Exploring the Factors Influencing Acceptance of Mobile Phone: A Perspective of SMEs

Exploring the Factors Influencing Acceptance of Mobile Phone: A Perspective of SMEs

Renatus Michael Mushi (Institute of Finance Management, Tanzania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4029-8.ch008

Abstract

This chapter describes how the adoption and usage of technologies is influenced by a number of factors. Such factors tend to affect the perception of people to accept or reject a technology in their usage context. Mobile phone technology has gained popularity as a dependable tool in SMEs. In Tanzania, for example, it is used to accomplish activities such as marketing, communication and mobile money transactions. This chapter highlights the key factors which influence the acceptance of mobile phones as they are used by individual peoples in the SMEs. The conceptual model shows that TAM can be extended by factors such as perceived values in explaining the acceptance of mobile phone technology in Tanzanian SMEs.
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Introduction

Mobile phone has been dependable technological innovation to the society of developing countries in business perspectives. This because it has been relatively cheap to acquire, easy to use and there are usage opportunities on the developed apps and availability of infrastructure which is maintained and operated by operators. This tend to fuel the technological leapfrogging where majority of individuals and small businesses jumps directly from ‘not using technology’ to ‘using mobile hones’ to perform their business obligations while skipping the use of desktop computing technology.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have taken a huge percentage in Tanzania. Like in many other developing countries, SMEs is a place where majority of unemployed, low educated, less exposed, retired, retrenched and low-income people are found. In Tanzania, for example, more than 90% of SMEs have less than 5 employees. Across the streets of Tanzania, a broad range of SMEs such as restaurants, bars, taxis, townbuses (daladalas), retail shops, etc., who do not have financial powers to own desktop computers, taking aside the fact that they are likely in need of mobile phones as their best alternative due to their nature of activities.

Despite of the popularity and applicability of its usage in the SMEs level, important factors which influence its uptake are not well exposed. In practical, involving work performance with the use of mobile phones is exposed to many factors which influence the usage process. The issues which are involved on using personal mobile phones for work purposes, knowledge requirement, voluntariness on using technology, intentions and others need to explicitly be discussed. The addressed concerns will provide suggestions on how the usage can be optimised for the benefit of the SMEs under study.

This chapter presents discusses the factors which can be practical in the Tanzanian context and other similar regions. The contents of this chapter will be beneficial to stakeholders involved in acceptance of technologies, SMEs managers and employees as well as mobile network operators. The rest of this article is organised as follows:

Technology Adoption

The word adoption is closely related to acceptance in many researches of in information systems. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines acceptance as “...consent to receive or undertake something…” (Oxford, 2009, p.7). It also defines adoption as “…the act of taking up and treating as one’s own. This shows that adoption is more than just agreeing to a new idea or method. This happens in the case when there are several choices to make because it is about choosing a new innovation, taking it up, and owning it into specific perspective…” Rogers (1995), when proposing the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) model, define adoption as the process of communicating innovation in order to attain the acceptance of intended potential adopters. On the other hand, Hernandez, Jimenez and Martin (2009) when analysing the key website features required for e-business activities, consider adoption as the decision to use something and acceptance as post-adoption perception. Technology adoption can also be defined as an outcome of result of the users’ comparison of the uncertain costs and benefits of using the new technology (Hall and Khan, 2003). This means, a detailed balancing between the intentions of designers and the expectation of users should be considered in the process of ICT adoption. Adoption occurs when intended users accept and opt to use innovations as their best choice in their business activities.

While adoption and acceptance have some similarities, there are still some differences between the two terms. Renaud, K & Van Biljon, J (2008) differentiates acceptance from adoption in the context of attitude towards a technology involved while adding that there exist various factors which influences this situation. On insisting their concept, they insisted that, user who has purchased a new technology item has not yet adopted it adding that there are other stages beyond simple purchasing and this is where acceptance takes part. In this case, if the user buys an item and then does not accept it, the full adoption has not occurred.

While several studies have discussed the adoption aspects in the desktop computerized systems, mobile phones are much less studied. The factors which influence users of mobile phones in accepting or rejecting it have not well being explored.

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