Mobile Crowdsourcing Technology Acceptance and Engagement in Crisis Management: The Case of Syrian Refugees

Mobile Crowdsourcing Technology Acceptance and Engagement in Crisis Management: The Case of Syrian Refugees

Saad G. Yaseen (Al Zaytoonah University of Jordan, Jordan) and Khaled Saleh Al Omoush (Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan, Jordan)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/IJTHI.2020070101

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the determinants of the intention for the continuous acceptance and use of mobile crowdsourcing to participate in refugee crisis management. A questionnaire was developed to collect data from 389 Syrian refugees in Jordan's Za'atari camp. Smart PLS was used to analyze the data. The findings indicated that the individual and crowd performance expectancy, the social influence, and perceived risks on the individual and crowd levels have a significant influence on the intention for the continuous acceptance and engagement in mobile crowdsourcing to participate in refugee crisis management. In addition, the results revealed that cultural values of masculinity, power distance, and long-term orientation have no effect on the intention. At the same time, cultural values of collectivism and uncertainty avoidance have a significant effect.
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Introduction

Mobile social networking has become an integral part of people's daily lives. It presents people with a preferred platform and unprecedented opportunities to communicate and collaborate (Wendling et al., 2013), thereby bringing individuals and groups of people together and creating crowdsourcing communities. Recent research on social computing has identified a new phenomenon- the use of mobile phones in crisis management as a means of creating civic engagement and organizing collective actions (Al Omoush, 2017). With the rise of social media platforms, crowdsourcing has emerged as an efficient and powerful tool for mobilizing the public to solve a wide range of tasks by harnessing contributions of individuals (Howe, 2010).

Recent years have witnessed a significant diffusion of mobile social networking in such events as the Arab Spring and the subsequent revolutions that have often been accompanied by humanitarian crises. Events surrounding ongoing civil wars in different parts of the world have resulted in the emergence of a new kind of powerful crisis community, which has been made possible by the computing power of mobile phones that can support crowdsourcing approaches. For example, an analysis of the daily lives of distressed Syrians show that mobile social networking has been effectively employed by them to disseminate and share information, seek solutions and advice on how to deal with different and complex features of the crisis (Al Omoush, 2017).

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. One of the greatest challenges for those involved in the crisis is to have efficient, stable, and accessible tele-communication platforms for reaching a large number of people in a limited amount of time and resources (Huang et al., 2010; Watson et al., 2014). The convergence of social networks and mobile computing has generated new horizons to explore and use the capabilities of mobile crowdsourcing, especially for refugee communities (Micholia et al., 2017).

Although there is an extensive and evolving interest in the mobile-based social networking and crowdsourcing as a new social computing paradigm, the extant literature reveals a lack of adoption and technology acceptance models to explain the determinants of the users' continuous acceptance and engagement in mobile crowdsourcing in crisis management. There is paucity in the literature regarding the use and value of mobile crowdsourcing under the conditions of refugee crises. Far less attention has been paid to the impact of cultural values on mobile crowdsourcing adoption in general and in crisis management in particular. Therefore, the aim of the current study is to investigate the determinants of the intention for the continuous acceptance and engagement in mobile crowdsourcing to participate in refugee crisis management. This study extends the original version of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model by incorporate the cultural values as well as perceived risks to the context of the study in order to explain the determinants of individuals’ and crowd's intention for the continuous acceptance of mobile crowdsourcing in crises. In order to achieve its objective, the study adopts a quantitative approach using a questionnaire survey. The target population covers Jordan’s Za'atari refugee camp.

The present study sheds light on the critical role of mobile social networking in shaping the crowdsourcing through providing the opportunity for participation of refugee society's members in the crisis management alleviating the hardship, miseries, and tribulations of civilians in such kind of crises. The results of the current study contribute to our understanding of risks and threats of mobile crowdsourcing in such crises. They also contribute to the efforts of international institutions concerned with refugees' affairs through identifying their social technological needs to facilitate their life in the refugee camps. The findings support the efforts of developing social computing applications that enhance mobile crowdsourcing and eliminate the sources of risks and threats that may face the activists in such crises. Furthermore, the present study contributes to the continuous discussion about the reliability of the previous well known UTAUT model and the Hofstede's cultural framework that have been developed in normal conditions and its ability to predict the intention for the continuous acceptance and engagement in mobile crowdsourcing under the crises conditions.

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