The fit of mobile work support functions with mobile sales-force worker tasks

Lembach, Markus (2012) The fit of mobile work support functions with mobile sales-force worker tasks. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

In recent years, mobile computing technologies (MCT) have developed and matured to a stage where they now have the potential to transform organisational work. However, the wide-spread diffusion of innovative MCT within pharmaceutical companies in Germany has still not taken place. This research seeks to provide an in-depth understanding of how MCT fits with pharmaceutical sales-force work and whether MCT can add value to their relationship with physicians.
The purpose of this research is to investigate (1) how and to what extent are specific mobile work support functions enabled by MCT perceived to be useful with pharmaceutical sales-force worker tasks, (2) to what extent is perceived usefulness influenced by individual sales-force worker characteristics, (3) to what extent does perceived usefulness and intention to use mobile work support functions influence sales-force worker performance and (4) does the perceived degree of innovativeness of mobile work support functions moderate the relationship between perceived usefulness and intention to use and the relationship between perceived usefulness and perceived impact on mobile work performance of mobile work support functions.
Drawing on task-technology fit (TTF) and technology acceptance model (TAM) theory, this study used two research phases and a mixed methodological approach to conduct an in-depth case study of the German division of a large pharmaceutical company. The first research phase collected primarily qualitative data using semi-structured interviews to determine how and why specific mobile work support functions are perceived to be useful with pharmaceutical sales-force worker tasks. The first research phase informed the second research phase by providing support for the conceptual model proposed for this research and assisted in the refinement of the online survey instrument in the context of the case study organisation by developing real-life usage scenarios for each of mobile work support functions investigated. The second research phase collected quantitative data to validate and test the research's conceptual model. Thereby, the second research phase sought to determine to what extent there is a perceived fit between sales-force worker tasksand mobile work support functions and to what extent this fit and individual characteristics of sales-force workers influence sales-force worker performance and intention to use mobile work support functions.
The research findings indicate that except for mobile job scheduling and dispatching functionalities, all mobile work support functions investigated in this research were considered to be moderately useful and innovative. Moreover, mobile work support functions are perceived to accelerate communication, improve information delivery, reduce paper-based work, reduce double-handling of data entries, improve preparation for ad-hoc sales calls and facilitate a more efficient usage of dead times. However, MCT might be also misused as a control tool, might reduce work autonomy and might increase workload and stress. Regarding the task characteristics investigated in this research, time criticality and location dependence of mobile sales-force workers positively affect perceived usefulness of mobile work support functions. Furthermore, this study confirmed the relationships established by TTF theory as the research results indicate that perceived usefulness of mobile work support functions positively affects intention to use and perceived impact on mobile work performance of mobile work support functions. In addition, no moderating effect of the perceived degree of innovativeness could be determined for both the influence of perceived usefulness on intention to use and the influence of perceived usefulness on perceived impact on mobile work performance. Lastly, this study revealed that differences across job roles, across length of tenure and across business units affect perceived usefulness of mobile work support functions - but not across gender.
This study contributes to theory by examining the impact of individual characteristics on perceived usefulness of mobile applications, by conducting a large-scale test of the TTF model for mobile technologies at the operational level, by adding contextual extensions to the TTF model and by examining the link between sales technology and sales-force worker performance using TTF theory. The study contributed to practice by establishing a generalisable model that is not tied to pharmaceutical sales-force work and can be retested in a different industry setting. The scope of this research is limited to in-depth research conducted in a single-case organisation focusing on pharmaceutical sales-force work in Germany. This research provides a unique opportunity often not available to researchers to conduct an in-depth test of the proposed research model within a large organisation. Future research should retest the research model empirically validated and tested in this study in other contexts and industries to analyse the impact of the perceived degree of innovativeness on intention to use and perceived impact on mobile work performance. In addition, the research model should be retested with more recent and advanced MCT and particularly the use of 'mobile apps' and tablet PCs (e.g., iPads/android tablets) and their potential impact on work performance.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) (Research) thesis
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Information Systems
Supervisors: Lane, Michael; Cater-Steel, Aileen
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2013 05:33
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2016 01:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: mobile computing technologies; pharmaceutical sales-force; germany; support functions; mobile work performance
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150311 Organisational Behaviour
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150307 Innovation and Technology Management
10 Technology > 1005 Communications Technologies > 100599 Communications Technologies not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8903 Information Services > 890301 Electronic Information Storage and Retrieval Services
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/23419

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