Personality and ICT Adoption: The Call for More Research

Personality and ICT Adoption: The Call for More Research

Idongesit Williams (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7068-4.ch006


Globally, the gender gap still exists. An interesting reason for this is the passive usage or non-adoption of ICT by women who have access to ICTs and can also afford ICTs. In order to understand this phenomenon, an exploratory research was conducted to identify why women adopt current ICTs. The most used ICTs are social media platforms and mobile internet services. An exploratory study was conducted to observe four women: three from South America and one from the Middle East who subscribe to WhatsApp. The major outcome was the plausible influence of a woman's personality on her usage of WhatsApp. The women with high extroversion used social media and mobile phones more than women at the opposite end of the spectrum. The women with very low extroversion almost rejected social media platforms and recorded low mobile phone usage. This implies that women with very low extroversion may not find ICTs appealing. Based on these outcomes, the chapter advocates for a more concrete research to understanding this trend.
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This chapter presents an argument for research into the influence of an individual’s personality on their decision to adopt an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) technology or services. There is a spectral divergence, when one discusses ICT technology and services. So to narrow the scope of discussion in this chapter, social media platform is chosen as a representative ICT service. This argument is anchored on the idea that the personality of individual female potential ICT users could be enabling the gender divide. Specifically, the gender divide in the adoption of Internet technologies and services. These ideas are inspired from two sources. The first source being a surprise finding from another study aimed at understanding the motivations for using WhatsApp, social media platform and mobile internet. The surprise finding, which is presented in this chapter indicates the plausibility of a female’s personality towards the adoption or rejection of social media platforms. The second source of inspiration for the idea was based on a study from GSM Association (GSMA) which indicated that gender gap in mobile internet adoption exist in urban areas in some urban areas in Asia, Africa and Latin America (Rowntree, 2018). It is common knowledge that Internet networks are available and accessible in urban areas compared to rural areas (See Williams, 2016; Williams, 2015). In most urban areas, more than 50% of the residents can afford mobile telephone and mobile internet services. However, there are men and women in urban areas in developing countries who neither adopt mobile phone nor mobile internet services (see Wanga, 2016). And report from GSMA indicates that this trend exists in developing countries (see Rowntree, 2018). Even in this circumstances, the number of men refraining from adopting these services are less than women. If we juxtapose both inspirations, among other factors, the personality of an individual could be identified as an important influencing variable, which could be enhancing the gender divide.

The global gender divide in the adoption of ICTs still exists. More men adopt ICT globally and specifically, social media than women (see Fatehkia, Kashyap, & Weber, 2018; ITU, 2017). This is one of the reasons, social media was chosen for making the argument in this chapter. It is believed that women are more social than men and are most likely to adopt social media platforms (see Rowntree, 2018). This is evident in developed countries than in developing countries (Pew Research, 2017). However, there is no statistic at the moment that indicates that 100% of females, 18 years and older in developed countries, use social media platforms. This implies that among other factors, personality could influence their adoption or otherwise of social media platforms. This could also be the case with respect to the adoption of other ICT. On the surface, the problem can be thought to be attitudinal. However, attitude can be influenced by a lot of factors including the individual’s personality (see Dong & Sivakumar, 2017).

To guide the argument, this chapter is steered by two questions. The first being an overarching question and the second being a chapter specific question. The overarching question is “How does an individual’s personality characteristic affect the actual adoption of an ICT technology or service?” The chapter specific question is “How does an individual’s personality characteristic affect the actual adoption of a social media platform?” The answers provided in this chapter are based on literature which is supplemented by surprise finding. The surprise finding from the female respondent was explored using thematic analysis, guided by the Five-Factor model. There were 4 female respondents among the numerous responses from male respondents. This chapter is developed from the interpretivist worldview. The chapter is divided into 7 sections. The first section is this section, the introduction. The next section provides a background on the existence and reason for the gender gap on social media platform. The section also explains the rationale for investigating the correlation between personality and social media platform adoption. The following section provides the conceptual framework for analysing the relationship between personality and social media adoption. This section is followed by the methodology, findings, discussion and conclusion.

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