Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Janice Burn

Abstract

An increasing number of Thai universities arc using information and communication technologies to support virtual education delivery (VED). The main purpose of this study was to examine the strategies used by Thai universities to adopt the concept of ''virtual education delivery" as an education tool. The study attempted to determine the critical factors that influence success in implementing Thai VEDs, and identified the ways to facilitate such adoption. These factors were synthesised with Thai environmental and cultural factors to develop a strategic framework which can be used to assist universities in Thailand to achieve more effective implementation of VEDs. The conceptual research framework was derived from knowledge gleaned from a review of previous research studies. The literature suggested some understanding of the "what" and "how" factors influencing VEDs, but contributed generally rather than specifically to the Thai cultural environment. This framework enabled the researcher to contextualise issues and to determine factors influencing Thai VEDs. This was used to develop the domains of the research questions which were examined through case study analysis of four Thai universities. A multi-method research approach including quantitative and qualitative methods was chosen because of its suitability to this problem. Tho contexts in determining critical factors influencing the success of Thai VEDs were examined through a survey and case studies. The questionnaire survey was developed from relevant research and based on the theoretical framework. This was administered to 240 students in four Rajabhat Institutes. 167 valid responses were received which was a response rate of 69.5 percent. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the relationships between the dependent variable and the independent variables. The dependent variable was the success of VED interpreted in terms of the effectiveness of quality, productivity and the student perception of their VED courses. The independent variables were resources, computer literacy, perceived value of computer-based information, culture and information culture. It was discovered that resources, perceived value of computer-based information, culture and information culture were significant influences on the success of Thai VED. In order to identify recurring themes that could enable the interpretation of another setting, multiple case studies through structured interviews were utilised. This was examined through analysis of four Rajabhat Institutes utilising VEDs. The results from interviewing instructors and administrators who were involved in VED were analysed by using a conceptual cluster matrix and cross case analysis to address the similarities and differences across cases. The results of this stage of analysis concluded that poor computer literacy, negative perceived value of computer-based information and information culture (of both students and instructors) were inhibitors to the success of VED. Further, some characteristics of Thai culture: high power distance, high uncertainty avoidance, and collectivism were founded to be critical barriers to knowledge sharing, essential for collaborative: learning in VEDs. Finally, the results have significant implications for administering and implementing VED. These suggested that there are four coping strategies to enhance VED implementation: I) improving technologies and providing technical support; 2) increasing IT/IS competency and skills of students and instructors; 3) changing students and instructors' attitude to accept usefulness of VED; and 4) enhancing the members' cooperation and commitment. In order to apply these findings in a practical setting an Audit instrument has been developed to allow continuous self-evaluation of the effectiveness of VED in Thai institutions.

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