collection methods. The choice of questionnaire is purely based on its flexible nature to incorporate the use of checklist and rating scales for the different websites already identified in the sample. More so, the use of questionnaire is commended for its ability to quantify people’s behavior, which in most instances is abstract. The use of case study on the other hand is vital as it is the only sure way to analyze critical MIS information from the websites already identified and give a comparison.

Data Analysis and Statistical Tests

This section actually forms the epicenter of the study as wrong analysis even when the overall research process is right will lead to wrong and misleading results for the entire users of the information. Specifically, the study will adopt the use of analytic induction, which is well placed to analyze complicated information from different websites already identified. Analytic induction, which is considered to be amongst the oldest analytic methods allow correlation between the hypothesis and results of the study. In doing this, the research will adopt the use of micro-analytic tools such as graphs and charts.  

To be more specific, the privacy and security issues, which have stood to be one of the MIS threats all over the world, will be observed as they are diversified within the different websites identified. The privacy policies and any other MIS related challenges will be examined in totality. The privacy policy and any other related complications will be identified through the appropriate hyperlinks on each website. After each individual analysis, the researcher will provide to provide a comparison of the individual results and then using analytic induction will make appropriate conclusions.   

Conclusions

There is no doubt that the introduction of e-business which is a core concept within the MIS has been pivotal in revolutionizing the economy of the GCC countries. However, as evidenced from the materials in the literature review, this development poses a serious credible test that touches on the security and privacy of e-business stakeholders. This study will be one of the critical steps to deal with the matter head on and save the face of booming economy as witnessed in the countries such as UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Recommendations and Future Work

The study recommends that although some current challenges MIS can be known, further study should be made to unearth the likely setbacks the system can face so that possible solutions will be made in advance. Technology changes every day and if the stakeholders within GCC countries are reluctant, then the worst can happen that can cripple the already made steps to revolutionize the technology and business of these countries.

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