The influence of smartphones on academic performance. The development of the technology-to-performance chain model

Date19 September 2016
Published date19 September 2016
AuthorYong Jeong Yi,Soeun You,Beom Jun Bae
The influence of smartphones
on academic performance
The development of the
technology-to-performance chain model
Yong Jeong Yi
Department of Library and Information Science, Sungkyunkwan University,
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Soeun You
MBNA School of Business and Accounting,
Wesley College, Dover, Delaware, USA, and
Beom Jun Bae
Department of Communication Arts,
Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, USA
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the factors that influence college students
smartphone use for academic purposes by identifying the task-technology fit (TTF) of smartphones.
A research model is proposed to explain how TTF of smartphones affects college studentsperceived
academic performance and smartphone use.
Design/methodology/approach Online surveys were administered to college students at a South
Korean university that has offered online academic services for more than five years, and 1,923 valid
responses were analyzed. The study used partial least squares path modeling to evaluate the
measurement model, and the bootstrapping technique to test the significance of the hypotheses.
Findings The findings highlight that the TTF of smartphones has a direct influence on students
perceptions of performance impact and an indirect influence on smartphone use through a precursor of
utilization, such as attitude toward smartphone use, social norms and facilitating conditions.
Research limitations/implications Despite a reasonably large sample, a single cross-sectional
survey has a likelihood of selection bias in the sample.
Practical implications This studyapplies the TTFmodel to smartphoneuse among college students
and suggestsan effective way to motivate them to use mobile technologies for theiracademic activities.
Originality/value The present study develops an empirical model to assess the adoption of
smartphones and itseffect on college studentsacademic performance. Above all, the study identifies a
causal relationship among TTF, precursor of utilization, smartphone use and a perceived impact on
academic performancebased on the development and validation of the TTF constructsof smartphones.
Keywords Information technology, Higher education, Academic libraries, Communications technology,
Digital libraries, Learning methods
Paper type Research paper
Since the launch of iPhone in 2007, the adoption rate of smartphones has increased rapidly.
According to the Pew Research Center (Smith, 2015), 64 percent of people in the USA had
adopted smartphones in 2015. In particular, in South Korea, the adoption rate of
Library Hi Tech
Vol. 34 No. 3, 2016
pp. 480-499
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/LHT-04-2016-0038
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This paper was supported by Sungkyun Research Fund, Sungkyunkwan University, 2014. The
authors would like to thank Dr Inchol Shin, Research Assistant Professor of the Institute for Social
Development and Policy Research at the Seoul National University for his assistance of data analysis.
smartphones was as high as 73 percent, which ranked second in the world (Google, 2015),
and 98.8 percent of college students use their smartphones for an average of 2 hours and
20 minutes a day ( Joo, 2015). Smartphones support a variety of functions that were once
only available on computers, including easy access to the internet, and now serve as a
convenient form of communication or interaction that is not provided by traditional cellular
phones. E-learning, online lectures and digital library services are offered through mobile
technologies in higher education, which has led college students to value smartphones
when seeking information related to their academic tasks (Gikas and Grant, 2013).
Most current collegestudents are of the digital generation and are surroundedby and
use information and communication technology (ICT) in their everyday life and school
activities (DAmbra et al., 2013). ICT, such as personal computers, wireless internet and
mobile devices,has deeply penetrated their lives. In their academic environment, ICThas
become a necessity for e-learning and web-based instruction, digital libraries and
research tools, and computer-mediated student-professor interaction.
According to previous research (Dahlstrom and Bichsel, 2014; Head and Eisenberg,
2009), college students tend to use only one or two ICT devices, mainly cellular phones and
personal laptop computers, in support of academic course work and communication.
Recently, college students have taken advantage of smartphones in their academic learning
(Joneset al., 2008), despite the limitations of these devices, such as their inadequate battery
life, slow network connections, device usability concerns, and discouragement of
smartphone use in the classroom to limit distractions (Gikas and Grant, 2013).
There havebeen many studies that discuss factorsor motivations for theadoption and
use of smartphones (Cheon et al., 2012; Chun et al., 2012; Joo and Sang, 2013; Lee, 2014;
Lopez and Yang, 2014; Park and Chen, 2007). Most studies have focussed on the use of
smartphonesin everyday life, whereas a few studies have identified the users perception
of using smartphones for learning purposes or their behavior in seeking particular
information (Gikas and Grant, 2013; Joo and Sang, 2013; Park et al., 2013). Little research
has addressed the roles of smartphones in academic learning contexts to understand how
smartphones assist studentsacademic tasks, which specific features affect their use of
smartphones, and how smartphones influence their academic performance.
The present study, therefore, aims to understand the impact of smartphones on
studentsacademic performance. The study was developed based on Goodhue and
Thompsons (1995) technology-to-performance chain (TPC) model to identify the task-
technology fit (TTF) of smartphones. Based on the test results of TTF, the study
investigates the effects of TTF on college studentssmartphone use and perceived
academic performances. Specifically, the study attempts to analyze the relationships
among the following variables: TTF, precursor of utilization, utilization and perceived
impact on academic performance. Guided by the reduced TPC model, the present study
addresses the research questions as follows:
RQ1. What factors motivate college students to use smartphones in the academic
RQ2. How does the TTF of smartphones influence studentssmartphone use and
perceived impact on academic performance?
Conceptual framework and hypotheses
Smartphone adoption
Most smartphone adoption studies employ attitude and behavioral theories, technology
acceptance model (TAM) (Davis, 1989) or TAM in combination with other models, such as
Influence of
on academic

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