Adoption of mobile technology in business: a fit‐viability model

Date02 October 2007
Publication Date02 October 2007
AuthorTing‐Peng Liang,Chen‐Wei Huang,Yi‐Hsuan Yeh,Binshan Lin
SubjectEconomics,Information & knowledge management,Management science & operations
Adoption of mobile technology in
business: a fit-viability model
Ting-Peng Liang, Chen-Wei Huang and Yi-Hsuan Yeh
Department of Information Management, National Sun Yat-sen University,
Kaohsiung, Taiwan and
Binshan Lin
Department of Management and Marketing,
Louisiana State University-Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Purpose This paper aims to study the adoption of mobile technology in business and its
determinants. A diagnostic tool for proper adoption of mobile technology is developed.
Design/methodology/approach Grounded on the fit-viability framework, the paper uses a
multi-case study via the fit and viability dimensions to examine the success or failure of mobile
technology applications in business.
Findings – By drawing upon multiple streams of theory building, the paper is able to develop a set of
measurement instruments to assess the fit and viability in adopting mobile technology. The findings
demonstrate that the fit-viability model (FVM) provides useful guidelines for enterprises in their
decisions on whether to adopt a mobile technology.
Research limitations/implications First, the theoretical generalizability of the FVM needs to be
more carefully observed in future studies. Second, the findings are exploratory and more extensive
studies may be necessary.
Practical implications – Chief information officers and managers can use the developed
instrument to measure the fitness and viability of implementing mobile technology in
organizations. This should be able to increase the possibility of success.
Originality/value – This is one of the first papers to combine the fit and viability aspects and to
empirically demonstrate the value of this two-dimensional model.
Keywords Mobile communication systems, Transaction costs
Paper type Research paper
Mobile commerce is viewed as the next generation e-commerce. It refers to any
transactions, eith er direct or indirect, v ia mobile devices, such a s phones or personal dig ital
assistants (PDAs). The most significant features of mobile technology are mobility and
portability.The ability to access servicesubiquitously, on the move,and through wireless
networks and various devices. To date, mobile technologies have been applied to
consumer-oriented areas,and most applications focuson voice communicationrather than
wireless data transformation. Large-scale usages are still scare in the business world
(Gebauerand Shaw, 2004). Althoughthere is a generalnotion in which mobiletechnologies
could be applied in business, very little has been done in exploring how to enhance
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
This research was partially supported by grants from the National Science Council under
contract No. 93-2416-H110-006 and from the Ministry of Education under the project of
Universities Pursuing Research Excellence.
Industrial Management & Data
Vol. 107 No. 8, 2007
pp. 1154-1169
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/02635570710822796
business processes, what the implications of mobile technologies are, or what critical
factors affect thesuccess or failure of mobile technologyapplications.
Adopting mobile technology may create two kinds of impacts on business operations.
The first is to facilitate communication among employee, customer and supplier.
Through the enhancement of communicating efficiency and information timeliness,
mobile technology can increase organizational productivity and profitability. The
second is to re-vitalize business processes through changing data access patterns. For
example, insurance agents are able to use mobile technology to provide timely services.
Quite a few studies on the application of mobile technology have been published
(Matskin and Tveit, 2001; Lee and Ke, 2001; Kannan et al., 2001; Balasubramanian et al.,
2002). Most of them focused on exploring the effect of short massage advertising (Tsang
et al., 2004), investigating how to design a proper mobile device, how to enhance the
accuracy of contents of short massage via information technology (IT), and how to add
value into products and service (Raisinghani, 2001; Varshney, 2003; Tarasewich et al., 2002;
Varshney and Vetter, 2002). Few have studied how a company decides on adopting mobile
technology and what factors affect the success or failure of adopting mobile technology.
In an early work, Liang and Wei (2004) proposed a fit-viability model (FVM) that
combines the theory of task/technology fit with the general notion of organizational
viability of IT. In their research, a two-dimensional matrix that includes fit and
viability as its frames was used to assess the likelihood of successful applications.
This conceptual model provides a useful guide for further elaboration and eval uation
of a general framework for successful technology adoption.
The purpose of this study is two-fold. First, we would like to extend the conceptual
model and develop operable instruments for using the FVM. Second, we would like to
evaluate the model and examine factors that may lead to successful adoption of mobile
In the remainder of this paper, extant literature is reviewed to identify factors that
may affect the adoption of mobile technology in business. We then describe a
multi-case study to examine the relationship between fit, viability and performance.
Finally, research findings are reported. Our results show that the FVM can indeed help
organization evaluate whether it is advantageous to adopt mobile technologies.
Literature reviews
Many different definitions of mobile commerce exist in the literature (Turel and Yuan,
2006), but these usually refer to e-commerce activities via mobile devices such as
mobile phones and PDA. Mobility and reachability are two main characteristics of
m-commerce (Liang, 2002). Compared with traditional e-commerce, transactions are
generally conducted through personal computers (PCs) and laptops. M-commerce
applications provide the potential with more freedom for organizations and use rs to
perform various commerce-related tasks without the limitation of time and location
(available anytime from anywhere). In addition, the economic value (Figure 1)
contributed from m-commerce is more than that from e-commerce, such as product and
service localization, personalization, ubiquity enhancement, instant connectivity and
convenience (Forrester Research, 2000; Siau et al., 2001).
Khalifa and Cheng(2002) investigated the role of exposureto mobile technology in the
adoption of mobile commerce. Exposures such as trials of new devices, communication,
in business

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