Business Administration, KENMS, International Islamic University Malaysia, Tel: 0172810774; Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWan Jamaliah Wan Jusoh
Business Administration, KENMS, International Islamic University, MalaysiaAdewale Abideen
Business Administration, KENMS, International Islamic University, Malaysia
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Although the wide adoption of Internet banking service in developed countries, its application is still low in developing countries like Yemen. Moreover, there is a dearth of empirical research on Internet banking services in Yemen and this makes it necessary to carry out research on adoption of Internet banking service. The purpose of this study is to examine and investigate the main factors which influence the adoption of Internet banking services by Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) managers or owners in Yemen. The research framework consists of seven latent variables, four exogenous variables and three endogenous variables. Out of 920 SME managers or owners located in Sana’a (capital city), 311 respondents (35% response rate) were eventually used to analyze the data using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to examine causal and mediating relationship between the latent variables. The results of the study indicate that usefulness and ease of use are significant and positive effect towards Internet banking services adoption (IBSA). It also reveals that ICT readiness, financial institution support and competitive pressure are significant and positive effect towards usefulness and ease of use. It is found that usefulness, ease of use and regulatory support are significant towards (Internet Banking Services Adoption (IBSA). It can be concluded that TAM is found to be a good and suitable underpinning theory to explain IBSA factors in Yemen by achievement of model goodness of fit for the GOF index. The study also discussed implications for Yemeni contexts.
Usefulness, Ease of Use, IBSA, External Factor, SMEs, Yemen
Over the past few decades, the world has seen an unprecedented evolution of information technology (IT) which has affected life as we know it. All industrial sectors have been affected by this evolution, especially the services sector. In recent years, the banking industry has undergone rapid technological changes and development. As a consequence, banks have launched multiple service access methods via new delivery channels like the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and Internet Banking Service (IBS). IBS is extremely beneficial to both banks and customers. The main benefits to banks are cost savings, reaching new segments of the population, efficiency, enhanced reputation and better customer service satisfaction [1,2]. IBS also offers a competitive advantage to banks by providing an unlimited distribution network. Through this technology, banks are able to provide services electronically such as lowering transaction costs and adding value to the customer-banker relationship. Internet enables banks to offer high value-financial services at lower costs.
In addition, Jayawrdhena et al.  suggest that IBS offers new values to customers such as reduced costs in accessing and using bank services, increased comfort and time-saving transactions that can be made seven days a week and 24 hours a day without requiring physical interaction with the bank speed of transaction. Unfortunately, in spite of all these advantages, many customers of financial institutions have yet to embrace these technologically advanced services offered by the banking industry especially in the Middle East and in Yemen in particular [4,5].
Despite the provision of electronic infrastructure by Yemeni banks and spending millions of dollars annually to adopt electronic banking, Internet Banking Service Adoption (IBSA) is very low and minimal in Yemen [6-9]. This research tries to add to the body of knowledge in the area of technology acceptance and extends our knowledge of the factors affecting IBSA by SMEs in Yemen.
Recently, the government of Yemen introduced the electronic rial (e-rial) as a payment tool used commonly to pay utility bills and the e-rial also similarly functions as a debit card . There are several banks offering their clients some banking services electronically. For example, five banks that offer electronic banking services are Yemen Gulf Bank (YGB), Yemen Commercial Bank (YCB), the International Bank of Yemen (IBY), Cooperation Agricultural Credit Bank (CAC Bank) and the Arab Bank (AB) [6-11].
Some of the leading Yemeni banks have now come to realize the reality of online banking and have started to believe that it can help them grab a bigger share of the market. The initiator was Yemen Gulf Bank (YGB) which became the first bank in Yemen to offer Internet and mobile phone banking . The present banking services in Yemen include current accounts, saving accounts, remittance, credit cards, service time deposits, buy-and-sell currency, issuance of letters of credit, issuance of bank guarantee and personal loans.
Alam  argues that firms have much greater motivation to use e-commerce or IB than consumers because it offers many benefits such as improved efficiency, massive cost saving in transaction costs and flexible relationship with key business partners. There is also evidence to suggest that the Internet has increased international opportunities for SMEs. According to Williams , Internet technologies can:
1. Increase the ability of a small company to compete with other companies both, locally and foreign.
2. Create the possibility and opportunities for more diverse people to start a business.
3. Offer appropriate and easy way of doing business transactions (not restricted to certain hours of operation, virtually open 24 hours a day and seven days a week).
ICT is an important tool that provides the opportunity for SMEs to improve their competitiveness in the business arena . Noor  examined the relationship between ICT and its five factors: perceived benefits, cost, ICT knowledge, external pressure and government support by SMEs in Malaysia. The findings of the study show that three factors: perceived benefits, ICT knowledge and government support are significantly important to the adoption of ICT while cost and external pressures are found to be insignificant in determining its adoption. The study provides a greater understanding of SMEs’ perception about ICT adoption in their service business. Tan  explains that the benefits of ICTs are widely published. The adoption of appropriate ICTs will generally benefit most SMEs that adopt them by increasing productivity, increasing efficiency of internal business operations and connecting SMEs more easily and cheaply to external contacts. Other benefits include increasing business competitiveness, vertical integration with other related business, stakeholders and institutions .
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is one of a number of studies that has helped in providing a theoretical framework for research in the adoption of information technology over the last two decades . TAM was proposed by Davis  and has been found useful in predicting intention and usage of IB in previous studies [19,20]. The main purposes of TAM are to search in detail customers’ acceptance and why the customers accept or reject the electronic banking system. Muniruddenn  reports that TAM examines the mediating role of perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness in their relation between system characteristics (external variables) and the probability of system use. The use of an extended TAM as a theoretical framework is adopted to examine the effect of external variables such as ICT readiness, financial institution support, competitive pressure and regulatory support on the perceived usefulness and perceived ease to use IB.
External factors include external environmental characteristics that may influence organizational adoption of IB. This study adds some relevant constructs to be used in the environmental factors, as supported by similar studies on specific IS/IT adoption which are most suited to the context of this research [22,23]. These factors include ICT readiness and financial institution support. Therefore, external factors contain ICT readiness, regulatory support, financial institution support and competitive pressure. These factors reveal a positive significantly relationship with intention towards IBSA [23-25].
Perceived usefulness: Perceived usefulness can be defined as “the extent to which a person believes that using the system will enhance his/her job performance” . Reid in his study shows that perceived usefulness has significantly predicted attitude and intention to use IBS on 1,500 bank customers from three banks in Jamaica. In another study conducted in Libya by Emzio , it was found that usefulness has a positive and significant influence on adopting IB. In Jordan, Al-Sukkar et al. show that students perceive the importance of the perceived usefulness factor and the relationship between this factor and the intention towards IBSA usage. As difference studies show various results in the impact of perceived usefulness, this study will include the variable and hypothesize that:
H1: Perceived usefulness has a positive influence on intention towards IBSA in Yemen.
Perceived ease of use: According to Davis , perceived ease of use is defined as “the extent to which a person believes that using the system will be free of effort.” He also illustrates that customers will be more willing to adopt the new technology when it is easy to use. Fang  indicates that perceived ease of use is postulated to have a positive direct effect on attitude towards using IT. Therefore, the higher perceived ease of use a particular IT makes it more likely that the individual will have a positive attitude towards using it. Another related study in Bangladesh on 400 bank clients has revealed positive effect of the attitude towards using the technology and the findings imply that banks need to make IB easy to use . In the same token, Al-Hajari  suggests there are three main issues related to perceived ease of use in Omani banks: easy to manage, easy to use and easy to learn. The researcher also concludes that the difficulty of navigating on the Internet was highlighted by Omani bank managers. Therefore, based on the literatures, we hypothesize that
H2: Perceived ease of use has a positive influence on intention towards IBSA in Yemen.
H3: Perceived ease of use has a positive influence on perceived usefulness.
In the present study, the external factors include external environmental characteristics that may influence organizational adoption of IBS. Various environmental variables such as competitive pressure, trading partner pressure, environmental uncertainty government pressure and external support are examined to investigate the relationship between environmental factors and innovation adoption. According to previous studies, these factors have a positive relationship on the intent to adopt innovative technology [30-32].
The literature suggests that IT readiness operates on two basic components namely, technical readiness and personal IT knowledge that are precursors to the adoption of information systems innovation . According to Al-Nahian et al. , ICT infrastructure includes telecommunication network, Internet connectivity, availability of computer and other hardware and software. They also state that technology readiness consists of technology infrastructure and IT resources. Therefore, e-banking adoption by SMEs depends on ICT readiness. Therefore, based the previous studies, this study hypothesizes that:
H4: ICT readiness has a positive influence on perceived usefulness.
H5: ICT readiness has a positive influence on perceived ease of use.
Through regulation a government can both encourage and discourage the adoption of innovation . Tornatzky et al.  also explain that a government can provide financial incentives, pilot projects and tax breaks to stimulate technological innovation for logistics service providers. Thus, government support is necessary for adoption of e-commerce as it can simplify rules and regulations and provide technical infrastructure towards the adoption of e-commerce in SMEs . Furthermore, Pudjianto et al.  mention that regulatory support refers to government’s role to encourage e-banking usage by establishing law and providing incentives. Factors regarding politics and culture may impact IT diffusion such as rule of law, political openness and property rights protection. Thus, based on the literatures, we hypothesize that:
H6: Regulatory support has a positive influence on intention towards IBSA in Yemen.
Banks are considered as the intermediaries between households and investors toward establishing different types of enterprises . In terms of bank support, Al-Nahian et al.  state that IB benefits banks as well as their customers; IB also is described as sharing wallet for both financial institutions and SMEs. As Khrewesh  suggests financial institutions can provide value-added services to business-to-business venture. For instance, they can offer their services to business customers online. Therefore, this study hypothesizes that:
H7: Financial institution support has a positive influence on perceived usefulness.
H8: Financial institution support has a positive influence on perceived ease of use
Competitive pressure refers to the degree of pressure from competitors which is an external power pressing a firm to adopt new technology in order to avoid competitive decline . Huy et al.  conducted a study in Vietnam on 926 SMEs. This study addressed how the pressure of suppliers and buyers impacts an enterprise’s adoption of e-commerce. In this field, Xiaoline  found that competitive pressure not merely influences SMEs’ behavioural intention to embrace directly the ODSC, but also indirectly affects behavioural intention with the mediation of usefulness. Based on the literatures, we hypothesize that:
H9: Competitive pressure has a positive influence on perceived usefulness.
H10: Competitive pressure has a positive pressure on perceived ease of use.
In this study, the population comprises of all SMEs from manufacturing, trade and service sectors in Sana’a, the capital city of Yemen which are registered under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT). Sana’a is selected as the location of the study due to the proliferation of SMEs in the city. Another reason for selecting Sana’a is that it is a representative geographical area, because the Yemeni Internet population is concentrated in five large cities with almost 60% in the capital city of Sana’a . The number of SMEs in Yemen is around 28,167 enterprises. A survey instrument was developed for testing the hypotheses in this study . In order to ensure the content validity of the scale used, it is advised to largely adapt the items for each construct from prior researches.
In this study, data was collected via a self-administered survey using stratified random sampling method. The random sampling method is widely used in previous studies of IBSA . The number of SMEs (population of the sample) was divided into two categories: small and medium for size of enterprises; and the type of enterprises divided into two categories as well, that is service and trading enterprises. This division is called stratified sample which is the most probable sampling design because the stratification provides the researchers more information with a given sample size . The intention towards IBSA was measured using items adapted from the original TAM . In this study, all the variables that made up the constructs were adopted and adapted from previous studies to ensure content validity (Table 1).
Table 1: presents each construct obtained from previous studies.
|Construct||Code||Number of items||Sources|
|IBSA||IBSA||4||Davis  and Zoliat |
|Perceived Usefulness||PU||4||Pikkararainen et al.  and Al-Somali et al. |
|Perceived Ease of Use||PEOU||4||Al-Somali et al.  and Pikkaraninen et al. |
|ICT Readiness||ICT||3||Tan et al.  and Zolait |
|Regulatory Support||RS||7||Tan et al. |
|Financial Institution Support||FIS||3||Shamim et al.  and Tan et al. |
|Competitive pressure||Comp||4||Ifinedo |
The survey measures ten constructs (nine exogenous variables and one endogenous variable). All the variables that made up the constructs were adopted from previous studies to ensure content validity.
Response rate: The survey was conducted during the period from 23 November to 20 January 2014 (approximately 9 weeks). The total number of distributed survey questionnaires was 920. Of the 920 survey, 311 questionnaires were returned which represented approximately 34% response rate. Table 2 shows summary of respondent’ profile.
Table 2: Summary of respondents’ profile.
|Less than 20||5||1.6||Yes||277||89.1|
|41-50||44||14.1||Use of IB||62||19.9|
|More than 50||19||6.1||Know but not use||148||47.6|
|Education level||Not know||101|
|Less than 20||14||4.5||Number of employees|
|High School||47||15.1||Less than 10||175||56.3|
|Diploma||39||12.6||From 10 to 20||56||18|
|Bachelor||181||58.2||From 21 to 50||80||25.7|
|Dubiety of||30||9.6||Organization ownership|
|Computer usage||Foreign organization||65||20.9|
This study shows two types of reliability were conducted. The first type is Cronbach’s alpha via the use of SPSS 18.0 and the second type is composite reliability (CR). The current study indicates the reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) value ranged from 0.781 to 0.929 while composite reliability (CR) values ranged values ranged from 0.737 to 0.931. Therefore, all values for reliability and composite reliability constructs were greater than the recommended value of above 0.60. Table 3 below presents reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) and composite reliability for the constructs. Appendix C shows reliability (Cronbach’s alph) for all items.
Table 3: Cornbach’s alpha and Composite Reliability for the Constructs.
|Name of Construct||Construct code||Number of items||Cronbach’s alpha||Composite Reliability|
|Perceived Ease of use||PEOU||4||0.781||0.737|
|Financial Institutions Support||FIS||3||0.821||0.830|
This study examines four exogenous variables which are: ICT readiness, financial institution support and competitive pressure on perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. Moreover, the study also tests perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use on one endogenous variable which is intention towards (IBSA) and regulatory support on intention towards IBSA.
Final model showed the ratio of the chi-square to the degree of freedom was 1.643, less than 2 and RMSR was 0.046 less than 0.10 indicates a good model fit as well as the RMSEA was 0.046, less than 0.08 which is considered a good fit (Figure 1). Also other measures indicated the GOF of the model to the data (CFI=0.956, IFI=0.956, TLI=0.949) which indicate that the model employed in this study is a good fit to data [43,44]. Figure 2 shows measurement model for exogenous and endogenous variables. As shown in Figure 1 all items have loading more than 0.50 and ranged from 0.579 to 0.878.
The results of the structural model show the model fit indices such as normed χ2 value was 1.886 less than 2, indicating sufficient fit. In addition, CFI=0.937, TLI=0.930 and IFI=0.937 which explain that the model employed in this research was a good fit to data. Moreover, the parsimonious index (RMSEA) was become the better measurement. The results indicate that RMSEA=0.053. From the Figures 2 and 3, the squared multiple correlation or R2 of structural model were 53%, 43% and 19% for IBSA, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use respectively. For instance, the model accounted for 53% of variance in IBSA.
Mediating factors: The empirical study tested ten hypotheses related to the aim of this study. Out of ten hypotheses that were related to the direct path between the variables, eight hypotheses were accepted and two were unaccepted. According to the results in Table 3 perceived usefulness is the first factor of intention towards IBSA. The result indicates perceived usefulness had a significant and positive impact on SMEs’ intention toward IBSA in Yemen, so H1 is supported. This is followed by perceived ease of use which had a significant and positive effect on perceived usefulness, thus H2 is supported.
External factors: From the Table 3, ICT readiness was a significant and positive effect with perceived ease of use while it was insignificant with perceived usefulness, therefore, H3 is supported and H4 is unsupported and also financial institution support was a significant and positive effect with ease of use and it was insignificant influence with usefulness, thus H5 is supported and H6 is unsupported. Moreover, competitive pressure had a significant effect with perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, therefore, H8 and H9 are supported. Finally, regulatory support had a significant and positive influence on IBSA, so H10 is supported. Table 4 shows the hypothesis testing results of the structural model. As shown in Figure 3 eight hypotheses are supported and two hypotheses are unsupported.
Table 4: Hypotheses Testing of Results Model.
|Hypotheses||Endogenous Variables||Exogenous Variables||Std. Estimates||C.R||P-value||Result|
Although the majority of the respondents did not adopt IBS, the findings indicate that the SMEs in Yemen had higher level of intention towards IBSA in their business. From the Figures 2 and 3 above, approximately 53% of the total variance on the intention towards IBSA was explained. It can be seen that almost 80% of SMEs at least agreed with the intention towards IBSA. This result can be driven from the calculated mean from onesample test which equaled to 3.83 out of a maximum of 5. This is because most of the respondents could already be Internet users.
According to the results of the study, it is clear that most respondents agreed with the statement that IB is useful. The result can be driven from the calculated mean from one sample test which equaled to 3.82 out of a maximum of 5 and which is consistent with the findings of previous studies [33,45]. The findings also show that SMEs had the intention to adopt IB to increase their activities and productivity as well as enhance effectiveness and improve the SME business.
In this research, perceived ease of use is strongly correlated with system use and reliable predictor in IBSA among SMEs in Yemen. Although, most of the SMEs do not use IB, they may not face difficulties in using the new technology regarding the IBS. The positive attitude to use IBS is due to the reasons that managers/owners’ learned to use IB quickly and discover that it is easy to use it.
According to the findings of this study, SME managers/owners believed that access to IBS requires more resources such as access to a computer and Internet as well as time and money. Moreover, bank customers also believed that the telecommunication infrastructure in Yemen is still not enough reliable to support IB and the technology infrastructure of commercial and financial institutions are also not capable of supporting IB transactions. On the other hand, ICT readiness had a significant and positive effect with perceived ease of use. This is because, most of SME managers/owners use computer and access to Internet. Therefore, they become familiar to use IB.
The results of this study indicate that bank customers believed that there are effective laws to protect customers’ privacy and to combat cyber-crime in Yemen. Moreover, they also believed that the legal environment is conducive to conduct business on the Internet. The study findings also reveal that the supportive regulatory environment for legal protection and e-business supporting law was a significant factor for adoption of IB among SMEs in Yemen. In addition, Yemeni government acts to place facilities to use IB and government regulations allow electronic statement of IB transactions. This indicates that the government in Yemen encourages the type of technology that could lead to better lives for Yemenis. Therefore, regulatory support is an essential factor that could motivate SMEs to use IB.
The relationship between financial institution support and perceived usefulness towards IBSA in Yemen was a significant and positive effect. Therefore, hypothesis H8 is supported. The results of the study found that financial institution support can provide value-added services to their customers. For instance, they can offer their services to business customers online. Such services include cash management, certification, credit scoring, factoring, lending, payment processing, risk management and trade finance.
Moreover, This result in a cross-country setting is different from past studies which previously found financial institution support an important factor for the adoption of IB in particular countries.
However, the relationship between financial institution support and perceived ease of use towards IBSA in Yemen was insignificant and positive effect. Therefore, hypothesis H8 is unsupported. The probable reason for this finding is because bank customers in Yemen believed that the banks are still weak to provide them communication services such as email: account inquiry, change of addresses and loan application.
Empirical evidence from this study indicates that the relationship between competitive pressure and perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use towards IBSA in Yemen were significant and positive. Therefore, H9 and H10 are supported. The results of this study show that within the external factors, competitive pressure had a strong influence on perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use towards IBSA among SMEs in Yemen. This study also found that the pressure from suppliers and competitors are very important to adopt IB among SMEs. Competitive pressure pushes the SMEs to imitate other organizations because they tend to avoid the risk of falling below performance. SMEs in Yemen are more sensitive to competitive pressure because they are not able to alter the market forces due to their small segment.
The findings of this study have several implications on academic research, practices and policy-making. First, the extended TAM model is applicable to developing countries with different degrees of explanatory power. The success of the combined model of external factors such as: ICT readiness, regulatory support, financial institution support and competitive pressure in the TAM are evident from the findings of the study. This study indicates that two factors rooted in TAM (perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use) had a strong influence on intention to adopt IB. Moreover, the major contribution of this research is statistically validating the factors influencing SMEs’ adoption of IB. Thus, it can be predicted that SMEs with greater perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, regulatory support and competitive pressure, ICT readiness and financial institution support are more likely to become users of IB.
In addition, this study offers useful implications for e-government decision-makers in Yemen by explaining the weak aspects in e-government. Through the results of the study, decision-makers within the financial sector can visualise the role of bank customers’ intention to adopt IB among SMEs in Yemen as significant which means that they are willing to adopt this service. The results also indicate the comprehensive set of IB products that can help SMEs to operate their business more effectively by automating many of their critical banking activities and interacting electronically with their banks.
This study targeted only small and medium organizations in Yemen. Therefore, the results of this research do not reflect the behaviour of other sectors such as micro and large organizations or individual customers.
Additionally, the population of SMEs surveyed is limited to region of Sana’a. The survey lacks comprehensiveness in terms of the coverage of the entire population. Thus, the generalization of the study’ finding should be with caution. Further research could extend the survey to bank customers of other regions in Yemen and other Middle East countries. Fourth, the study was limited to respondents experienced with IB. Thus, future research is needed to understand the group differences for relationship of attitudinal and environmental factor with intention towards IBSA between adopters and non-adopters of IB. Future research could examine more factors impacting IBSA in Yemen. These factors could include the security, cost, self-efficacy, top management, compatibility, motivation, culture and others.