Mobile Phone Communication Innovation in Multiple Time and Space Zones: The Case of Hong Kong Culture

Mobile Phone Communication Innovation in Multiple Time and Space Zones: The Case of Hong Kong Culture

Shirley Chan (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-138-4.ch024
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In most parts of the world, it is generally considered impolite or even rude to pick up an incoming mobile phone call and to have a longer (and loud) conversation in public places. Yet this type of interruption is generally acceptable in Hong Kong. This inspired the authors to ask: How does Hong Kong culture impact the perception of mobile phone interruption? This research note is about an ethnographical study on the culture in Hong Kong indicating a more positive perception towards mobile phone interruption. Their research results show that the cultural characteristics of fast pace, deal-making and sense of urgency explain why Hong Kong people are receptive towards such interruption and have the habit of participating in both the physical and mobile spaces at the same time. Their findings also challenge the engaging-disengaging paradox theory - that is, mobile phone users find it difficult to simultaneously engage in parallel activities
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Literature Review

Given the attention of past research on the relationship between interruption and mobiles or other technology devices, as well as the role of culture in the usage of mobile phones or the Internet, the social aspect of mobile phone or device usage has generated attention from sociologists and other researchers.


“Interruption” has long been a subject of study by communication or sociology specialists. Interruption has been said to be a power device (Ferguson, 1977). In some situations, interruptions create high involvement among the partners involved and help promote feelings of mutual interest, enthusiasm, and solidarity (Tannen, 1981 as cited in Li, 2001). Murata (1994) has identified two broad types of interruptions: intrusive and cooperative.

Interruption and Mobile/ICT Devices

Two relatively recent studies look at why and how mobile phone usage could be considered as unwelcome interruptions in public places. Monk, et al. (2004a) examine the reasons why mobile phones are annoying. Monk, et al. (2004b) find that hearing just one side of the conversation results in a publicly-conducted mobile phone conversation becoming more noticeable and intrusive.

Social Identity and Mobile Phone

Truch and Hulme (2004) opined that mobile phones have the effect of challenging the traditional definition of an individual’s social identity in terms of location (the old location-based paradigm) and replacing this paradigm with the new social network-based paradigm. Under this new paradigm, individuals talking on mobile phones have a “second space” or “second identity” while simultaneously still having their “first identity” in the location where they are physically present. McGuigan (2005) considers the strengths and weaknesses of the methods of studying the sociality of the mobile phone as employed in a number of research papers.

Culture, Social Behaviour, and Mobile Phone/Internet

Several studies concern the impact of culture on the social behavioural aspects of mobile phone usage and the Internet. Lee, et al. (2002) conducted online surveys in Korea and Japan and reports cross-cultural differences in the usage patterns of mobile Internet. Hofvenschiold (2003) reports on a study looking at the possible differences in the use of and attitude to mobile phones of British and German university students and young professionals.

The literature review above reflects a definite knowledge gap and begs critique. In spite of the research done on interruption and mobile phones, culture and mobile phone and Internet usage, few studies have examined the relationship between the three elements of interruption, mobile phone, and culture.

Complete Chapter List

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Associate Editors
Table of Contents
M. Gordon Hunter, Felix B. Tan
M. Gordon Hunter, Felix B. Tan
Chapter 1
Alexander Y. Yap
Why are some countries successful with e-commerce while others flounder? This chapter is an update of an earlier research study that the authors... Sample PDF
A Composite Model for E-Commerce Diffusion: Revisited
Chapter 2
Robert M. Davison, Yuan Li, Carol S.P. Kam
In the last few years, Web-based surveys have received increased attention given their potential to cut the costs and time associated with... Sample PDF
Web-Based Data Collection in China
Chapter 3
Jaymeen R. Shah
Privacy laws for the Internet are difficult to develop and implement domestically and internationally. A clear problem is how such laws are limited... Sample PDF
Privacy Protection Overseas as Perceived by USA-Based IT Professionals
Chapter 4
Hongxin Zhao, Seung Kim, Taewon Suh, Jianjun Du
This study attempts to examine empirically how social institutional factors relate to Internet diffusion in 39 countries. Based on nine-year... Sample PDF
Social Institutional Explanations of Global Internet Diffusion: A Cross-Country Analysis
Chapter 5
Somya Joshi, Michael Barrett, Geoff Walsham, Sam Cappleman
This article investigates how, and with what success, global organisations design computer-based systems for knowledge sharing which aim to balance... Sample PDF
Balancing Local Knowledge Within Global Organisations Through Computer-Based Systems: An Activity Theory Approach
Chapter 6
Kevin K.W. Ho, Byungjoon Yoo, Seunghee Yu, Kar Yan Tam
While previous studies on buy-it-now (BIN) auctions focus on the impact of BIN format on economic performances, our study focuses on factors that... Sample PDF
The Effect of Culture and Product Categories on the Level of Use of Buy-It-Now (BIN) Auctions by Sellers
Chapter 7
Shirish C. Srivastava, Thompson S.H. Teo
Though policy makers and governments are interested in understanding the returns from e-Government implementation, there are relatively few... Sample PDF
A Framework for Understanding Returns from E-Government
Chapter 8
Juan Juan Zhang, Sang-Yong Tom Lee
This article studies the role of international spillover of information and communication technology (ICT) in economic growth. We examine the... Sample PDF
A Time Series Analysis of International ICT Spillover
Chapter 9
William Wresch, Simon Fraser
Studies summarized by the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development continue to show that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing... Sample PDF
Technological Hurdles to Caribbean E-Commerce: Responses by Innovative Managers
Chapter 10
Robert M. Davidson, Carol S.P. Kim, Maggie Y. Li, Yuan Li, Carol X.J. Ou
In the last few years, Web-based surveys have received increased attention given their potential to cut the costs and time associated with... Sample PDF
Web-Based Surveys in China
Chapter 11
David Gefen, Tsipi Heart
Deliberate exploitation of natural resources and excessive use of environmentally abhorrent materials have resulted in environmental disruptions... Sample PDF
On the Need to Include National Culture as a Central Issue in E-Commerce Trust Beliefs
Chapter 12
Steven Hornik
The horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism are an important characteristic of cultures. These dimensions have many... Sample PDF
Culture's Impact on Technology Mediated Learning: The Role of Horizontal and Vertical Individualism and Collectivism
Chapter 13
Tamara Dinev, Massimo Bellotto, Paul Hart, Vincenzo Russo, Ilaria Serra, Christian Colautti
The study examines differences in individual’s privacy concerns and beliefs about government surveillance in Italy and the United States. By... Sample PDF
Internet Users' Privacy Concerns and Beliefs About Government Surveillance: An Exploratory Study of Differences Between Italy and the United States
Chapter 14
Shaobo Ji, Qingfei Min, Weihe Han
The purpose of this study is to review current research activities concerning information systems (IS) in mainland China. We thus examined Chinese... Sample PDF
Information Systems Research in China: An Empirical Study
Chapter 15
John Lim
Two seemingly disparate phenomena, advancement in computing technologies and rise in complexity of business negotiations owing to globalization... Sample PDF
A Study in the East Asian Context on Computer Support of Pre-Negotiation and Negotiation Stages
Chapter 16
Sang-Woo Lee, Myeong-Cheol Park, Dan J. Kim
This study relies on a customer demand-based view to examine how mobile number portability affects competition in the Korean mobile... Sample PDF
Mobile Number Portability in an Asymmetric Telecommunications Market: Korea Case
Chapter 17
Hazel Taylor
As outsourced and multinational IT projects become more common, managing risks for these projects is increasingly important. The research reported... Sample PDF
Vendor vs. Client Risks in Outsourced IT Projects: An Agency Theory Perspective
Chapter 18
Susan K. Lippert, John A. Volkmar
Research to date on information technology (IT) adoption has focused primarily on homogeneous single country samples. This study integrates the... Sample PDF
Cultural Effects on Technology Performance and Utilization: A Comparison of U.S. and Canadian Users
Chapter 19
Thompson S.H. Teo
The Internet can be used for different purposes ranging from simple Internet presence to using the Internet for business transformation. This study... Sample PDF
Basic vs. Advanced Modes of Internet Adoption: A Singapore Perspective
Chapter 20
Clive Sanford, Anol Bhattacherjee
This article presents an interpretive analysis of the key problems and challenges to technology implementation in developing countries, based on a... Sample PDF
IT Implementation in a Developing Country Municipality: A Sociocognitive Analysis
Chapter 21
Susan A. Sherer
This article investigates IT investment management processes in the U.S. and Portugal. In Portugal compared to the United States, we find less... Sample PDF
Comparative Study of IT Investment Management Processes in U.S. and Portugal
Chapter 22
Ruey-Lin Hsiao
This article examines e-marketplace adoption difficulties from a contextualist perspective. The analysis of industrial characteristics will unearth... Sample PDF
Misaligned Market: The Importance of Industry Context in Technology-Mediated Exchanges
Chapter 23
Syaiful Ali, Peter Green
Information technology plays a significant role enabling organisations to achieve their objectives. Accordingly, the governance mechanisms over the... Sample PDF
IT Governance Mechanisms in Public Sector Organisations: An Australian Context
Chapter 24
Shirley Chan
In most parts of the world, it is generally considered impolite or even rude to pick up an incoming mobile phone call and to have a longer (and... Sample PDF
Mobile Phone Communication Innovation in Multiple Time and Space Zones: The Case of Hong Kong Culture
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