Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Adams, James

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony

Committee Member

Yu, Chien

Committee Member

Morse, David

Committee Member

Jenkins, Robert L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


Does a Digital Divide exist between African and European American-owned small businesses in the South? There is no inferential statistical research literature on this subject. The literature available are usually conjectures made by small business observers who are quoting results from descriptive statistical reports whose samples originate from cities and states in the North. Research indicates that Northern businesses have vastly different racial, gender, educational, and economic characteristics than Southern businesses. Therefore, it is unlikely that business technology data generated from these locations are generalizable to cities in the South. Research also suggests that a technologically urbane small business environment in a given area can economically uplift its inhabitants. Considering that southern states?particularly regions in the ?Deep South? like Alabama and Mississippi?have some of the highest poverty levels in the United States for its African American population, a detail analysis is needed to determine whether a technological chasm exists between African and European American-owned small businesses in the above states. A potential technology chasm might be the reason for the poverty that characterizes the lives of the South?s African American population. The purpose of this study was to use a Multivariate Analysis of Variance to determine if a Digital Divide existed in both the access and the use of telephone, computer, and Internet technology when comparing small businesses owned by African and European Americans in Mississippi. The primary cities under analysis were Jackson and Gulfport?the two largest urban areas in the state. The results indicated that there was not a Digital Divide between these two groups?both were technologically lacking. However, the owners of these businesses did view technology positively?a factor that might ease future technology adoption.