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Mobile Devices in Social Contexts

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The development of mobile devices has occurred with unprecedented pace since the latenineties, and the increase of generic services has proliferated in most developedcountries, driven by the expanding technological capabilities and performance of mobileplatforms. This dissertation investigates how consumer objectives, orientation, andbehavior can aid in explaining the adoption and use of a new type of mobile devices:“app phones”. This dissertation focuses its effort on two focal influences of adoption anduse; social influences and competing forces. Through a qualitative case study and fieldstudy this dissertation explores early adoption and use of iPhones. The case study is aone-shot cross-sectional case study that investigates five individuals, related through thesame social network, and their decision to adopt an iPhone prior to its release inDenmark. This adoption decision engenders high switching costs as adopters lackreferences to imitate and need skills to unlock and jailbreak their iPhones to make themwork on Danish networks. The specific purpose of the case study is to explore how socialinfluences impact mobile users’ early adoption decisions, as it is well known in theliterature that people with similar characteristics, tastes, and beliefs often associate in thesame social networks and, hence, influence each other. The field study is cross-sectionalwith multiple snapshots and explores fifteen individuals part of the same university study,who receives an iPhone for a period of seven months short after its release in Denmark.The specific purpose of the field study is to explore how competing forces of iPhoneusage influence assimilation, i.e. the degree to which the iPhone is used, over time. Thedissertation, furthermore, contains a systematic literature review. The main contributionof this dissertation is reported through four articles and is directed at both academicresearchers and practitioners. The study emphasizes the importance of social influencesand competing forces in the investigation of adoption and use of certain mobile devices.

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Heidi Tscherning

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