Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Sajda Qureshi

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Wolcott

Third Advisor

Dr. Lotfollah Najjar

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Teresa Trumbly Lamsam


Small businesses, including micro-enterprises, represent the majority of all firms in the world. This study investigates how Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) can impact the performance of small businesses, including micro-enterprises. This research introduces an updated Information Technology for Development (IT4D) framework to investigate the key factors that influence the adoption of technology in small businesses. Through structural equation modeling (SEM) and factor analysis of 118 microenterprises in China, facilitating conditions, attitude toward using technology, and anxiety is positively related to the behavior intention to use IT. Also, the usage of ICTs and human capital have a positive effect towards the development of small businesses. In order to understand why, in-depth case analysis of China and the United States based microenterprises was carried out using a qualitative research strategy. Case study data was gathered from 11 Chinese, Native American, African American, and Caucasian owned micro-enterprises and small businesses in the United States and China. In order to find out how the growth of those micro-enterprises varies, a comparative analysis was carried out. The results suggest that the characteristics of ICTs, the access to ICTs, and personal inequalities impact the process of economic development and empowerment of the small businesses.

Contributions of the dissertation are as follows: the theoretical contribution of this dissertation is an updated framework for IT4D. The practical contribution is in the interventions that providing IT training opportunities are critical for the growth of small businesses. Finally, this research identifies gaps in the IT4D in small businesses and proposes a framework to guide future research.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Copyright 2016 Jie Xiong.