The digital divide and internet adoption: a case study of social housing tenants in Newcastle upon Tyne

Spoors, David John (2021) The digital divide and internet adoption: a case study of social housing tenants in Newcastle upon Tyne. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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The research presented explores the digital divide barriers faced by social housing tenants in the City of Newcastle upon Tyne. The study pays particular focus on the impact of the socio-demographic factors that impact the digital divide, digital skill training and the influence of Government Policy on the Digital Divide. The study proposes a theoretical framework to examine the Digital Divide to synthesise a wide array of literature on the topic. This research is of importance as there are many individuals that are digitally excluded and unable to go online. With the transition to a digital economy those without internet access will be left behind.

This research study adopted a case study mixed methods design that used a survey instrument to gather related digital divide data from 714 social housing tenants from the City of Newcastle upon Tyne. The case study also uses 14 semi-structured interviews from local authority and housing company stakeholders to add validity to the research design.

The research found that digital skills training forms an important part of social housing tenant’s decision to go online – helping them gain not only technical skills but self-efficacy online and confidence. The traditional determinants of digital exclusion are apparent in some instances however they do not behave in the manner expected with this financially excluded group of individuals. The UK Government negatively impacts social housing tenants decision to go online by way of a poor digital strategy and the compounding austerity policy that has a knock on effect to Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle.

These insights are important as they are a unique view into the digital divide and how it impacts social housing tenants in Newcastle upon Tyne. These findings construct a narrative that offers decision makers options in how best to close the digital divide in this very socially and economically deprived group of individuals.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital divide, social housing, digital exclusion, internet adoption, digital adoption
Subjects: L200 Politics
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2023 08:20
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2023 08:30

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