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Factors contributing to IT industry success in developing countries: the case of Thailand
Tan F., Leewongcharoen K. Information Technology for Development11 (2):161-194,2005.Type:Article
Date Reviewed: Sep 20 2006

Under the presumption that Thailand has developed a successful information technology (IT) industry, this paper tries to determine the factors that could have had a positive influence on this development. As opposed to quantitative statistical methods (for example, structured equation modeling or principal factors analysis), the authors employ a so-called narrative method in order to establish evidence of whether a given factor has positively contributed to the success of the IT industry. This explanation-building approach is based on secondary (historic) data from approximately 1997 to 2002.

The paper is geared either toward economic or IT industry development-oriented researchers, or toward practitioners interested in expanding their organization’s reach into Thailand or the surrounding region. The authors elaborate the elements in considerable detail, and analyze the underlying causal model. While this makes for an interesting, easy-to-follow read, sometimes I found myself lost in facts until the next summary paragraph, many of which, fortunately, are provided just in time.

Controlling for country size, economic development, and political stability, the paper argues that the following factors have had a significant (as measured by the qualitative standards of the paper) positive impact on IT industry success (in order of decreasing strength): IT-related foreign domestic investments (FDI), geographic location, government IT policies, and IT infrastructure. Human resources only indirectly influenced FDI, while domestic IT use did not contribute in a significant way.

Once you have adapted to the highly descriptive and qualitative style of the paper, it is very informative. I recommend it to anyone seriously interested in this problem domain.

Reviewer:  Christoph F. Strnadl Review #: CR133320 (0707-0702)
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