Toward a theory of adoption of mobile technology devices: An ecological shift in life-worlds



Date of this version


Document Type



adoption of innovation; communications technology; diffusion of innovation; mobile technology; qualitative methodology, Grounded Theory


Historically, new product adoption literature has viewed consumers’ adoption of innovations as a decidedly utilitarian, seemingly deterministic, and often narrowly prescribed “event.” However, upon closer empirical examination of their interaction with highly popular mobile technology devices (i.e. smartphones), consumers do not appear to merely “adopt” these innovative products, but rather come to live with them over time. This transitioning process occurs in an erratic, sporadic, nonlinear fashion that ultimately leads to a profound “ecological” transformation of their life-worlds. Thus, the devices are not just an additive product acquisition, but a totalizing experience. Through the discovery-oriented methodology of grounded theory, the life-worlds of 20 “majority market” technology consumers were explored, with a particular focus on their interaction with and acceptance of mobile technology devices. Reaching beyond the purview of a single literature base, the results of their social-psychological experiences are understood through the broader theoretical frameworks of consumer behavior/psychology, media ecology, sociology and anthropology of technology.

Published in

Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Citation/Other Information

C. Scott Rader, Roger Brooksbank, Zahed Subhan , Clinton D. Lanier, Jr., Daniel Flint, and Nadja Vorontsova (2016), “Toward a Theory of Adoption of Mobile Technology Devices: An Ecological Shift in Life-Worlds,” Academy of Marketing Studies Journal , 20 (3): 38-61.