When mobile is the norm: researching mobile information systems and mobility as post-adoption phenomena

Reference: Middleton, C., Scheepers, R., Tuunainen, V.K. (2014). When mobile is the norm: researching mobile information systems and mobility as post-adoption phenomena in European Journal of Information Systems, 23(5), 503-512

Summary:

The rise of mobile devices and use have increased drastically during the past 7 years, where mobile subscriptions today are estimated to be equal to the number of people on this planet, almost 7 billion subscriptions in 2014 versus 2.75 billion subscriptions in 2006. Mobile technology has become a way to interact with family, friends, share news, enjoy entertainment, and access information. Mobile access in 2011 had a different meaning of what it is today, where everything is now accessible and a click away. We note that mobile emergence first started with the GSM digital cellular standard and ever since, we had a transformation from mobile phones that provided text and phone to handheld devices that are known as smartphones and tablets which combine a series of functionalities other than sound and text such as: e-mail, instant messaging, social networks, note-taking, camera, flashlight, payment methods, location services and maps as well as games and entertainment applications. The term that his highlighted in this article is “UBIQUITY” which is the ability to be anywhere, anytime especially when referring and talking about mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets. Information systems that are used in mobile devices; smartphones and tablets, are shifting and developing their services and functionality. Nowadays, we talk about mobile entertainment as well as communication media and social networking and vehicle services where the use of smartphones is basically for navigation purposes and GPS and information on road conditions. Applications that have entered the smartphone and tablet world can be referred to as highly complex “micro information system” that integrate computing functionality with content.

When it comes to the mobile user himself/herself, what can be identified is that some users own more than one mobile device whether it is two smartphones, one smartphone and one tablet, or a work phone, a smartphone and a tablet. Users not only care about the functionality of these devices but also on the aesthetic aspect of design that encompasses their devices. The user identified in this article can be a private, social person. He can also be an employee, an entertainment user, a professional, a citizen, or even an activist, and each one of these characteristics define the way and how the user exercises “choice” and degree of usage by taking action to maximize usability of devices and ensure benefits from use. Some research questions that were asked in this article included and are not limited to:

  • How the infrastructure can be enhanced to enable IoT ( Internet of things)
  • How can persistent digital devices be addressed?
  • How can we increase accessibility to mobile networks and services for those who are currently not using them?

The context of use that were discussed in this article also became a central concern especially when reflecting on the multiple, and potentially overlapping roles of an individual and the potential overlapping contexts of mobile technology use. Some positive consequences of mobile use are apparent however some contradictions are highlighted as well. Moreover, mobile computing is enabling new behaviors flowing from the same individual as private, national, and global user. In addition to that, the global service providers are coming up with new ranges of services and applications and are clearly shaping the way individuals connect to each other, influence from each other and learn from each other. However, to each new invention its drawbacks, and in this case it is the deterioration of the traditional phone booth and landline as well as newspapers, bookstores, maps, and an increased invasion of privacy, identity theft and higher surveillance on the internet searches.

 

Mobile information systems and organizational control: beyond the panopticon metaphor?

Reference: Leclercq – Vandelannoitte, A., Isaac, H., Kalika, M. (2014). Mobile information systems and organizational control: beyond the panopticon metaphor? In European Journal of Information Systems, 23(5), 543-557

Summary:

The focus in this article is on organizational context and individuals as employees in the work place as well as outside the workplace. As mobile technology is innovating day after day, their uniqueness of being ubiquitous, meaning being present anywhere, anytime and easy to carry around, have made it easier to shift work to other places, anywhere and anytime whether at home, in the car, at the park. Connectivity, ease of carrying, exchanging information on the spot, getting in touch with people, all are many reasons why people work away from the office sometimes even after their usual working hours. However, for control reasons, this particular aspect makes it more challenging for higher level management to keep track on what is happening when people work outside the work premises because they somehow have to “follow” their employees outside of the workplace. A metaphor is used to portray the use of control in ancient times, the panoptic metaphor which illustrates the idea of a prison. The panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe all inmates of an institution without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behavior constantly. The main question asked in this article is: “can control systems in the mobile age be reduced to the Foucauldian panopticon or does the advent of mobile information systems herald the need for another model of social and political organization? Does the enactment of mobile information system in the work place support an extension of panoptic IT-based control systems, as might be enabled in enterprise systems, or does it include other logics of control?”

This paper investigates whether the way mobile information systems are engaged in the workplace reinforce panoptic control systems or generate other types of control logics. “This qualitative exploratory case study reveals the emergence of a subtle, invisible form of “free control” through mobile information systems: a shift in location of authority, a time-related discipline, a deep sense of trust, and adherence to organizational norms that the professionals themselves co-construct”. “Through the concept of free control, the study makes visible the invisible control logics that operate through mobile information systems and illustrates the dissolution of the boundaries between professional and private lives intentionally reinforced by the users”. A sense of trust between managers and employers was developed and people are now more productive than before when given the freedom to work from the comforts of their own homes. They take responsibilities of their actions and do the tasks as asked and answer when needed with the help of the all-time connectivity. So the adoption of the free control inside the organizations has shifted authority and observability and has created a sense of trust and co-operation between employers and employees and were able to dissolute the boundaries between higher level management and employees. However, one thing to keep in mind is the limitations this study offers since it was only done on a small company with a low level of formality, unlike most other companies who are bigger in employee size and have a more top down management style, rather than a flat line management style just like in the case of the company studied in this article which was referred to as “Bankco” to protect its confidentiality.

 

Media tablets for mobile learning

Reference: Kaganer, E., Giordano, G. A., Brion, S., Tortoriello, M. (2013). Media tablets for mobile learning in Communications of the ACM, 56(11), 68–75

Main idea: This article focuses on mobile learning and understanding how media tablets might influence key dimensions of learning by working professionals.

Smmary:

In this article, the main focus goes around the introduction of tablets in the year 2010, notably the iPad, and whether or not organizations should have the initiative to integrate the use of tablet in the everyday work life.

Nowadays, mobile learning is seen as a tool that has many benefits which facilitate the learning experience, making it more personalized, providing access to information with ease and creating a collaborative experience with others. A series of studies have been performed in the domain of higher education with a focus on undergraduates and graduates, whose working needs may differ from those of working professionals, in order to interpret the effects of mobile tablets on learning and if eventually they can be carried on and implemented in the workplace. The key question that was asked when the study was being carried out was “understanding of how media tablets might influence key dimensions of learning and collaboration by working professionals”.

The study was carried out at IESE Spain, with 124 students enrolled in the EMBA program. 62 of these students received iPads with all the documents needed in digital formats through the iPad, and 62 others who had hard copies and printed versions of these formats. The main focus of this study was to “understand the adoption and usage patterns of the mobile learning solution and their influence on key dimensions of learning outcomes, communication/collaboration, and team dynamics”.

After having conducted their experiments, many findings were identified, some of which were positive while the rest was relatively negative. Most students appreciated the fact that everything was easily accessible and downloaded, thus no need to carry around plenty of documents, in addition to that, they pointed out the efficient browsing and search tools which saved them time and confusion. Adoption and usage was positive in this aspect where most students relied on iPad to read their documents, and relied on iPad for qualitative courses more than quantitative courses such as finance where the preference was still to print out the documents since it was easier to skim through when solving exercise. Many implications are to be thought about and well- analyzed before integrating the use of tablets in the workplace. Although there were many positive feedback from the study that was held concerning learning through mobile tablets, many other findings seemed to have a negative effect on the overall learning experiences. For instance, iPads caused disruption in personal work habits and teamwork practices by shifting the learning curve.  Team collaboration was also affected in the way students were using the documents; some had them printed from the iPad, some others downloaded them on the pc and the rest used the iPads which didn’t show much consistency when coordinating work among team members.

As mentioned in the article, “mobile learning initiatives should be viewed as long term; expected benefits may not come quickly, and management must guide and support learners through the process of evolving their practice”. It is a challenging environment to work in and implement such devices and get consistent results, and that is why organizations should have a long term view with the necessary support systems to facilitate the transition to a mobile tabled- based world.

New trends of intelligent E-marketing based on web mining for e-shops

Reference: Gerrikagoitia, J.K., Castander, I., Rebón, F., Alzua-Sorzabal, A. (2015). New trends of intelligent E-marketing based on web mining for e-shops in Procedia social and behavioral sciences, 175, 75-83

Main idea: Developing e-marketing strategies into the web environment to better answer consumers’ needs.

Summary:

Over the past decade, internet use has experienced a rise in the numbers of users worldwide and has made life easier for people who do not have much free time on their hands, so more and more people are accepting the fact that it helps in information search as well as purchasing products online. Electronic commerce is now one essential competitive advantage for companies to be available at any time, at any place to cater to customer’s needs and satisfaction and create a sort of engagement and relationships with its online visitors and customers. However, it won’t be sufficient to just be present online but also, companies need to always be attentive to the implementation of their marketing strategies used online and alter them and adapt whenever necessary.  It doesn’t matter if the e-shop/ e-store was present on the web or social media platforms or in some cases both, it is necessary to give in time and effort in order to keep up with what customers want and when they want it.

In this paper, e-marketing is defined as the “concentration of all the efforts in the sense of adapting and developing marketing strategies into the web environment. E-marketing involves all stages of work regarding a website, such as: the conception, the project itself, the adaption of the content, the development, the maintenance, the analytic measuring and the advertisement”.  Moreover, “consumer decision journey” is a key word highlighted throughout this article which mainly tackles the importance of companies gathering information about their customer and use data mining tools to track the customers’ preference, buying behavior, buying patterns which will give them the ability to know more about what their customers want and look for, and maybe suggest products or services that might interest the customer.

In this paper, a survey was conducted on 86 e-shops which are small to medium enterprises (SME) in Spain to test the necessity of these SMEs to become active users of web mining solutions. Moreover, after gathering the results, it showed that most of the companies have not yet integrated the use of data mining tools in a professional way, but have resorted to the use of outsourcing their hosting of their websites to other, and even if they did use the analytical tools themselves, they didn’t really make good use and take advantage of what the data mining tools can do to their relationships with their customers. It is highly suggested that companies know the importance of the data gathering tools they are using, and be aware that the process of the sales based on the e-commerce must be in accordance to what the customers want, and for this reason it is important to make good use of the data gathered from customers to ensure that they are getting what they search for, what they desire and what they might want in the future.

Why recommend a brand face-to-face but not on Facebook? How word-of-mouth on online social sites differs from traditional word-of-mouth

Reference: Eisingerich, A.B., Chun, H.H., Liu, Y., Jia, H., Bell, S.J. (2015).  Why recommend a brand face-to-face but not on Facebook?  How word-of-mouth on online social sites differs from traditional word-of-mouth in Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25(1) 120-128

Main idea: A comparison between traditional word of mouth and electronic word of mouth, and the impact of social media on the use of e-wom.

Summary:

In this article, what is mainly discussed and highlighted on is a comparison between consumer traditional word-of-mouth, what is commonly referred to as WOM and the electronic word of mouth, what is known as e-wom but mentioned in the article as Swom (word of mouth on social sites). For starters, word of mouth receivers are mainly individuals and small group of people who have ties with the person giving out the information and the communication is done by one-to-one conversations and there is high interaction when exchanging information. However, receivers of Swom information are mainly present on social networks and do not necessarily have personal ties with the person giving out the information and communication is carried out in a one-to-many manner by posting a review on Facebook for example.

With the rise of social media platforms and social networking applications and sites, tendency to use Swom should also increase. However, what was found after conducting three studies was that people preferred not to engage in Swom as much as they engaged in WOM. Many reasons behind people’s preference to use WOM over Swom and one main reason behind people’s preference was the social risk attributed with the giving out of information that was not viewed as positive by the targeted audience. Moreover other reasons behind the preference for the use of WOM over sWOM are the need for self-enhancement and acceptance by others.  Basically, “it is a function of perceived social risk as clearly stated in the article. Thus, perceived social risk “mediates” the effect of communication mode on people’s willingness to provide word-of-mouth in study 1, and “salience” of social risk further magnifies the difference between people’s desire to offer sWOM and WOM in study 3. They also found that self enhancement need mitigates the difference between consumers ‘willingness to provide sWOM and WOM, regardless of whether they inherently possess a high self-enhancement need as in study 2 or when their self-enhancement need is temporarily evoked as in study 3”.

sWOM is more sensitive to self-enhancement motives and to social risk perceptions than WOM because of the high number of people involved. And as a wrap up to what the authors tried to find in their three studies was the difference between people’s desire to engage in sWOM and WOM is mediated by perceived social risk and amplified and increased when social risk is made noticeable. Moreover, they show that the consumers’ need to self-enhance lessen the difference in willingness to offer sWOM versus WOM.

What is suggested after these findings is that marketers find ways to encourage customers to engage more in sWOM without thinking about the negative consequences and threats and social sanctions. This study also only focused on positive word-of-mouth, however it would also be interesting to find out what happens when negative word-of-mouth is communicated on social media platforms and how companies try to regulate such incidents.

Working with connective flow: how smartphone use is evolving in practice

Reference: Dery, K., Kolb, D., & MacCormick, J. (2014). Working with connective flow: how smartphone use is evolving in practice in European Journal of Information Systems, 23(5), 558-570

Main idea: This article highlights on the use of smartphones and their impact on people’s daily lives and lives at work.

Summary:

Nowadays, the presence of smartphones has impacted individuals in both the work and non-work place, since they have managed to make their way into our daily lives. Working people don’t really find it easy for themselves to detach from the use of these devices and thus don’t know how to enjoy what is really going on around them anymore. The ease of use of these devices as well as their ease of mobility is what contributed to people becoming more and more attached to their screens. It is now difficult to disconnect from work even if the person was not physically present at the office. As mentioned in the article, “workers find themselves faced with the decision of if, when and how much to “switch off” from work to participate in family, community, and, other non-work activities, including sleep, rest and relaxation”.

When it comes to smartphones and work, the article highlights the different behaviors from smartphone users since each person wants things done differently. Some viewed the emergence of smartphone as a contributor to increased productivity outside of the work place, where information can still be passed on at any time and any place. Although it was positively viewed by some, others found their lives being taken over by these devices especially with the emergence of the “blackberry” where individuals started to form a sort of addictive behavior, or what was known as “crackberry”.

What is highlighted in this article is the term “agency” which is a term used to explain individual free-will on when, why and how a person uses the device, so the main research question for this study was “how do smartphone users enact choice (agency) to connect and disconnect in a mobile enabled world” and the study was to be further adopted 5 years later in order to analyze how the responses to these questions changed over time. A small sample case study from within the research division of a global financial services company called URD; Urbis Research Division, was studied over two time periods. One study took place in year 2006 and the other took place in year 2011. And why this choice of the five year gap? The first study was done at a time where implementation of the smartphone into the work place was being introduced, to get an initial picture of how would things evolve, and the second study was done at a time where smartphones have already been integrated in the work place. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the Urbis team, more importantly, employees who have already received their black berry phones at the work place to study the user experience of the smartphone and its impact on the participants jobs and how they manage work and non-work activities.

In 2006, the blackberry phone was largely restricted to email delivery; no internet and search data capacity. Moreover, some people were scared by the idea of being too available and still preferred their PC’s. In addition to that, there was the notion of an increase in organizational demand for higher responsiveness and performance which required a higher level of connectivity within and beyond the workplace. There was an increase in working hours since people now work also afterhours from home and are always available to reach by email, but also the flexibility of out-of-office hours, and the ties with office space led more time to engage in family issues and personal events. In 2011, five years after the blackberry was fully integrated into the work system, we notice the rise of social media, the rise of available data online and mobile application which led to the use of another separate smartphone or mobile phone for personal use different than the one used for work purposes. Moreover, some others started using their personal smartphones for work purposes in order to perform at high levels both personally and professionally. However, there was still high demand from the organization to be available which provoked feelings of resentment and stress from the individual. Ironically for some others, disconnecting sometimes created anxiety and instability in wanting to know what is happening at work even when they’re not actually physically present at the office.

Persuasive messages, popularity cohesion, and message diffusion in social media marketing

Reference: Chang, Y., Yu, H., Lu, H. (2015). Persuasive messages, popularity cohesion, and message diffusion in social media marketing. Journal of Business Research, 68(4), 777-782

Main idea: The influence of Social media marketing on consumer’s communicative intention, more specificaly e-WOM (e- word of mouth)

Summary:

Social media marketing has become one of the most influential marketing methods today. As people increase their time spent on social media and social networks such as Facebook, or twitter, they tend to share information and build relationships and try to gather information and knowledge. It has become a powerful communication tool between companies and their customers to communicate messages faster and more efficiently at a much lower cost. However, it is a challenge for marketers nowadays to try and find ways to persuade their internet users to share information and posts online.

This study “investigates message characteristics and how internet users’ evaluations affect communicative intention”. This study uses different groups to understand their communication purposes.

For starters, what affects internet user behavior is what is known as electronic word of mouth and referred to as eWOM. Sometimes, people actually take into consideration what other people have to say concerning a product or service more than when it is advertised on television or even on internet, and this could be a plus for companies who can try to get people to speak up and share their thoughts on their personal blogs, or social networking sites. What helps in the diffusion of such messages in a timely manner and to a relatively large audience is the existence of these social networking sites, blogs, forums, interactive social media that can contribute in conveying messages and opinions and influence others into doing the same.

A study was carried out to show the possible links between persuasive messages, beliefs and attitudes, relative significance, user expertise and behavioral intention to share or like the post posted. The study was carried around a Taiwanese cooking site “icook” where they studied what actually made people share information, or like it, if they actually did then what made them do it, was it the usefulness of the message, or the persuasive factor they found in the message, or was it simply the post’s popularity.  The main findings carried out after the analysis was the importance of external influential factors and popularity play an important role in influencing people into liking and sharing the information presented. And it was suggested that companies and specifically marketers, must collect statistics on likes, discussions and reviewers from social network pages to be able to better understand where they stand and what to fix in order to get more people to collaborate with the sharing of information.

 

Factors Influencing Online Shopping Behavior of Consumers

Reference: Babar, A., Rasheed, A., & Sajjad, M. (2014). Factors Influencing Online Shopping Behavior of Consumers in Journal of Basic and Applied scientific research, 4(4), 314-320

Main idea: This article focuses on the TAM (technology acceptance model) which identifies and predicts the factors that motivate or demotivate a consumer in using technological devices.

Summary:

A new trend that has been the talk of the town for the past few years which has also faced great challenges yet proved to be effective and useful is online shopping, or e-shopping. Data was collected from 132 internet users. And the main variables that were taken into account came from the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). TAM has been previously used by researchers for identifying and predicting different factors that motivate or demotivate a customer in using any technology and also helps predict the reception level of any technology.

Four measures are focused in order to get a deeper understanding of how people view online shopping which are, usefulness, ease of use, financial risk, and attitude.

The rise of e-shopping and online shopping nowadays has given retailers and companies an advantage to stay available whenever the customers want and need them to be. One reason for the emergence of such a phenomenon is the innovations in technological devices such as tablets, mobile phones, smartphones, laptops which have all helped in accessing the internet at a more frequent level and serve as a tool for other purposes and not only to access the internet.

The research in this article studies the emerging trends of e-shopping in Pakistan and would be helpful for marketers in order to formulate and choose their digital strategies wisely. The results revolve around the TAM model and the four measures are explained and analyzed.

  • Usefulness, is the convenience of the new technology and it is what the user assesses to form an opinion before actually using it.
  • Ease of use is the “perception that the whole process of making an online purchase is user friendly and does not require special struggles”.
  • Financial risk, is risk on the adoption process of any new technology and whether it is too expensive and requires a lot of money to be used online or not.
  • Finally, attitude towards online shopping is the “liking or disliking a person shares towards e-shopping, and it will determine the future behavior of a consumer in making or not making a final purchase decision”.

What was relevant in the findings of this study is that, usefulness was found to be the noteworthy forecast of attitude towards online shopping. However, ease of use and financial risk did not have strong influence on attitude formation as compared to usefulness and ease of use.

 

 

The effects of tree-view based presentation adaptation on mobile web browsing

Reference: Adipat, B., Zhang, D., & Zhou, L. (2011). The effects of tree-view based presentation adaptation on mobile web browsing. MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 99-121

Main idea: The following article focuses on possibilities to enhance the visibility of a website on a handheld mobile device.

Summary:

With the increase of mobile telephone usage these days, people also tend to browse through the internet sites on these devices. However, the size of mobile handheld devices poses a constraint on the comfort and ease of use of surfing through the web on mobile phones, since they restrict text and information all at once and people would have to either zoom out or try to remember what they last read and link it to what they will start to read. Other negative aspects associated with the mobile handheld device, is the capacity of storage and limited memory. However, positive aspects are also identified and what is now mostly common is the term “ubiquitous”, the ability to be connected anywhere and anytime with the handheld mobile devices.
Most websites have been designed for larger screens such as computers and portable computers and are poorly suited for handheld devices. According to W3C (the World Wide Web consortium) “adaptation is defined as a process of selection, generation, or modification that produces one or more perceivable units in response to a requested uniform source. Presentation adaptation involves a process of re-authoring or rearranging the content layout of a web page in order to achieve more effective content navigation and improve user experience with mobile web.

This research aims to find the answer to these questions: “can presentation adaptation techniques improve user performance and perception? “Will more presentation adaptation features result in better user performance and perception? And “how does the impact of presentation adaptation vary with complexity”? What is suggested to facilitate the web search and web browsing with handheld mobile devices is three techniques that might make it easier to use the web on a handheld mobile device.

First, “tree-view hierarchical display”. To make it clearer, this approach presents the content of a web page in a tree-type, multilevel hierarchy. “Instead of showing the original Web content entirely, it first displays major section titles in a Web page at the highest level of the tree. Users can click a section title of interest, and the tree will either expand to show the next level branches or display the detailed content of the section selected”. This tree view based technique will make it easier for browsers on handheld mobile devices to have a clearer page and read with more ease without the need to go back and forth and scrolling up or down.

Second there’s the notion of “text summarization” where parts of the text are abstracted and readers are provided with the necessary condensed information.

And finally, the third technique to make browsing easier on handheld mobile users, is the technique of “colored keyword highlighting:” is the use of visualization techniques to highlight and point out on the keywords appearing in a certain section which will make it easier to point out the important words and context of the content available.