Do Privacy Concerns Affect Information Seeking via Smartphones?

Do Privacy Concerns Affect Information Seeking via Smartphones?

Mohamed Abdelhamid (University at Buffalo, USA), Srikanth Venkatesan (University at Buffalo, USA), Joana Gaia (University at Buffalo, USA) and Raj Sharman (University at Buffalo, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2604-9.ch011
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The innovation and evolution of technologies in smartphone industry has enabled users to efficiently achieve many tasks including utilizing search engines for instant information retrieval anytime and anywhere. Nonetheless, some users choose not to use these smartphone features including search engines to seek information. This study explores the factors that impact the likelihood of information seeking via smartphones. Privacy concern was found to be one of the main factors influencing the likelihood of seeking information. Android users were more likely to seek information compared to iPhone users, possibly due to the differences in the features of the operating systems of these phones. Motivation to seek information captured by technology ownership increases the likelihood of information seeking. The diversity of social network connections also plays a significant in information seeking behavior of the users.
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Theory And Model Development

This study investigates the factors that impact users to utilize the search engines in their smartphone to seek information. The model has been theoretically developed based on the information foraging theory (IFT) (Pirolli & Card, 1999). The behavioral patterns described in IFT were derived from Optimal Foraging Theory (OFT) (Stephens & Krebs, 1986) and the Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational Theory (ACT-R) (Anderson et al., 2004). We adapt the theory to investigate users’ information seeking behavior using the search engines of their smartphones. The theory explores users’ online search behavior and the factors that impact their decisions to seek or search for information on the web (Pirolli, 2007). The structure of the interface between the information seeker and information repositories determines the time costs, resource costs, and opportunity costs of different information foraging and sense-making strategies. Based on the trade-off between the value of information gained and the cost of foraging using a particular strategy drives the individuals towards adopting a particular foraging behavior. The theory is based on two important concepts namely “information patch” and “information scent”. An information patch is an area of the search environment with similar information (McCart et al., 2013; Pirolli, 2007). It may be defined based on the task in hand. Information scent is the driving force behind why a person makes a navigational selection amongst a group of competing/alternative options (McCart et al., 2013). The interplay between information foraging costs (including search effort) or information scent and the perceived value derived from pursuing an information patch determines the preference to search strategies. With recent advancement in the information technology industry, people have the ability to access and seek information anytime, anywhere, and with minimal efforts (Pettigrew et al., 2002). Smartphones have many of the features that laptops or desktops have. It is, therefore, interesting to investigate why some users would choose not to utilize the features in their smartphones to seek information. We argue that users’ decisions to use search engines in their smartphones for seeking information depends on Information Technology (IT) barriers and IT enablers, which essentially is an interplay between foraging costs and value derived.

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