Examining Rural Adoption of Broadband - Critical Realist Perspectives

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management / Centre for Innovative Practice




This article was originally published as: Dobson, P. J., Jackson, P. D., & Gengatharen, D. E. (2011). Examining Rural Adoption of Broadband - Critical Realist Perspectives. Paper presented at the Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems. Brisbane. Original article available here


Broadband infrastructure is currently being implemented throughout Australia as part of a government funded National Broadband Network (NBN). Ultimately successful universal provision will require that metropolitan installations subsidize rural adoption. It is important for the success of the project that rural adoption is maximized. This will require an understanding of the complex social, political and technical aspects affecting the adoption process for rural regions. The paper argues that critical realism can provide a useful meta-theoretical position to examine the important social and physical aspects of the adoption process. Drawing on the work of Raduescu and Vessey (2008) on critical realist explanatory frameworks, it supports using 3 commonly used critical realist frameworks to guide the examination process – that of Pawson and Tilley (2007) and Danermark et al. (2002), together with Archer’s (1995, 1998) morphogenetic model as the meta theory that underpins the examination. The frameworks and model are introduced briefly and examples provided as to how they can contribute to the examination of the rural broadband adoption process.