May 25, 1997 in Nation/World

Top Executives Spend Little Time Surfing The Internet Corporate Elite Say The Net Is Too Slow, Not Secure Enough

Maggie Jackson Associated Press
 

Those at the top aren’t often on the Net.

More than half of executives and managers use the Internet just a few hours a week, typically as a way to keep tabs on the office from home, according to a survey released last week.

They aren’t logging on more often because they consider the Internet too slow, too little known by the business world and not secure enough, said the survey of 3,466 executives and managers by the American Management Association.

In contrast, Internet users in general log on an average of 10.5 hours a week for business purposes, according to a separate recent survey.

The rare executive who is a heavy Internet user - logging on more than 10 hours weekly - is typically under 35 and female, working in communications, public relations or a computer-related field, the AMA survey said.

“Executives tend to view the Internet as a library of contemporary information,” said Joel Tomaneng, an analyst with Zona Research Inc., which studies the Internet. “They don’t have the need” for much of the Internet because they have others who can do research for them.

In addition, as an information tool, the Internet is not well-organized, he noted. “It takes time to find things over the Internet, and managers don’t want to take time,” he said when told of the survey results.

Thirty-four percent of executives don’t use the Internet at all at the office, and 39 percent don’t use it at home, according to the AMA, a nonprofit management training organization. More than half - 53 percent - log on for no more than four hours a week at the office.

When they do, they use the Internet most often for e-mail purposes and information retrieval, and less often for direct sales, purchasing products or customer support.

When asked why they weren’t using the Internet more, the executives most often cited its slowness, the lack of education and training in its use by others, and security issues.

The typical executive who is a light Internet user is a man who logs onto the Internet no more than four hours a week from home and two hours a week at the office, the survey said.

The heavy Internet user - 2.3 percent of respondents - logs on 16 hours a week at the office and seven hours a week from home for business purposes. Such users are typically women under 35, working in fields such as communications and public relations.

In a separate survey of Internet users, researchers found that 60 percent of users tap into the Internet for business purposes, and do so an average of 10.5 hours a week, according to the Emerging Technologies Research Group.


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