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In touch out in the field. Coalescence and interactive innovation of technology for mobile work.

Kietzmann, Jan Henrik (2007) In touch out in the field. Coalescence and interactive innovation of technology for mobile work. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Today, more than 90% of Britons own a mobile phone handset. Yet, the popularity of mobile telephony is a fairly recent phenomenon, with the first mobile phone call in the UK made only 21 years ago. Mobile technology has come a long way since the first mobile call that was made from St Katherine's dock to Vodafone's head office in Newbury. Many interesting mobile computing technologies have surfaced, including pagers, laptop computers, tablet PCs and Blackberries, constantly offering altogether new communicative acts to mobile workers. Innovation of mobile information systems, too, has changed quite dramatically over this time period. What was once an industry marked by low competition and high profit margins for devices developed purely by Research and Development departments now increasingly involves, even requires, the interaction with users for the innovation of new mobile devices in highly competitive environments. Despite the increasing popularity of mobile technologies, the concept of mobility and the innovation of mobile information systems remain largely unexplored. This study takes up the challenge to examine how innovation of mobile technology unfolds today. With this focus, this research explores the relationships between innovators of technology for mobile work and its users. It departs from the prevalent product- oriented view of innovation and treats technology in the making as a conscious human activity, made possible through the trinity of innovator companies, their organisational clients as innovation partners and their particular mobile workers as end users of the technology. This study examines the complex interaction and coalescence of these parties as shaped by their respective organisational activities, their unique motives for cooperation with one another, their use of technology and their relationship to the geographical mobility and distribution of work. From the outset, this study was committed to providing a rigorous examination grounded in actual work. As an Action Researcher, I was very fortunate to be invited to follow the innovation and development of a fundamentally new mobile information system, based on the convergence of mobile telephony and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The empirical work and theoretical analysis emphasised the epistemological differences among innovation participants and unearthed many complications that shape how interactive innovation of technology for mobile work unfolds. Moreover, the analysis of the empirical work led to the conceptual difference between mobility and pervasiveness of work as it pertains to innovation. It revealed Individual Pervasiveness, or the extent to which an individual's technology is aware of its immediate context and communicates details of its bearer and his behaviour. It also uncovered a Pervasive Order, imposed from superior to mobile worker and made possible in this case through mobile RFID. Together, these two concepts fundamentally change the information flow within mobile work activities. The trajectory from mobility to pervasiveness dramatically reshapes the activities of mobile workers and their superiors and, thus, the activity of interactive innovation of technology for mobile work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information Technology
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Information Systems and Innovation Group

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