Published in: Information Systems Frontiers
Cited as: Gholami, R., Molla, A., Goswami, S. et al. (2018) Green information systems use in social enterprise: the case of a community-led eco-localization website in the West Midlands region of the UK. Inf Syst Front 20, 1345–1361 .
This study examines the intention of environmentally-oriented social enterprises to continue using Green IS (an eco-localization website here) in Herefordshire located in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom. The Herefordshire Greenlinks (HGL) Association is a local business community that operates primarily through the HGL Website in order to help local social enterprises find and trade local eco-friendly goods and services. It is an example of a “market-based” approach to solving social and environmental issues that is inspired by a bottom-up view of community development and eco-localization. Based on the theory of uses and gratification of media use and the new environmental paradigm, we propose a research model that outlines the various factors contributing to intention to continue using an eco-localization website. The research model and its associated hypotheses were empirically tested using a dataset generated from a survey of 83 small social enterprises. The results demonstrate the importance of three different types of gratification – content, social and performance gratification as well as users’ environmental concerns in determining the intention to continue using an eco-localization website. This study contributes to the Green IS literature by extending research to the social sector environment, and it also provides practical insight for designers of such community-led eco-localization websites.
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Administrators of such websites should pay special attention to ensuring that the content of the websites are regularly updated and managed with information that is of relevance to users.
1) They should try to enhance their attractiveness to the community members by providing information that is locally relevant and is of use to its members. In order to achieve performance gratification, design and usability features need to be evaluated. Particular attention needs to be paid to ensure all links provided in the website work, and website is found usable and easy to navigate for users with minimal previous training on how the different features of the website work. Therefore, methods that evaluate user-site interaction between the HGL Website and the users should be extended and evaluated.
2) Finally, social interaction and community engagement is central to the survival and success of such websites since the primary purpose of these websites is to enhance business community’s involvement in various sustainability initiatives. Social gratification can influence the overall satisfaction with use of the ecolocalization website, and enhance users’satisfaction regarding the overall performance of the website (performance gratification). Therefore, special attention needs to be paid on providing features that enable social interaction among users.
1) In order to generalize the findings, this study should be replicated in other similar settings, as cultural differences among different communities may result in users seeking different kinds of gratification from using such websites. A large-scale survey from similar social enterprises can help us validate the model on a larger scale and provide greater generalizability of the findings.
2) Future research may explore the impact of other factors that could explain more variance in intention to continue using the HGL Website. It is important to note that the current model may not be suitable for all kinds of Green IS.
3) Longitudinal studies can help to investigate how the relative importance of the different gratification variables change as users get more experience with using the website, and how the interrelationships among the different gratification variables evolve over time.
4) Future studies could also apply other advanced measures for environmental concerns instead of NEP (new ecological paradigm).