The Indirect Tangible and Intangible Impact of a Telecentre in Rural Malaysia : The Case Study of a Telecentre in Bario Highlands of Sarawak

Tabassum, Ghazala (2021) The Indirect Tangible and Intangible Impact of a Telecentre in Rural Malaysia : The Case Study of a Telecentre in Bario Highlands of Sarawak. PhD thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).

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Telecentres have been widely deployed worldwide for almost three decades as an Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) enabler to bridge the gap between urban and rural development. The aim is to strengthen the information capabilities and to stimulate the socio-economic status specifically of underserved communities. This study explores the impact of a telecentre (eBario) on the community living in Bario, a small village in the highlands of Malaysian Borneo. It specifically addresses indirect and intangible impacts on non-users of telecentre. Thus far, most research studies have primarily focused on direct and tangible impacts of telecentre on its users whilst impacts on non-users are least covered and understood. Consequently, it was equally essential to study the concept of unquantifiable intangible impacts experienced by the non-users. Important intangible impacts such as psychological empowerment hard to measure quantitatively, though it can be expressed qualitatively. Therefore, to determine the intangible impacts of a telecentre on non-users, a qualitative research methodology “The Most Significant Change” (MSC) method was employed as a tool for collecting data in the form of stories from its users and non-users. The stories collected from the users and non-users of telecentre were then analysed using Content Analysis and the Leximancer Software analytical tool to identify the significant changes/improvements experienced by users and non-users of the telecentre. The collected stories were discussed and confirmed with the representatives of the community. The study results suggested that better connectivity through using ICT led to community exposure and promotion to the outside world at the local and international levels. With further evidence supporting the fact that the telecentre contributed to a sense of connectedness, building livelihood skills, and building community capacity for moving forward to strengthen social ties, financial v improvements, which resulted in a great sense of empowerment contributing to improvements/phenomenal changes evident at individual and collective levels. This study has shown a way of determining/measuring the intangible impacts, and has shown that indirect and intangible impacts on non-users are as significant as direct tangible impacts on users. The adopted theoretical lens provided a deeper understanding of how the telecentre expanded and extended the socio-economic opportunities for community people and how they utilised their abilities to achieve their desired goals. This study contributes a qualitative methodology approach to the analysis of collected data in the form of stories focused on the MSC within the context of the telecentre tangible/intangible impact on the users & non-users. Thus, the MSC approach was useful in charting stories based on the telecentre impact and also helpful in the identification of intangible impact. Combining The MSC method together with the Leximancer software to interpret natural language text data, provides an effective methodology to evaluate and highlight the important changes that are regarded as significant by non-users. The theoretical framework of this study enables us to develop a better understanding of how the telecentre expanded and extended the socio-economic opportunities for community people to improve their abilities to experience the sense of empowerment. Thus, the implementation of this theoretical framework has made it possible to understand the concept of human development and describe the process of utilising telecentre facilities as a benchmark to measure the indirect and intangible impact on non-users.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis (PhD.) - Universiti Malaysia Sarawak , 2021.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Evaluation, Outcomes, Human Factors, Measurement, Telecentre, ICT4D,Tangible Impacts, Intangible Impact, Users, Non-Users, Socio-Economic Impact, UNIMAS, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2021 09:42
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2021 07:08

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