Title

A collective case study of Central American ICT handicraft organizations

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Degree Name

MS in Management

First Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala

Abstract

This capstone assesses the impact of information communication technologies (ICT) on Central American handicraft organizations. The qualitative collective case study evaluates the use of Internet technologies by three artisan organizations and measures the direct correlation between technology applications to increases in business sales and the generation of positive human welfare, a non-economic measure of organizational value. The research methods included the use of in-depth interviews, questionnaires, and site visits to Aj Quen in Guatemala, Casa del Baúl in Honduras, and Ave de Paz en El Salvador as well as local aid agencies. The qualitative data collected resulted in a thorough and in-depth analysis of each organization's finances, electronic commerce platforms, Web sites, and use of cellular telephony. Direct interventions by aid agencies involved in artisan organization development were also examined. Collected data, analyzed within the case study framework, allowed the researcher to determine that the organizations' limited ICT resources and internal capacity has not facilitated increased trade or revenue. In each of the organizations studied however, ICT has created indirect value by increasing communication efficiency among customers, partners and producers. Additionally, the potential exists for increased trade through sales generation and partnership building. This paper proposes a bottom-up, culturally appropriate assessment approach that incorporates business sustainability indicators with measures for human value creation. The study also delineates recommendations for improved channeling of ICT resources and aid to Central American handicraft organizations. Finally, the conclusions aim to contribute to the field of ICT-for-development by offering an alternative case study assessment approach that can be adopted by researchers in the international community.

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