Contribution to Quality of Life: A New Outcome Variable for Mobile Data Service *

By Choi, Hun; Lee, Minkyung et al. | Journal of the Association for Information Systems, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Contribution to Quality of Life: A New Outcome Variable for Mobile Data Service *


Choi, Hun, Lee, Minkyung, Im, Kun Shin, Kim, Jinwoo, Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Abstract

The rapid spread of technological innovations like mobile data services (MDS) has made mobile computing a fact of everyday life for many people. Therefore, we need to understand the contribution of mobile computing to overall quality of life (QoL). Employing the satisfaction hierarchy model and bottom-up spillover theory, this study proposes a theoretical model in the context of MDS that connects user satisfaction (a traditional outcome variable of IT) with contribution to QoL (a new outcome variable for mobile computing) in a range of life domains. The validity of the proposed model and outcome variable was tested through three empirical studies conducted in Korea. User satisfaction with MDS was found to affect the contribution of MDS to QoL in eleven life domains, and these contributions in turn influenced the overall contribution of MDS to QoL. The paper ends with a discussion of the study's implications and limitations.

Keywords: Quality of Life, Mobile Data Services, Contribution to Quality of Life, Life Domain, Online Survey

1. Introduction

Mobile computing is the use of portable computing devices either in transit or from a remote location (Lyytinen and Yoo, 2002). A mobile computing environment composed of multiple small devices, such as PDAs and mobile phones, allows users to download files or to access information anywhere and at any time. Mobile computing is rapidly becoming popular worldwide as computer networking, light-weight computing devices, and wireless communication become less expensive and more efficient. One widely dispersed component of mobile computing is mobile data services (MDS).

MDS can be conceptualized in two ways. The first is a rather broad view, where MDS refers to the convergence of mobile communications and the Internet (ITU, 2002), and thus includes any access to the Internet through wireless connections (e.g., Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WiMax, WiBro). The second conceptualization, a narrower view, refers specifically to data services accessed through a mobile communication network (e.g., CDMA, TDMA, GPRS, GSM) that connect users with each other and with commercial providers in various ways. For instance, users exchange pictures and e-mail, check bus schedules, reserve movie tickets, and play online games (Hong and Tam, 2006). Our study adopts the narrow definition, confining itself to MDS accessed via cellular phones. By the end of 2005, the total population of MDS users, thus construed, was estimated at 2.129 billion. The number is expected to increase to 3.964 billion by the end of 2011 (Portio-Research, 2006).

Traditional IT devices are generally used in a certain place and for a certain purpose. A PC connected to the Internet is used mostly at home or in a business setting, a digital TV system mostly at home for entertainment (Kim, 2002). MDS, however, are used for diverse purposes and can be used in any place and at any time (Hong and Tam, 2006). A portable multimedia player, for instance, can be used for entertainment (e.g., watching music videos) as easily as for utilitarian purposes (e.g., studying a foreign language). In a mobile computing environment, the system is usually embedded in the user's life, and its tasks and system configurations change ceaselessly (Norman, 1998). Not surprisingly, users in such an environment exhibit usage patterns radically different from those of traditional IT users (Tamminen et al., 2004).

The performance of a traditional information system (IS) is usually measured in terms of how effective it is at achieving specific goals (e.g., Gefen et al., (2003)) or how satisfying it is to use for particular tasks (e.g., Bhattacherjee and Premkumar (2004)). In other words, the outcome variables of traditional IS studies focus mainly on systems and tasks in themselves. Similarly, prior studies of mobile computing have employed satisfaction (Choi et al., 2005) and intention to use (Yang, 2005) to investigate the impact of mobile computing technologies. …

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