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Digital Divide - A Challenge to the Real Estate Practice in Nigeria?

Oni, A. O. (2013) Digital Divide - A Challenge to the Real Estate Practice in Nigeria? Property Management, 31 (1). pp. 22-38. ISSN 0263-7472

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Purpose - Digital divide is lack of access to and effective use of information and communication technology (ICT). It represents the difference between people with access to ICT and who use it effectively and those who do not. The aim of this study is to determine the level of digital divides amongst estate surveyors and valuers (recognized real estate practitioners in Nigeria). This is with a view to turning the identified digital divides into digital dividends for sustainable real estate practice in Nigeria and elsewhere. Design/methodology/approach - In attaining the aim, primary data were collected on 3,627 corporate members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) with questionnaires administered through the internet using SurveyMonkey, an internet-based software complemented with bulk sms to alert them about posting of the questionnaires into their e-mail addresses. The Culbertson's constructs for evaluating digital awareness in the USA were adapted for inclusion in the survey instrument. The finding on the estate surveyors and valuers was also compared with those on comparable professionals in the building industry to determine if the respondents are lagging behind in adopting ICT. Findings - Based on the Culbertson's constructs, there is great digital divide between practising estate surveyors and valuers and their counterparts in advanced countries. The analysis indicated that 33.75 percent of the respondents were not committed to ICT, 26.25 percent were slightly committed, and at least 38.75 percent were somewhat committed; and the respondents were classified as "low-tech high-touch" professionals; and their level of ICT deployment found to be appropriate within the framework of the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics. This implies that digital divide is not a challenge to real estate practice in Nigeria. Research limitations/implications -The study serves as good starting block for further analysis of the setting, challenges, and practice of real estate profession in Nigeria and elsewhere with regards to ICT applications. The research posited the implication for the NIESV to organize mandatory continued professional development workshops on ICT to remain relevant in the fast moving digital society. The IT requirements, current skill base, and curricula in the higher institutions were however not examined. It is therefore necessary to carry out further research on students and faculty in the higher institutions to identify the gaps in skill and technological capabilities. Originality/value - The findings help in specifying development activities that will enhance improvements in professional standards, build local capacity and improve transparency expected by international investors. Also, the findings provide professional bodies and policy-makers with indications to improve and ensure sustainable real estate professional practice through continuous and life-long training of members in ICT. It recommended capacity building, reviving of interests of practitioners, direct investment of software companies, and research as approaches to reducing the level of digital divide between practitioners in advanced countries and Nigeria in order to remain relevant in the technologically-driven and competitive world

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TH Building construction
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics > School of Civil Engineering and the Environment
Depositing User: Mr Solomon Bayoko
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2014 20:43
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2014 20:43

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