The Use Of Information Technology Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 March 2017

The Use Of Information Technology


     The use of IT has been a major factor in the advancement and success of many businesses in the developed economies. Though industries such as banking and insurance and retail are more advanced in the usage of IT, the construction industries, though catching up, can be seen to be still lagging behind in the implementation and use of ICT (Stewart and Mohammed.2003).

But industries in the developing countries like Ghana do not enjoy this same level of IT usage. The construction industry in this country is even further down the development ladder. The need for a developing country like Ghana to embrace the use of IT cannot be over emphasised. The aim of Ghana’s “Vision 2020 Project” is to achieve middle income status by UN and World Bank definition.

At the forefront of this project is the development of roads, ports and housing and the energy sectors. Ghana is also noted to be the gateway to West Africa. This spells a boom in the construction industry. For the industry to be successful in this endeavour as well as compete with the rest of the world in the age of globalization they must embrace the usage of information technology as an enabler.


To investigate the perceptions of CEO/professionals of the use of IT in the construction industry in Ghana.



  1. To evaluate the level of ICT usage in the construction industry in Ghana;
  2. To research theories of technology acceptance in Information Systems (IS) and to evaluate these theories and select appropriate ones to apply to the construction industry in Ghana; and
  3.  To evaluate the factors that inhibits technology usage in the developing world.


    This study seeks to understand the degree of information technology acceptance of Chief Executive Officers of the construction firms in Ghana. Specifically, this study will attempt to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the qualifications of the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of the construction companies? Are they inclined to accept information technology change?
  2. What types of computers are being used in the contruction companies? What is the percentage of usage in their organizations?
  3. What are the information technology softwares being used and the degree of their utilization in their organizations?
  4. What types of operating systems are being used in their organizations? What is the percentage of usage in their organizations?
  5. What types of electronic communications are being used in their organizations? What is the percentage of usage in their organizations?
  6. What is the degree of usage of ready-made package software? What is the degree of usage of customized softwares?
  7. What are the factors affecting the use of information technology in their organizations? What is the degree of influence in each factor?
  8. What factors inhibit the use of information technology in their organizations? What is the degree of influence in each factor?
  9. What are their perceptions or beliefs of the benefits of information technology in their organization? What is the degree of influence of each perceptions or beliefs? and
  10. What is the degree of agreement or disagreement that the use of IT in the construction industry in Ghana will grow in the next five years?


     This study will be guided by the following working hypotheses in answering the research questions as enumerated in the statement of problem:

  1. The Chief Executive Officers of the construction companies are qualified for their positions and they are inclined to accept information technology change in their organizations. All or most of them holds college degrees.
  2. Most of the computers being used are desktops.
  3. The computer softwares mostly used are the following: a) MS Word, b)MS Excel,
  1. c) MS Project, d) MS Outlook, and e) MS Powerpoint.
  2. Operating systems that are mostly used are: a) Windows XP, and b) Windows Vista.
  3. Most of the electronic communications being used is the internet.
  4. Ready-made software packages are mostly in used.
  5. The changing trend in technology and customer industry demand would be the most

              dominant factor to influence the of ICT in their organizations.

  1. The high cost of software and the inadequate information technology content in construction education are the dominant factors that inhibit IT use in their organizations.
  1. The belief of the benefits that it will save time and cost are the dominant factors in the use of information technology in their organizations.
  1. Most of the Chief Executive Officers perceive or believe that information technology has the potential to grow in the construction industry in Ghana in the next five years.


Review of Appropriate Methodologies                                                  

     The two main strategies that researchers use when conducting researches are the qualitative method and the quantitative method.

     The qualitative method takes an epistemological stance where it seeks to understand the social world through the elucidation of the participants it studies. It deals more with use of words rather than numbers for its analyses and interpretations. Strictly speaking, qualitative strategy can also be described as inductive where research is done not to test an existing theory but rather a theory can be generated from the findings of the research.

The research methods associated with the qualitative research strategy include ethnographic studies, semi- structured interviews and unstructured interviews where the latter is when researcher only has a general list of topics to be discussed rather than having specific questions. In focus groups, a group of people who more likely than not have in common the occurrence of a certain situation interact with each other including the facilitator to come up with a mutual meaning of the topic. Qualitative strategy also includes conversational analysis and discourse analysis.

     Quantitative strategy takes a more deductive stance. Here quantitative researchers are guided by an existing theory when undertaking a research. It also deals more with the analysis of numerical data which are obtained from processing the feedback obtained during the research. To obtain this data research designs are used. The type of research design chosen depends on whether the researcher is trying infer a causal relationship between the variables under scrutiny and whether the findings can be generalised.

     Some of the designs used in research are cross- sectional designs, longitudinal designs, case study design and comparative design.

It must be noted that though these designs are generally classified under quantitative strategy, they can be used under the qualitative strategy as well.

Selection and Justification of Methodology                                         

      The research design  and theoretical framework of this study will be based on the            Task-Technology Fit (TTF) model or theory and the Technology Acceptance Model (see explanation of this model in the review of literature). For the purpose of this project, a quantitative strategy will be used.  More specifically, a cross sectional design will be used. A survey will be carried out on CEO’s of construction companies in Ghana. A sample of 40 CEO’s will be selected from the population of CEO’s in construction companies in the capital city, Accra. The population is limited to Accra because of time and cost constraints.

But more importantly, majority of construction companies in Ghana have their head offices in Accra. 20 of these will be made up of road construction companies who are registered under the Ministry of Road Transport and 20 made up of building construction companies who are registered under the Ministry of Works and Housing since these are the two classifications of construction companies in the country. Each group of 20 will comprise of 10 CEO’s randomly sampled from large companies under each classification whilst the other 10 from small to medium scale companies in each classification.

      A self-completion questionnaire comprising multiple choice questions on relevant issues to be investigated will be sent to the CEO’s in person. In addition an explanatory cover letter explaining the purpose and advantage of the research will be included in the questionnaires. Follow up or reminder calls and emails will also be sent to the CEO’s. These will be done in an aid to increase the response rate.

     Information will also be got from literature available on the use of IT in the construction industry and on Information Systems theories will also be used. This information will be obtained from available databases, the internet and from books in libraries.

Discussion of Data Collection Issues                                                     

     Questionnaires will be collected in person from the CEO’s. This will also increase the response rate. The main problem that could be encountered would be the availability of these CEO’s. This is mainly because most of these CEO’s are in themselves professionals and there may be a possibility that they may be away on the field or too busy with projects.

     Once the questionnaires have been collected they will be analysed using the computer software NCSS Statistical Package.


Chapter 2



Review of Articles and Explanation of Their Relevance to the Project         

      A thorough research was conducted for existing literature on IT usage in the construction industry from various databases such as Business Source Premier, Emerald Fulltext and Science Direct as well as published books and an internet search on various search engines.

In a research on the technology readiness (TRI) of managers of Malaysian firms, the writers acknowledged the need of the construction industry to grow faster than the national economy in order for developing countries to experience substantial growth. (Jaafar et al, 2007). For this accelerated growth to occur in the construction industry, ICT was identified as important in increasing the productivity of that sector.

The research measured the propensity of the managers of construction firms to embrace and use new technology. The results showed that Malaysian contractors have high level of technology readiness though they were considered to be followers of in the use of ICT and not leaders. They also realised that larger firms used and saw more opportunity in the use of ICT than smaller firms.

     A survey by Sharshar and Isikdag (2004) to assess the awareness and use of ICT in the Turkish construction industry also revealed a similar situation as that of Malaysia. Larger organisations in general used software packages that were similar to those in Europe whereas smaller organisations had less ICT consciousness. The findings also revealed that the automation of certain processes were not a priority in the industry because of the cheap workforce in that country. Lack of trained staff also resulted in the under utilisation of most of the infrastructure available.

    In line with research conducted in this part of the world, a research was carried out in Brunei by Seyal et al. (2000) on the use of IT in small and medium organisations. The results showed the level of usage was similar to that of Singapore and Turkey. They also realised the CEO’s computer knowledge was positively related to the level of IT usage in the company. But IT wasn’t used strategically and was not in line with their mission statements.

In Hong Kong, a survey was carried out on the use of information technology by quantity surveyors. This study centred on the daily use of IT, the information flows among business partners, the use of computer software and hardware, the perceived advantages of IT applications and the amount of investments into acquisition of IT infrastructure as well as training and management support. The findings of the study showed that the use of IT applications in the quantity surveying companies was very limited and that training in this area was also inadequate due to cheap labour and a high turnover. (Shen, 2003).

    A research was carried out on the acceptance and adoption of e- Commerce in the Western-Cape Province of South Africa by Cloete et al, (2002). The aims of this research were to find the perception of the benefits of e-Commerce, the acceptance of e-Commerce and the level of e-Commerce usage in small businesses in South Africa. Some of the benefits identified were the accessibility to international markets and the improvement in information exchange with customers and suppliers. The results showed that compared to the global usage of e-Commerce, South African small businesses had not adopted the existing technologies to a level that promoted survival in a swiftly changing environment.

    Similarly, a survey carried out into the state of ICT in the Nigerian construction industry revealed that full potential of ICT was not being fully exploited. The research surveyed professionals from the architectural, engineering and quantity surveying bodies and revealed that certain activities like drawing, preparation of bills of quantities and engineering design had been computerised but data and document management were not computerised. Also, e-business had not been embraced by the professionals.

    An interesting paper by Jimba (1999) on information technology and underdevelopment in the third world suggests that the adoption of information technology is detrimental to these countries and businesses because they will be using their meagre resources to purchase expensive IT infrastructure thereby widening the poverty gap. But he goes on to add that these economies still have to be encouraged to employ some form of IT or else be exposed to the worst forms of deprivation.

Another interesting research carried out on the relationship between IT investment and productivity of the company showed that productivity levels of companies fall as the level of investment in information technology increases. The explanation given to this inverse relationship was that as firms invest more into IT there is a greater need for harmonisation between different activities and systems across all areas of the organization. (Dasgupta, 1999).

     However, in the opening address of the 1999 Forum on Africa’s development challenges and the information age held in Ethiopia the Baghat (1999) stated that the conventional sources of competitive advantage namely a large labour force and natural resources no longer determined success and competitiveness but rather the man made application of information technology. It is in this vain that industries like the construction industry in countries like Ghana must adopt the use of ICT.

    Wells, (1999) in her paper on the construction industry in low income countries with the main focus on Kenya and Tanzania identified that in recent times focus has been more on the construction industries of developed nations and less on developing or low income countries mainly because construction is usually connected to economic development and development in these countries have been stagnant o in some cases have declined.


     This section will discuss first the various theories of development and underdevelopment in Third World countries which includes Africa and later the corresponding role of information technology in their development.

Development and Underdevelopment Theories

     Walt W. Rostow’s (1962) dissatisfaction with Karl Marx’s explanation of the evolution of society and the cause of change therein, compelled him to try another dimension which integrates the relation of economics to social and political forces in the development of societies.

     According to him, growth and development to economic maturity would follow through the following stages:

  1. The Traditional Society. It is one which structure is developed within limited production functions based on pre-Newtonian science and technology and pre-Newtonian attitudes towards the physical world. Such a society is characterized by a limited level of productivity, pre-occupation with agriculture, a social structure with slow or no mobility and a value system that evolves on fatalism. The dynasties in China, the civilizations of the Middle East, and the world of Medieval Europe are typical examples.
  2. The Preconditions for Takeoff. This is the traditional era which society prepares itself or is prepared by various forces for sustained growth. Economically, the significant changes are the development of extractive industries, increase in agricultural production, and building of social overhead capital as part of increases in total investments. Socially or politically, a new and more aggressive leadership arises and a strong sense of nationalism develops.
  3. The Takeoff. This pertains to that decisive interval in the history of a society when growth becomes its normal condition. It is characterized by: a rise in the rate of productive investment; the development of one or more substantial manufacturing sectors with a high rate of growth; and institutional frameworks which exploit the impulses to expansion in the modern sector and the potential external economy effects of  the takeoff.
  4. The Drive to Maturity. This is the time when society has reached the stage of developing a range of modern technology for the harnessment of its resources. It is where the leading sectors of the take off stage are being supplanted by new ones and therefore the industrial process becomes differentiated. Countries that have reached technological maturity are Great Britain (1850), United States (1900), Germany (1910), France (1910), Sweden (1930), Japan (1940), Russia (1950), and Canada (1950).
  5. The age of High Mass Consumption. At this stage, there will be a shift of attention from supply to demand, from problems of production to problems of mass consumption, and of welfare in the widest sense. In this post-maturity stage, and of welfare in the widest sense. In this post-maturity stage, three directions maybe pursued: the national pursuit of external power and influence, that is the allocation of increased resources to military and foreign policy; the use of  resources of a mature economy in the attainment of a welfare state; the expansion of mass consumption levels into the range of durable consumers’ goods and services. The United States is the first of  the world’s nations to move from maturity into the age of high mass consumption. Rostow emphasized the significance of technology, and investment in the growth of the economy. This became the basis of the claim that developing countries, lacking both advanced technology, and capital investments have to depend on industrialized countries to support their growth (Rostow, 1962).

     The linear stages of economic growth theory have been supported by two economists Harrod and Domar (Todaro 2000, pp. 80-83) which later formulated the Harrod-Domar Growth Model which basically reemphasized the importance of savings, and investment in the development of an economy. This position of emphasizing technology, and investments in a nation’s competitive advantage have also been reiterated by Michael Porter (1990) of Harvard University.

     Rostow’s theory had been questioned by Andre Gunder Frank basically on the fallacy that the conditions of the development stages of the West such as Great Britain were different as to the situation of Third World countries who were mostly former colonies, Aidan Foster-Carter (1985) and Frank argued that in the first place when the west developed, there were no industrialized countries, Thus, they concluded that the playing field in the world today is not equal due to the emergence of industrialized countries ahead as strong and powerful competitors in the global economy. Why is it that there is widespread poverty in Africa despite government’s claim of economic growth patterned after Rostow, Harrod, Domar, Kuznet, and Chenery which Hunt (1989) coined as the Expanding Capital Nucleus Paradigm?

Let us consider the “dependency theory” of Andre GunderFrank (1967) as a framework. Frank’s approach to development was different from Rostow in the sense that instead of taking society as a unit of analysis, he saw national economies as structural elements in a global capitalist system. It is this system, not individual societies, which is the necessary unit of analysis. He characterizes it as a whole chain of metropolis-satellite relations. This chain links the entire system: from the ultimate global metropolis which is no one’s satellite (e.g. Latin American cities, which Frank sees as both exploited by the United States and themselves exploiting their own hinterlands); right down to the ultimate satellite – e.g. a landless rural laborer, who has nothing and no one to exploit. In the overall, Frank formulated a number of more specific hypotheses.

First, the development of satellites is limited simply because they are satellites. Development along metropolitan lines is precisely not possible for satellites, given their subordinate position in the system. What satellites (like African countries) experience is underdevelopment; which crucially he redefines as an active process of distortion, characteristic of the relatively modern fate of the Third World. His second hypothesis states that satellites can only develop when their ties with the Metropolis are relatively weakened.

He concluded that if a country avoid satellization, self generating development is possible. The structuralist theory of Furtado (1976) also were formulated on the basis of the underdevelopment experience in Latin America, however, his theories differs from Frank although there were some points where their theories would meet. The basic tenets of Furtado’s theory are as follows:

  1. An underdeveloped economy is characterized not only by a low per capita income but by certain critical structural factors such as the sectoral composition of output, employment, and the capital stock; economic institutions, including agrarian systems; the joint effect of the foregoing on elasticities of supply and demand.
  2. Key structural features of third world economies are: (a) the juxtaposition  of a traditional largely agricultural sector using a technology with low levels of productivity and a modern sector using much more advanced technology ; (b) the modern sector is usually established by foreign capital engaged in the primary production for capital; (c) the modern sector is characterized by a high degree of openness (a large part of its output is exported and also a large proportion of its requirements for equipments and materials are imported; and (d) underdeveloped economies themselves are not able to design and manufacture the capital goods required by the modern sector.
  3. The characteristics mentioned above inhibit the generation of an internal growth dynamic. Meanwhile, low elasticities of supply and demand also create inherent tendencies towards inflation and balance of payments crisis.
  4. Economic development consists not only of raising per capita incomes but also in structural transformation, i.e. the transformation of the economic structure of underdeveloped economies so that they acquire the internal capacity to initiate and sustain economic growth.
  5. The main constraints to economic development are those outlined above, and the unequal distribution of income caused by the monopoly of elites in the economy. Policy recommendations center on finding ways in which government can intervene to help private producers change these structural characteristics via the promotion of import substitution in individual underdeveloped countries and the establishment of common markets among them (Furtado: Hunt 1989), pp. 123-128).

     The works of Simon Kuznets (1964), and Hollis Chenery (1981) are similar with each other and in a sense with the same directions as Rostow. Kuznets studied the developing countries looking at their growth rate patterns especially in national income. The analysis would look at the transformation of underdeveloped countries structure from agriculture towards industry, and services. The same is true with Chenery’s analysis that a country’s development lies in the structural change from agriculture to industry and services.

In one of Kuznets findings, he mentioned that a country was less developed because of the low initial levels of their per capital product as they entered modern economic era or because of low rates of growth in per capita product during the past century or so — or both reasons.

He also added that the size of a county has a profound effect on the structure of its economy, and particularly the degree to which a country will be involved in foreign trade.In the early stages of growth, the rate of savings and capital formation as a percentage of national income, and product rises, but after reaching a certain level those percentages no longer exhibit any clear trend that diverges significantly from the rise of Gross National Product (GNP) (Kuznets 1973, pp. 247-258).

     Both Chenery’s and Kuznet’s findings are similar in their conclusion that as an economy develops there would be a swing from heavy agriculture to industrialization.

State Theories of Development

     In this sub-section, another cluster of theories in development classified as state theories will be discussed. These group of theories are concerned with the role of the state in socio-economic development.

     Various and contrasting paradigms on the state ranging from Weberian to Marxist frameworks will be discussed as there is revival on researchers in their interests on the study of  “the state”.

     As Skocpol writes:

     A sudden upsurge of interest in “the state” has occurred in comparative social science in the past decade. Whether as an object of investigation or as something invoked to explain outcomes of interest, the state as an actor or an institution has been highlighted in an extraordinary outpouring of studies by scholars of diverse theoretical proclivities from all the major disciplines. The range of topics explored has been very wide. Students of Latin America, Africa, and Asia have examined the roles of states in instituting comprehensive political reforms, helping to shape national economic development, and bargaining with multinational corporations (Skocpol 1985, p. 457).

     This revival of interest in state theories had become a very useful framework of analysis in explaining societal development. “State”, as based on the definition of Max Weber (Roth 1968) argued that states are compulsory associations claiming control over territories and the people within them. Administrative, legal, extractive, and coercive organizations are the core of any state. These organizations are variably structured in different countries, and they may be embedded in some sort of constitutional-representative system of parliamentary decision making and electoral contests for key executive and legislative posts.

     Skocpol (1985) discussed that states conceived as organizations claiming control over territories and people may formulate and pursue goals that are not simply reflective of the demands or interests of social groups, classes or society. This is what is really meant by “state autonomy”. Unless such independent goal formulation occurs, there is a little need to talk about states as important actors. “Furthermore, one may then explore the capacities of states to implement official goals despite the actual or potential opposition of powerful social groups or in the face of recalcitrant socio-economic circumstances.

     On the one hand, Marxist theorists (Althusser 1984) viewed that the state is a captive of the oligarchy in Capitalist countries because the economic base which is controlled by the elites dictates the policies of the state. Thus, there is no relative autonomy of the state in these countries. On the other hand, from the Weberian perspective, the capacities of states and its relative autonomy in relation to the bourgouisie varies from one country to another. As Migdal (1988) amptly explains:

     Capabilities include the capacities to penetrate society, regulate social relationships, extract resources, and appropriate or use resources in determined ways. Strong states are those with high capabilities to complete these tasks while weak states are on the low end of a spectrum of capabilities.

(Migdal 1988, pp. 4-5)

     For Migdal, it is clear that only a strong state can be effective in transforming society, on the other hand, a weak state is ineffective, and in a sense, it has no relative autonomy to effect much needed change in a given country. This can be exemplified with the existence of power elites in a given society which would tend to predominate politics, and economic policies particularly in many underdeveloped countries such as in Africa.

     In another school of thought, Evans’ (1989) predatory to developmental states continuum is a heuristic tool in determining the degree of the state to effect socio-economic development. As Evans (1989) explains:

     Some states may extract such large amounts of otherwise investable surplus and provide so little in the way of “collective goods” in return that they indeed impede economic transformation. It seems reasonable to call these states “predatory”. Zaire might be considered an archetypal case of such a state…Other states, however, are also able to foster long-term entrepreneurial perspectives among private elites by increasing incentives to engage in transformative investments, and lowering the risks involved in such investments. They may not be immune to rent seeking or to using some of the social surplus for the balance, the consequences of their actions promote rather than impede transformation. They are legitimately transformation considered as “developmental states” (Evans 1989, pp. 562-563).

     The predatory state is basically one that exploits the country’s resources for the good of a few and not for the well being of the majority (Evans cited Zaire as classic example of such a state) while the developmental states are those that utilized the surplus of society for the improvement of its constituents.

Information Technology and Underdevelopment in the Third World

     In this subsection, Information Technology and the development or underdevelopment of the Third World will be discussed in general in relation to some of the development theories previously explained in the last section.

     As what had been discussed, the dependency theory of Frank would argue that the strong nations as coined by as “metropolis” predominate the world economy on an unequal basis while a weak underdeveloped country called “satellite” would be dependent upon the strong industrialized country. With the advent of the information age through the development of the internet and information technology, globalization would favor the strong nations and would consider the world as markets in the global capitalist system.

     It cannot be denied that today we are in the “information age”, and information technology is central to economic development, however, the industrialized countries had and would have a big advantage over the weaker nations since they are “information rich” while the underdeveloped countries are generally “information poor”. Also, history would show that there is a strong correlation between the possession of superior technology and information and the rise of an empire. Those countries which adopted innovations and with superior information were the ones which had a competitive edge over other countries (Zulu, 1994; Sturges and Neill, 1990).

     Information technology really would give enormous advantage to any nation who possessed it. On the one hand, underdevelopment theorists would argue that the creation, and control of this technology and information are by the highly industrialized countries. As such, these countries can manipulate its distribution to their own advantage.

Third world countries which would like to participate in global information highway will therefore have to spend a huge sum of money to come up with the infrastructures needed for information technology and it is really not proven yet whether this investments would result to collective social benefits of the poor nations. This suspicion emanates from the fact that when markets are down, their products cannot compete with those from the highly developed countries since they produced higher quality products because of their superior technology.    

Information Systems and Transfer of Technology Development Theory

     As the previous sections looked at development at the macro level of society. In this section, it  will narrow down to individuals and organizations which are part of the greater whole of society and which are interrelated from a systems analysis point of view. In this section, the focus will be on theories on information systems transfer of technology to a particular organization or industry which will have a profound effect on societal development as was discussed in the preceding sections.

     The theory of transfer of IT technology in development would be the primary theoretical framework to be utilized in this study. The Task-Technology Fit (TTF) theory (Goodhue and Thompson, 1995) and the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) theory (Wixom and Todd, 2005) would be the two specific theories of  IT transfer of technology theories that would be discussed in this section.

The Task-Technology Fit Theory    

     The Task-technology fit (TTF) theory holds that it is more likely to have a positive impact on individual performance and be used if the capabilities of the IT match the tasks that the user must perform (Goodhue and Thompson, 1995). Goodhue and Thompson (1995) developed a measure of task-technology fit that consists of eight factors: quality, locatability, authorization, compatibility, ease of use/training, production timeliness, systems reliability, and relationship with users. Each factor is measured using between two and six questions with responses from on range scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

     Zigurs and Buckland (1998) present a similar model to Goodhue and Thompson (1995) which operates at a group level unlike the latter which operates at an individual level. Since the initial work, TTF has been applied in the context of various range of information technology systems including electronic commerce systems and combined other models such as the technology acceptance model (TAM).

The Technology Acceptance Model   

The Technology acceptance model (TAM) on the one hand, is an adaptation of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) to the field of Information Technology. The theory posits that perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use determine an individual’s intention to use a system with intention to use serving as a mediator of the use of the system in actuality. Perceived usefulness is also seen as being directly influenced by perceived ease of use. Scholars have simplified this theory from its present characteristics (Venkatesh et. al., 2003).

     Thus, the technology acceptance model is an information systems theory that models how users come to accept and use a technology. The model suggests that when users are presented with a new software package, a number of factors influence their decision about how and when they will use it, these factors are:

  • Perceived usefulness (PU) – This was defined by Fred Davis (1989) as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance”.
  • Perceived ease-of-use (PEOU) – Davis (1989) defined this as the “degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free from effort”.

Information Technology and the Construction Industry

     Information Technology (IT), by definition, is a collective reference to the integration of computing technology and information processing (Long and Long, 1997). The use of IT in the construction industry have stimulated large attention globally. Many surveys have been conducted in the construction industry in recent years in order to assess IT applications in the industry. A significant form of research or study which had also been used in other industries is “benchmarking”.

Benchmarking is the application of comparing a company’s performance of a particular strategy, task or operation with that of other companies (Eaton, 2002). This method provides an objective analysis of the degree of success of a firm’s performance by utilizing a systematic measurement process for improvement. In the construction industry, benchmarking is defined as a process of continuous improvement based on the comparison of an organization’s processes or products with those identified as establishing achievable goals in to order to achieve corporate excellence (McGeorge and Palmer, 1997).

Information Technology and the Construction Industry in Hongkong

     In a benchmarking research study of the construction industry in Hongkong (Shen et al., 2003), it concluded that the level of IT applications among construction companies in Hongkong are relatively low in comparison with other developed countries. It also concluded that although benchmarking alone does not improve anything within an organization, it can also benefit companies through generating data that can be useful in formulating strategies, policies, and tactics.

Information Technology and the Construction Industry in UK

     In the United Kingdom, the construction industry were being beset by many problems because of its changing structure caused by globalization. The organizational framework have been highlighted by Yisa et al. (1995) and these difficulties are primarily due to the following factors:

  • In the past, construction enterprises have never met with difficulties in obtaining the required level of work to maintain survival and profit.
  • Many senior managers in the industry have always believed that the most important part of the organization is the production side, i.e. they are production rather than marketing oriented.
  • Only clients can create demand for work and they themselves cannot do so.
  • The nature of the industry is such that it is not capable of being planned, i.e. its dynamic environment prevents any long- and medium-term planning.
  • Traditionally, the construction industry has been a family business, passing from one generation to the next. As a result, even large construction companies are still family owned. Consequently, many heads of these companies are conservative and skeptical to changes and still remain loyal to traditional methods of business passed down by their ancestors.

Changes in the UK Construction Industry

     In the context of the nature and problems of the construction companies in the United Kingdom as discussed previously (, the industry as mentioned faces a continuous circle of changes that are affecting the nature its market. As a result, many construction firms are moving closer to their clients who are themselves becoming more sophisticated and these factors yielded to fierce competition among them.

Developments of Information Technology in the UK Construction Industry

     Significant changes in the structure of the construction market in the UK as discussed previously were followed by changes in technology particularly in the field of IT. There have been rapid advances in information technology, these developments pose both as threats and opportunities to the construction professions. On the one hand, there is the danger that the professionals will become unnecessary as information technology makes expertise more widely available, possibly through expert systems.

IT can make possible today to make phone calls, link up with computers anywhere, manipulate existing data, and make quick and accurate responses to clients’ requests. Efficient market forecasts, and political and economic predictions can already be easily made as a result of developments in information technology. As such, information on new projects is easily accessible to a greater number of competitors than it was before.

Information Technology and the Construction Industry in Finland

     The results of a study conducted by Dr. Lorna Uden and Dr. Marja Naaranoja (2007)  in the construction industry in Finland show that  the main reasons for the failures within the construction industry were: a) lack of information, b) lack of communication, c) lack of decision making process, d) lack of assessment, e) lack of time for planning, and f) lack of trust. As such, results of their study showed that all participants in the survey agreed that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a key aspect for improving communication between the numerous stakeholders within the construction industry.

     Information and communications technology is gradually being utilized by many industries including construction firms in order to improve organizational performance. All information/data for projects are nowadays entered into software tools or generated by computer programs.

              Naaranoja et. al (2007) further explains the situation in Finland:

     Software tools typically used in construction include text documents, 2D and 3D drawings, schedules in bar chart and other formats, various diagrams and charts, tables, etc. A typical construction project meeting involves the sharing of information between different people such as designer, project manager, scheduler, cost estimator, architect, users, electrical engineers, contractors, and etc.

Because many of these people involved also come from different disciplines, it is paramount these information are coordinated and communicated effectively. One effective means of ensuring the success of information flow between various partners is the use of knowledge management. One of the main reasons given for the failure of many construction projects was that there was a lack of management in them (Naaranoja and Uden, 2007).

     As such, Naaranoja and Uden (2007) pointed out the significant role of knowledge management in the construction industry and how it can contribute to management, communications, and coordination in construction projects.

     Knowledge is today considered by most organizations in the construction industry a vital resource and source of competitiveness. It is increasingly recognized as the most important resource in organizations and a key factor in today’s business. Knowledge management is expected to bring innovation and improved business performance in the construction industry.

Information Technology and the Construction Industry in Singapore

     In Singapore, the construction industry there formed an organization called as CORENET (Construction and Real Estate Network). CORENET is a comprehensive network consisting of a series of IT systems and services that allows seamless and expedient communication and exchange of information between relevant agencies and parties involved in the construction and real estate industry (Sing and Zhong, 2001). The information technology systems in this association are designed and developed in order to integrate four major processes in a building project life cycle and these are: design, procurement, construction, and facilities management.

     CORENET is provided information which consist mainly of participating government agencies such as the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Ministry of Law, Ministry of Environment (ENV), National Parks Board (Nparks), Public Utilities Board (PUB), Fire Safety Board (FSB) and other statutory boards and agencies.

Independent information are also provided by the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV), Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), Real Estate Developer Association (REDAS) and others would form an important part of the CORENET information system. It is a comprehensive network system made up of various sophisticated IT components and application packages. The system and its components will be progressively developed in phases.

     After so many years, CORENET went through several phases of developments and updates. It had developed the One-Stop Access to Construction Information Services (OACIS) and One Stop Submission Center (OSSC) and these two important functions gave significant contributions and benefits to the Singapore construction industry.

As construction is a valued activity that has largely transformed the cityscape of Singapore, the industry has been prejudiced for its low technology, labor-intensive and low-value added process and activity. As such, CORENET is initiated with the primary objective of re-engineering operations and processes in the construction industry. It is their vision that the use of information technology would generate optimum efficiency, productivity, and quality in the industry.

     CORENET is an interactive platform that has the capacity in providing a high level of automation and integration to many construction and development processes.

Impact of CORENET on the Singapore Construction Industry

     As mentioned, CORENET had already made significant contributions to the construction industry in Singapore, however, its potential has not yet been fully maximized or utilized. Business reengineering involves using the power of modern information technology to radically design our business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance. Business reconfiguration could lead to an optimal level of integration in the flow of activities within the organization, and also between the project teams and contractors who are involved in finalizing the product together.

Information Technology and the Construction Industry in Malaysia

     In a study conducted by Jaafar et al. (2007) regarding the information technology readiness among managers in Malaysian construction firms, shows that the construction industry in Malaysia is one of the most important industries contributing to Malaysian economic growth and that information technology has a vital role for it to further succeed. However, he also found  found that Malaysia’s construction industry still lags considerably behind other industries in achieving comparable rates of information technology implementation.

Since construction firms particularly in Malaysia functions through independent teams and with factors that need to be integrated in a project, information technology is vital as a tool in unifying these factors. Also, the industry is highly fragmented with major problems like low productivity, and cost and time overrun, conflicts and disputes, resulting in claims and time consuming litigation. This has been acknowledged as the major cause of performance problems confronting the industry, and  fragmentation is one of the characteristics of the industry and forms a barrier that prevents the strategic use of IT.

     As for the survey/study made by Jaafar et al. (2007) regarding the Technology Readiness of managers of construction companies in Malaysis, the Technology Readiness Index (TRI) presents an overall TRI score with a Mean (M) of 3.18, and a Standard Deviation (SD) of .23. These means that the managers are moderate in terms of their technology readiness and there are no significant differences in terms of technology readiness across various demographic variables (e.g. gender, age, etc.) except for educational level. Individual dimensions of TRI, i.e. insecurity and overall TRI, show a significant difference at p lesser than 0.05 and p lesser than 0.01 to educational level, respectively.

Information Technology and the Construction Industry in Nigeria

     As regard to information technology and the construction industry in Nigeria, Oladapo (2006), concluded that IT is a potent tool for accelerating socio-economic development and narrowing the gap between developing and developed countries. It is recommended by him that Nigeria should adopt appropriate IT innovations for its construction industry which in one of the most strategic industries in the country’s development plan. As IT gained international popularity in the 1990s, the Nigerian construction industry also began to use the technology.

    This study was conducted to assess the impact of ICT with architects, , engineers, and quantity surveyors, who are the main producers and managers of project information in the Nigerian construction industry. The results reveal a high degree of information technology services among the companies (99.1%). The study of Oladapo further concluded that the main factor that influences the construction professionals in Nigeria to adopt IT is the increasing level of competition in the industry.

Their degree of utilization of specialized application software (such as AutoCAD for architecture and engineering, and MasterBill and WinQS for quantity surveying) is high. The study also disclose that about 75 percent (75%) of the firms are connected to the Internet for mainly for e-mail purposes. On the one hand, strategic uses such as electronic data transfer and e-business are virtually unheard of. Also, the respondents indicated that they do not have their own websites.

     The study further concluded that the three main impacts of IT on professional practice are as follows: a) making jobs easier for the professions, b) facilitating decision-making and  savings in operating costs. The spread of information technology in the industry is made difficult mainly by the inadequate and erratic supply of electric power in Nigeria.


The use of Information technology has been a major factor in the development of most industries especially in the developed countries. But industries like the construction industry in developing countries like Ghana seem to be lagging behind in the implementation of IT. Thus, they have not yet experienced the full benefits IT can give them.

The aim of this proposed project work is to investigate the perception of CEO’s in the construction industry in Ghana. It seeks to evaluate some Information systems theories on the acceptance of IT and apply it to the Ghanaian context. A survey will be conducted where CEO’s will answer a questionnaire relevant to the use of IT in the companies.

Chapter 3


     The researcher conducted a survey and interviews of Chief Executive Officers in the construction industry in Ghana regarding their usage of information technology. The target sample was 60 firms but only 40 firms responded. The results will be discussed in this section.

Profile of Managers Category in the Construction Industry

     The Chief Executive Officers belonging to the road  construction category who responded to the survey comprised of 3 or 20% of the total respondents while those in building construction category comprised of 9 or 60% of  total respondents. The managers who belong to the other category comprised 3 or 20%. Thus, it can be observed here that a large majority of the respondents comes from building construction category.

Area of Specialization of Construction Firms

     The result for the area of specialization of  the respondent construction firms of the Chief Executive Officers in the industry shows that out of a total of 15 respondents, 12.5% belong to the architecture category while the quantity surveying category comprised of 18.8%; a big majority  which is 37.5% of the respondents belong to the civil engineering category; 6.3% of respondents classified in electrical engineering; 18.8% of respondents comes from the building technology category; and 6.3% belongs to the other category.

Age of Organization

     All or 100% of the construction companies of the Chief Executive Officer respondents which totaled 11 answered that the age of their companies belong to the five years and above classification.

 Age of Director/Chief Executive Officer of Construction Firms

     Most Directors or Chief Executive Officers of the 11 construction firm respondents indicated  that 45.5% belong to the 30-49 years category and a majority of 54.5% belong to the 50 and above class. No respondents belong to the less than 30 years category.

Highest Level of Academic or Professional Qualification

     Majority or 36.4% of the 11 Chief Executive Officer respondents hold professional qualifications while 36.4% also earned college degrees. Also a significant 18.2% of them hold post degrees while 9.1% hold other qualifications. It can be noted that no Chief Executive Officer respondents in the survey belong to a qualification lower than a college degree. This means that these senior managers are well educated.

Type of Computers Used in the Organization

     In terms of the type of computers used in their organizations, a majority of 38.5% of the total of 26 respondents indicated desktops while an equal majority also indicated laptops. Also, 19.2% of them answered networks while a minority of 3.8% answered mainframes.

Frequency of Software Used in the Organization

     The 11 executive respondents’ answers to the frequency of software use in their organization show that 18.8% of them “frequently” used the MS Word Software while a significant majority or 81.2% of them answered “always”. The average score for MS Word is 3.82 or 95.50% and this indicates that this software is the one most frequently used in the construction industry in Ghana.

In the case of the MS Excel Software frequency utilization, a significant number of them or 72.73% indicated “always”, followed by 18.8% respondents which signified “not frequent” and only 9.09% answered “frequently”. The average score of the MS Excel Software is 3.55 or 88.75% and this also means that it is ranked second to MS Word in terms frequency utilization in the industry.

    The average score for the MS Project Software is 2.82 or 70.50% while the average score for MS Outlook is 3.00 or 75.00%. The average score for Open Office Base is 1.55 or 38.75% while the average score for Open Office Calc is 1.64 or 41.00%. The average score for Open Office Impress is 1.45 or 36.25% while the average score for Open Office Math is also 1.45  or 36.25%.

     Furthermore, Open Office Writer’s average score is 1.27 or 31.75% and the average score for Corel Draw is 2.36 or 59.00%. Finally, MS Visio’s average score is 1.27 or 31.75%. The average software frequency utilization score for all is 2.22 or 55.50%. This means that in general the utilization rate in the use of softwares is slightly above the “not frequently used” score of 2.

Job Specific Software Used in the Organization

     The following job specific softwares are used in the sample construction companies in Ghana: a) Corel Draw  b) MS Word  c) MS Excel  d) MS Project   e) Crystal Reports  f)  Payroll  g)  Auto Cad  h)  Architectural Desktop  i) Quark Express  j) Adobe PhotoShop  k) 3D Home Architect, and  l) Archicad.

Operating Systems Used in their Organization

     A total of 19 respondents answered the survey of the use of operating systems in their organizations portion and a significant majority of 52.6% use Windows XP followed by 21.1% respondents who utilize Vista. Windows 98  rank third in utilization with 15.8% and the lowest utilization of 10.5% of respondents is with Windows 2000.

Electronic Communications Used in their Organizations

     A total of 21 respondents indicated the electronic communications used in their organizations and a significant majority used the “internet”. According to 13.6% of respondents, they used the intranet and also another 13.6% of them use “chat”. The minority of the 9.1% of the respondents answered voicemail while another 9.1% also choose e-drawing/e-papers. The lowest is electronic data management with only 4.5% of respondents using it.

Use of Ready-Made Software Packages

      Most of the respondents or 54.5% from a total of 11 respondents indicate that they use ready-made software packages while 45.5% utilize customized packages.

Factors Affecting the Use of ICT in their Organizations

     In terms of the factors that affect the use of information and communication technology in their organizations, the changing trends in technology is the highest dominant factor with an average score of 4.09 or 81.80%. Closely following with an average score are the client/customer demand factor and the construction industry demand factor wherein both indicate an average score of 4.00 or 80.00%. The level of competition is the lowest factor but still a relatively strong influence with an average score of 3.55 or 71.00% (see Table 1)

     Finally, the severity index for the factors affecting the use ICT is a significant 78.20%.

Table 1  Factors Affecting ICT in Construction Companies in Ghana.

Factor 1 2 3 4 5 Severity index (%) Rank
Level of competition 9.09 0.00 45.45 18.18 27.27        71.00 3
Changing trends in



















0.00 0.00 36.36 27.27 36.36        80.00 2

Industry demands

0.00 0.00 45.45 9.09 45.45        80.00 2

* Data verified and Processed by NCSS Statistical Software


Factors Inhibiting the Acquisition and Usage of ICT in their Organizations

     In terms of the factors inhibiting the acquisition and usage of ICT in their organization, security has a significant average score of 2.91 or 58.20% (see Table 2) out of the 11 respondents in this area. This is followed by the high cost of software, fear of virus attack, high rate of obsolescence of hardware/software, and inadequate ICT content in construction education with all of these factors getting an average score of 2.55 or 51.00%.

Table 2  Inhibiting Factors for Acquisition/Usage of ICT in the Construction Industry















Insufficient/erratic power


36.36 36.36 9.09 18.18 0.00      41.80    5
Job sizes and fees not enough for ICT 45.45 18.18 27.27 9.09 0.00      40.00    6
High cost of software 36.36 18.18 9.09 27.27 9.09      51.00    2
Fear of virus attack 27.27 27.27 18.18 18.18 9.09      51.00    2
High rate of obsolescence of


9.09 45.45 27.27 18.18 0.00      51.00    2
Inadequate ICT content in

construction education

9.09 45.45 27.27 18.18 0.00      51.00    2
Scarcity of professional software 18.18 27.27 54.55 0.00 0.00      47.20    3
High cost of engaging computer staff 27.27 18.18 54.55 0.00 0.00      45.40    4
Lack of management desire and

Appreciation of ICT


45.45 9.09 36.36 9.09 0.00      41.80    5
Security 18.18 18.18 27.27 27.27 9.09      58.20    1
Low return on investment of ICT 27.27 18.18 45.45 9.09 0.00      47.20    3
Personnel abuse 36.36 27.27 36.36 0.00 0.00      40.00    6
Fear of ICT making professionals


45.45 54.55 0.00 0.00 0.00      31.00    7

*Data Verified and Processed by NCSS Statistical Software.

     This is also followed by the low return on investment of ICT factor with a relatively significant score of 2.36 or 47.20%. The other factors which also inhibits the use of ICT in the construction industry are insufficient/erratic power supply with an average score of 2.09 or 41.80% while the factor of “job sizes and fees not enough for ICT” registered an average score of 2.00 or 40.00%. The scarcity of professional software also registers an average score of 2.36 or 47.20%; high cost of engaging computer staff factor with an average score of 2.27 or 45.40%; lack of management desire and appreciation of ICT with an average score of 2.09 or 41.80%.

     Finally, the personnel abuse factor registers an average score of 2.00 or 40.00% and the fear of ICT making professionals redundant shows the lowest average score of 1.55 or 31.00%. The severity index is 45.80% which is also significant in affirming the inhibiting determinants of ICT in this study

Belief of Benefits of ICT to their Organizations 

     Majority or an average score of 94.60% of the respondents believe that information and communication technology ‘improves document presentation’ and followed closely by the benefit of ‘saves time’ with 92.80% of the average score respondents choosing it. These are also followed by both ‘savings in operating costs’ and ‘makes professional jobs easier’ as a choice of  89% of  the average score of respondents (see Table 3).

     The belief that it ‘facilitates decision making’ earns an average score of 85.40% of participants and this is also the same average score for ‘gives users competitive advantage’ while  the belief that it ‘gives users competitive advantage earns an average score of 85.40% from respondents.

The belief that it ‘enhances productivity shows an average score of 87.20% of respondents and that it is ‘critical to the success of our business strategy’ scores and average of 83.60%. The belief that it ‘improves public image of users earns the lowest average score of 80.00%. Finally, the severity index is 87.40% which would mean that respondents belief in the benefits of ICT are significant in this study.

     Table 3  Belief of Benefits of ICT in the Ghana Construction Industry















Makes professionals’ jobs easier 0.00 0.00 9.09 36.36 54.55       89.00    3
Facilitates decision making 0.00 0.00 9.09 54.55 36.46       85.40    5
Savings in operating costs 0.00 0.00 0.00 54.55 45.45       89.00    3
Improves public image of users 0.00 0.00 36.36 27.27 36.36       80.00    7
Gives users competitive advantage 0.00 0.00 18.18 36.36 45.45       85.40    5
Enhances productivity 0.00 0.00 9.09 45.45 45.45       87.20    4
Saves time 0.00 0.00 9.09 18.18 72.73       92.80    2
Improves document presentation 0.00 0.00 0.00 27.27 72.73       94.60    1
Critical to the success of your

Business strategy

0.00 0.00 18.18 45.45 36.36       83.60    6

*Data verified and Processed by NCSS Statistical Software

     Utilizing the NCSS Statistical Software and inputting the mean of the three factors of IT transfer of technology in the construction industry in Ghana (see Table 4), the statistical results would show that the severity index is really accurate and significant as determined by the parameters and indices below through the t-test power analysis. The mean for these three factors or attributes are found to be significant as verified by alpha at 0.05.

Table 4   IT Determinants, Impediments & Impact

Attribute Mean Severity index (%)
Determinants of the Use of IT 3.91      78.20
Impediments to the Use of IT






Impact of IT 4.37      87.40

*Data Verified and Processed by NCSS Statistical Software

T-Test Power Analysis

Numeric Results for Wilcoxon Test (Normal Distribution)

Null Hypothesis: Mean0=Mean1     Alternative Hypothesis: Mean0<Mean1

Unknown standard deviation. Population size = 60

         Power                    N       Alpha        Beta             Mean0        Mean1           S        Effect Size

         1.00000                 40    0.05000     0.00000             2.0             4.0             1.0         2.000

Report Definitions

Power is the probability of rejecting a false null hypothesis. It should be close to one.

N is the size of the sample drawn from the population. To conserve resources, it should be small.

Alpha is the probability of rejecting a true null hypothesis. It should be small.

Beta is the probability of accepting a false null hypothesis. It should be small.

Mean0 is the value of the population mean under the null hypothesis. It is arbitrary.

Mean1 is the value of the population mean under the alternative hypothesis. It is relative to Mean0.

Sigma is the standard deviation of the population. It measures the variability in the population.

Effect Size, |Mean0-Mean1|/Sigma, is the relative magnitude of the effect under the alternative.

Summary Statements

A sample size of 40 from a population of 60 achieves 100% power to detect a difference of -2.0

between the null hypothesis mean of 2.0 and the alternative hypothesis mean of 4.0 with an

estimated standard deviation of 1.0 and with a significance level (alpha) of 0.05000 using a one-sided Wilcoxon test assuming that the actual distribution is normal.

Belief of ICT Growth in the Construction Industry in Ghana

     The large majority or 90.9% of CEO respondents in the construction industry in Ghana believe that information and communication technology will grow with their industry in the next five years while only a minority or 9.1% of the respondents do not agree to it.

     The explanation or comments of respondents for their answers above are the following:

  1. “It has helped in research and passing information to the client very easily”;
  2. “ICT is creating new possibilities and as a result its advancement is placing new demands upon design and construction organization”;
  3. “I believe ICT has the potential to grow because the rate of growth of business in Ghana is high and most business require ICT to make any impact in the competition, without which business is stifled”;
  4. “The country is at the threshold of stabilizing growth of which the construction industry is a strong indicator. The industry is now globally linked digitally and one cannot afford to operate outside it”;
  5. “IT application cuts across from project inception through design to contract management”; and
  6. “Whatever software or hardware, the more advance you can buy, needs maintenance. This is at my opinion left in your papers. Maintenance is the most important part of a service rendered in whatever technology”.

Chapter 4



     Based on the analysis of data in the previous chapter, the following hypotheses are therefore affirmed:

  1. The Chief Executive Officers of the construction companies are qualified for their positions and they are inclined to accept information technology change in their organizations. All or most of them holds college degrees.
  2. Most of the computers being used are desktops.
  3. The computer software mostly used are the following: a) MS Word, b)MS Excel,
  1. c) MS Project, d) MS Outlook, and e) MS PowerPoint.
  2.  Operating systems that are mostly used are: a) Windows XP, and b) Windows Vista.
  3. Most of the electronic communications being used is the internet.
  4. Ready-made software packages are mostly in used.
  5. The changing trend in technology and customer industry demand would be the most dominant factor to influence the use of ICT in their organizations.
  • The high cost of software and the inadequate information technology content     in construction education are the dominant factors that inhibit IT use in their  organizations.
  • The belief of the benefits that it will save time and cost are the dominant factors in the use of information technology in their organizations.
  • Most of the Chief Executive Officers perceive or believe that information technology has the potential to grow in the construction industry in Ghana in the next five years.

     Thus, this study would conclude that the Chief Executive Officers of the construction firms in Ghana have a high degree of information technology acceptance. As such, based on the statistical analysis of data, it is very likely that in the next five years there will be a high rate of diffusion of information technology particularly in the construction industry in Ghana. This will also likely lead to spur economic development in the country in the future.


    Based on the findings and analysis, the following are recommended for the government of Ghana as policy measures in the following areas to develop the transfer of technology in the construction industry:

  1. Information and communication technology security
  2. High cost of software
  3. Computer protection
  4. The high rate of obsolescence of computer hardware and software
  5. The adequacy or inadequacy of information and communications technology education content
  6. The scarcity of professional software
  7.  The low return of investments in information and communication technology
  8.  The insufficient and erratic power supply in Ghana
  9.  The intensification of computer and information technology infrastructures in Ghana, and
  10.  Government financial and technical support for the further integration of information technology transfer in the construction industry in Ghana.




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