Impact of community sense on technology adoption


Community sense may have an impact on technology adoption as suggested by many studies (Kijsanayotin et al. 2009). Strong links within a community increase the propensity of its members to adopt a technology that is used by the rest of the community. This works especially for communication technologies such as mobile phones and smartphones (Nakamura & Chow- White 2012). It is also strongly verified for social media adoption and use, as noted by the Pew Research Centre, finding that adults in emerging and developing countries are more likely to use them than adults in rich and developed countries where community ties tend to be weaker (Perrin 2015). Tandoc and Takashi found similar results about Philippines citizens, and stated that: "A plausible reason for social media's popularity in the Philippines is the country's geographical and population profile. The population is dispersed in islands separated by bodies of water, and more than 10% of the population works outside the Philippines. In a country marked by close family ties, social media offer a platform to maintain communication between family members, geographical boundaries notwithstanding" (Tandoc & Takahashi 2016). This demonstrates the importance of community ties in the adoption and use of technologies. In Hofstede's classification (Hofstede 2016), the IC indicator (individualism/collectivism) represents the degree to which the individual prioritizes its own needs over the group needs. Lee et al. (2012) found that, in individualistic societies, people tend to seek for information about a new technology by themselves. They are motivated by an innovation factor. On the contrary, in collectivist societies imitation plays a more important role in technology adoption and people rely more on others' opinion. The authors also asserted that low uncertainty avoidance and short-term orientation are significantly correlated with a stronger propensity to adopt technologies in an innovative rather than imitative way. Thus, depending on the type of society technology adoption may be influenced strongly by social norms or by individual recommendations (Fraustino et al. 2012). To summarize, cultural factors, as numerous as they are, are influencing technology adoption and usage in normal times in a strong and complex way (Lee et al. 2012). The familiarity principle implies that people use a technology during a disaster because they are used to it and because they use it during non-crisis time. This seems corroborated by an American Red Cross's study recorded that one in six people from the general population (as opposed to the online population) used social media to get information on a disaster. The age and gender differences in uses corresponded mostly to the differences in uses in general due to the digital divide (American Red Cross 2011). In case of disaster the familiarity principle will be prevalent. This does not imply that it is easy to predict which technology will be specifically used during a disaster. Marketing researchers have found that technology adoption predictions are hazardous, especially because the use of the same tool may vary a lot. However, the observations and literature have found that mobile phones and now smartphones are largely used (and useful) tools during a disaster.

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