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Title: Technology appropriation awareness and identification
Author: Rodriguez, Liliana
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis presents the results of a research that examines technology appropriation (TA) awareness and identification in digital services start-up companies. Technology appropriation refers to the unexpected ways in which people adopt and adapt technology to make it serve their personal needs and motives. The research questions(Chapter 1) are: (1) How to identify TA within the development of digital services in the context of start-ups? (2) How aware are service providers of the phenomenon of TA? (3)What are the enablers for the appropriation of services by users? To address these questions, the thesis presents in chapter 2 a literature review that illustrates the context of the research, and explains its key concepts: digital services, user involvement in the development of digital services, technology appropriation, and levels of user engagement. Specific research methodological choices as well as specially designed research data collection and analysis tools are subsequently explained in chapter 3. An exploratory study is then introduced in chapter 4 to demonstrate how users can be involved in the development of digital services, evidencing the need for further research in TA. This initial work is concluded in chapter 5 by the introduction of a theoretical framework for TA (TF TA). Chapter 6 outlines the design and planning of the main study consisting of five case studies which provide empirical data for the core findings of this research. A first set of findings deriving from a comparison of TA examples found in the case studies based on the TA three levels proposed framework (TF TA) is presented in chapter 7. A second set of findings presented in chapter 8 helps to respond to the questions: (1) how aware are service providers of the phenomenon of TA, and (2) what are the enablers for the appropriation of services by users? These findings establish the level of TA awareness of each case study, outline the taxonomy of TA service types, and introduce emerging themes resulting from a thematic analysis, which also serves to propose enablers for TA within digital start-ups. Chapter 9 and 10 identifies and presents a third set of findings and contributions to knowledge. Main contributions are: a new tested and revised TA Level Framework created by examining the empirical findings against the TA Theoretical Framework (TA TF). And a new TA Identification Method within the development of digital services in the context of start-ups, underpinned by the tools previously developed in the research. Minor contributions explained in chapter 10 are: A taxonomy of TA services (pro-active/re-active/inactive), an account of the Key Aspects of TA Awareness, a Typology of TA Outcomes (Soft TA, Hard TA, and Hard & Soft), and a revised classification of TA Impact and TA levels. It also comprises an explanation of the relationship of TA Levels & TA Impact, a revised model of the user involvement approach, a new categorisation of TA User Actions (Expected/Engage/TA savvy), and an identification of TA Enablers (User Lead & Service Control). This research has found that the Key Aspects of TA Awareness are TA Concept, Systematic Programme of User Involvement, Mode of User Involvement, Identifying TA Actions, and the TA Enablers (User Lead & Service Control). The research has also found that the users actions and outcomes related to the adoption and adaption the technology, can be classified in High (when the users lead parts of the service), Medium (when the users customised and personalised the service) and Low levels (when the users used the service as intended, but give feedback to the service providers about its used). Additionally, this work has determined that the services and service providers TA Level Awareness is determined by how much they understand and know about TA. This awareness can be classified as proactive (when the service provider understands, identifies, and knowingly foster TA within the service), reactive (when the service provider understands TA in other services but cannot identify TA and reacts to users feedback and TA) and inactive (when the service provider does not recognised and cannot identify TA within the service). This investigation also has established that the aspects of the TA Level Framework can be integrated and employed as a method for TA identification within the services. This study has recognised that TA impact, the extent to which services are employed in the process of appropriation, can be classified as high, medium and low depending on how the service providers change and further develop their service because of their understanding and identification of TA. The enquiry also found that the level of TA impact is different from the TA Level, that the knowledge and awareness of TA impact are underpinned by the user actions and outcomes, as well as by their change and development. Another finding of this research is that the users TA outcomes (this is the tangible consequence of the user adoption and adaptation of technology) can be classified as Soft TA, Hard TA and Soft & Hard TA. Soft TA corresponds to the changes made by users related to the social practices evolution of the service, Hard TA refers to the changes made by the users in the API of the service. Soft & Hard TA relates to the combination of user changes in social aspects and the manipulation of the service s API. The study found that the service providers main approaches to user involvement are: listening to and collaborating, testing and experimenting and active observation. Last, this investigation determined that users actions concerning TA can be expected (users do nothing else other than the expected use of the service), engaged (where users are involved in the development of the service for personal motives) and TA savvy (where users are involved in in the development of the service for personal motives, but they have software and programming skills). The conclusions section summarises the research and explains its limitations. It also presents a personal reflection and indicates avenues for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: AHRC ; Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Technology appropriation ; Digital services ; Start-ups ; Awareness ; Identification ; Service providers