Title

Diffusion and Adoption of the Internet Among Public Relations Practitioners in Saudi Arabian Organizations

Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Masharul Haque

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

This study aimed at examining the demographic factors as well as attributes of the innovations that affect the adoption and use of the Internet by public relations practitioners in Saudi Arabia. It investigated the Internet and its various applications as new valuable tools to be used by public relations practitioners. In addition, the study examined variables related to the Saudi Arabian social system in which these practitioners work by comparing the government sector with the private sector in terms of the availability of resources and kinds of support for adopting the Internet. The theoretical framework that guided this study was Rogers' (1995) diffusion of innovations theory. A survey of public relations practitioners (N=354) working in most major government and private organizations in Saudi Arabia was conducted. The study found that the majority (93.2%) of public relations practitioners in the private sector had adopted the Internet compared to 82.5% of their counterparts in the government sector. Reasons for these differences ranged from availability of Internet connection to organizational and direct supervisor support and encouragements. Of the innovation attributes, the study found that relative advantage, trialability, and observability were positively related to Internet adoption with relative advantage being the most significant predictors of all. Age, income, and education level were shown to be significant predictors of Internet adoption. As for the social system variables, services such as Internet connection, and the availability of resources such as personal computers were the only two significant predictors of Internet adoption among public relations practitioners in Saudi Arabia.