Date of Award

8-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Communication, Technology, and Society

Committee Member

Dr. Brenden E. Kendall

Committee Member

Dr. Jospeh Mazer

Committee Member

Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika

Abstract

This thesis examines how executives in NGOs and non-profit organizations in Yemen understand and talk about the uses/roles of communication technologies in strategic decision-making through a lens of institutional theory as set forth by DiMaggio and Powell (1983). Specifically, this study addresses how communication technologies are used for strategic decision-making purposes and for making sense of the work of other organizations within the same institutional field – women’s rights. Seven interviews with executives of NGOs and non-profit organizations were conducted and data were analyzed qualitatively. Through this analysis, this study answered two research questions: How do executives at NGOs and non-profit organizations understand and talk about the roles/uses of communication technologies in strategic decision-making? And How do executives at NGOs and non-profit organizations understand and talk about the uses of communication technologies for surveying the work of other organizations for strategic decision-making purposes? This qualitative study yielded seven themes. These themes of fall into two main broad categories: (1) challenges and (2) environmental scanning. The category of challenges elucidated factors that affect the use of communication technologies for strategic decision-making purposes and it included the minimal use of communication technologies and Internet and electricity as luxury. The category of environmental scanning addressed issues related to surveying the work of other organizations for strategic decision-making purposes, and it included lack of transparency and culture of sharing between organizations, limited benefit of surveying local NGOs, idolizing INGOs and foreign NGOs, and local NGOs as role models based on survival, funding, and technology. Findings of this study show, first, that the interviewees consider the minimal use of communication technologies and availability of Internet and electricity as factors that impede the effective use of communication technologies in their strategic decision-making process. Second, many interviewees question the benefit of surveying local NGOs due to the lack of a culture of sharing and transparency between organizations, and due to obvious admiration for INGOs and foreign NGOs. Third, most of the interviewees resisted the idea of mimicking other organizations and their practices.

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