Problematic Mobile Phone Use Conclusion Chapter

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Consumerism

Theoretical Contributions

An Innovative Approach to Problematic Consumption Behaviour

Developing Better Measures

Proposing an Integrated Theoretical Framework for PUMP

Comprehensive Treatment of Negative Consequences

Identifying Motivational Drivers of PUMP

Practical Implications (Policy & Professionals)

Anecdotal Eevidence of Iissue salience

Identifying & protecting vulnerable groups

22A better measure of prevalence

Branding

Regulation

Consumer segmentation

Policy -- Research Implications

Full Model Testing

Confounding variables, Causality

Consumer segmentation

The principle aim of this thesis was to enhance the understanding of the nature, consequences and motivations for the problematic use of mobile phones. The problem is approached drawing upon research and theories from problematic consumption behaviour in the goods sector of the marketplace, which has been hindered by conceptual and definitional issues (Nataraajan & Goff, 1992), and little theoretical guidance with "no established model for researchers to evaluate, distil and refine" (Kellet & Bolton 2009).

To achieve this purpose, the research undertook three chief empirical studies as its main framework. The first study involved the development of a psychometrically valid instrument to measure the problematic behaviour in question, which led to development of a theoretical framework to explain some of the potential, underlying motives for the different dimensions or types of problematic behaviours that were observed. The second study investigated the consequences and outcomes of problematic mobile phone usage, and confirmed that there are different outcomes associated with different behavioural aspects. The third and final study sought to test this theoretical framework by identifying and measuring potential motivations for problematic usage, and relating them to measures of problematic usage. This was done by using a revalidated version of the problematic usage scale.

Therefore this chapter proceeds in the following way. First, it will briefly review the rationale for this thesis based on limitations of the current literature on problematic consumption, and how this thesis addressed these limitations. Next, it will summarise the main findings and conclusions of each empirical chapter, which will then integrate to identify the overall implications of the thesis for the original literature, future theory and research into problematic consumption of intangible goods and services as well as some of the practical implications. This chapter will conclude with consideration of some of the limitations of the present research and how these might be addressed in future.

2. Rationale

This research began by getting acquainted with the theoretical concepts attached to problematic consumption behaviour and their implications in the increasingly technologically-driven, consumer market. Historically consumption behaviour has been viewed as a rational choice process, with less attention paid to those whose consumption patterns falling outside this framework (Faber, O'Guinn and Krych 1987; Edwards 1993; Koran, Faber, Aboujaoude, Large, and Serpe 2006). Through this research, an attempt has been made to explore the past research and findings on the problematic consumption behaviour and tailor it towards service offerings. In this paper, different measurement tools have been developed in order to evaluate the problematic use of mobile phones supported by a comprehensive literature review on related consumption behaviour.

After reviewing the literature on consumption behaviour and critically analysing it, the most important thing which came to the forefront was that most of the researchers do not agree with the findings and conclusions drawn by others. Instead, each of them has presented their own findings with a quite different point-of-view (Weinberg and Gottwald 1982; Rook and Hoch 1985; Rook 1987; Verplanken and Herabadi 2001). Some of the researchers used variables that were not essentially expressing the consumption behaviour by itself. The research under discussion also aims to cover the limitations of the previous researches and presents a comprehensive conclusion on what constitutes a problematic mobile phone use and how can it be measured in an efficient and theoretically-based way.

This research explored the theories associated with three major streams of problematic consumption behaviour - impulsive buying, compulsive buying, and behavioural addiction. For instance, some theories only focus on the impulsive buying behaviour while others discuss the compulsive or intentional behaviour (Valence, d'Astous, and Fortier, 1988). However, there are some researches that focus on a very general or broad a pattern of consumption behaviour in daily life and take into account many factors at the same time (e.g., Hirschman 1992; Bartra 2004). The present literature is full of those researches that are not even comparable to each other despite having a common area of discussion (e.g. Dittmar, Beattie and Friese, 1996; Friese, 2000; Rodriguez-Villarino et al. 2006). This denotes an attempt of researchers to present a unique and distinct work apart from other researchers [Faber, O'Guinn, and Krych (1987), Faber and O'Guinn (1988; 1989; 1989; 1992)]. But this research work aims to explore the overall consumption behaviour related directly to problematic use of mobile phones. It does not only discuss the literature review in a munificent way, but also keeps its pure focus on the behavioural measurement of problematic mobile use, using different tools and techniques.

It is also different from previous research in that it has not explored a wide range of unassimilated variables that could impact the problematic use of mobile phones. Rather, it has used the EFA, CFA and SEM to validate the scale with only the most significant and meaningful variables. Using these measurement tools, it has conceptualized and operationalized the problematic use of mobile phones in a more conclusive way instead of discursive way. The rationale behind this research approach was to identify the core findings of the researches already made on the consumption behaviour, the limitations, and contributions to the literature as well add some solid findings to the existing literature.

Previous research has related problematic behaviour of mobile phones to dependence and excessive usage (e.g. Bianchi and Phillips, 2005). This clinical approach to problematic mobile phone use suggests that individual factors first persuade the users to start using a mobile phone; then they become addicted, recognize the problem and consequences associated with its usage; and then eventually stop. But the implications of these findings become invalid when a person uses their mobile phone as a necessity of life. This research addresses the limitation of this previous research by developing a measure that is broader and more comprehensive in addressing problematic mobile use. Other research on problematic mobile phones discusses it in the context of the consequences it has created for youth (Walsh, White & Young, 2007) or females (Toda et al., 2004, 2008). But the findings of this new research will have implications for all age groups.

The major benefits of mobile phone usage include real time communication (Power and Horstmanshof, 2004), highly reliable mode of connectivity, easy and safe way to transmit instant messages to any one sitting in any part of the world (Chapman and Schofield 1998; Tjong, Weber and Sternberg, 2003), and one of the most advanced developments in the field of information technology (Power and Power 2004). In contrast to these benefits, mobile phone use can also result in unwanted and harmful outcomes such as excessive day and night usage (Communication Law Centre 1999; Wilska 2002; Bianchi and Phillips 2005; Walsh and White 2006). The youth generation in particular has become lost in the world of communication and entertainment services that come from mobile phones (Young 1996, 2004; LaRose and Eastin 2002; LaRose et al. 2003; Young 2004). A rapidly growing body of research is documenting the negative impact of mobile phone usage on studies, relationships, routine activities, and health.

Studies on problematic usage of mobile phones are less bountiful, but research trends appear that one of the major issues of the 21st century will be the perspective of drawbacks from information technology (Young 1996, 2004; LaRose and Eastin 2002; LaRose et al. 2003; Young 2004). Broadly, mobile phone usage falls in the category of services that are not consumable or touchable, but consumption behaviour theories apply to these services to a very large extent (Zeithaml and Bitner 2000; Lovelock et al. 2001). The conceptual framework of this research is prepared by keeping in view that consumption behaviour occurs within the services sector of the marketplace. As such, mobile phone services are excluded from some consumption behaviour characteristics associated with tangible products. For example these cannot be stored, accumulated, or possessed physically. The only thing that matters is the span of time for which a person uses the mobile phone services (Walsh and White 2006). The many studies into mobile phones with regards to technology adoption and diffusion are not balanced in regards to their problematic use. Too long we have focused on the technology, and not enough time has been directed to the 'rules of engagement' and making consumers more aware of the potential harm that exists.

3. Findings

After a deep review of the literature, consumption behaviour theories, and concepts, the research work started with the development of a scale for the problematic use of mobile phones (PUMP). Next a theoretical framework was proposed to interpret the validity of this research topic. Also, a scale was developed to measure the negative consequences of the same. Finally, motivations were selected and analysed in… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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