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Global Acceptance of Technology (GAT)

Several frameworks exist to try to identify variables accounting for technology diffusion in general, and several have even been specifically adapted to explain mobile service uptake. The growth of such models to analyze mobile technology adoption may reflect the level of uncertainty faced by industry decision-makers in developing investment strategies. Nonetheless there are significant gaps in the explanatory power of most models, especially as they relate to the different adoption rates of innovations across demographic groups in three areas:

1) across national markets or within societies

Some studies attribute varying adoption rates of mobile services to differences in economic performance such as per capital GDP and number of main telephone line per 100 subscribers, or to technological advancement such as the transition from analogue to digital technology. (Gruber & Verboven, 2001). Other models frequently cite the main drivers of growth as national income, competition, and the ubiquity and quality of the fixed network. Economic drivers including income, price and network externalities have also been investigated (Madden, Coble-Neal and Dalzell, 2002). Still others attribute the differing rate of diffusion to the level of privatization, regulatory schemes, and pricing arrangements (Banerjee and Ros, 2002), or to specific characteristics of national markets (Ahn and Lee, 1999).

Although it is suggested that culture is important as a factor for technology adoption, there are few empirical studies to substantiate this idea. Hall (1987) describes different cultural orientations as ?high context? such as Japan and Korea, and others like the United States as ?low context.? Additionally, consumer behavior and cultural factors are identified by Hofstede (1993) as significant elements that determine the adoption of innovations. These theories have not been systematically tested in the realm of mobile data applications, however, where it appears that cultural context as well as government policy and regulation may play strong roles in the diffusion process.

2) Different adoption rates of innovations by the same ethnic groups in different national markets

Cultural and societal influences are increasingly recognized as important variables for understanding technology adoption. Research is still in the exploratory stages; studies have looked at a small number of individual users across several cultures to provide comparative analysis. For example, focus groups, in depth observational studies, diaries, and surveys have been conducted in Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.S. to look at motivations and perceived benefits of using mobile devices and services. However, no studies exist that examine the behavior of mobile users from a single culture when they are re-located to a different country. Investigating the behavior of transplanted technology users could shed light on the importance of contextual factors.

3) Different adoption rates of innovations within the same age groups across different national markets

As prominent and enthusiastic mobile users, teens and younger children have been the subject of many such observational and interview based studies in countries with fast-growing usage such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Japan, and England. Most such studies examine social context to explain the popularity of text-messaging and other communication services with young people. Ito & Okabe, (2005) posit that mobile technologies provide a means for young people to build relationships among one another outside the structure imposed on them by the adult world. Selian, (2004) surveying 189 young people in Boston, Massachusetts finds that young people use their phones enthusiastically for communications with friends and family and entertaining purposes like playing games, and sending pictures, although a main benefit cited is the fact that mobile phones make life easier. Data from the 2003 WMIS survey, shows a correlation between age and type of content, with users over 21 years old more interested in news-related content than under 21 year olds. This finding was true for the U.S. market as well as the Japanese market.

CTM's Global Adoption of Technology Model (GAT)

Our model, the Global Adoption of Technology (GAT), attempts to address the limitations of current models. Specifically, the GAT model incorporates cultural norms, both social and organizational, to a greater degree than the other models. Culture is broadly defined in this study in terms of way of life, and specifically as the learned behaviors, values, and beliefs that a group, or nation share (Rosman & Rubel, 1995). Any group of people or society has a range of individual behaviors, but there are still features of personality that many people share in addition to the norms, language, and their shared historical experiences.

Note: A comprehensive analysis of the variously used models for mobile technology diffusion is extensively discussed in Fife & Pereira, (2005), Pederson (2004), Venkatesh & Morris,, (2003), and Gera & Chen (2003).

For more information on GAT, please contact:


Dr. Francis Pereira
Director of Industry Research