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Title: Backpackers' perceptions of risk towards smartphone usage and risk reduction strategies, Ghana
Author: Dayour, F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 5582
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2018
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The tourism literature is replete with evidence about the indispensability of mobile technology and the Internet among backpackers – reshaping their travel ideology and enhancing experiences. The smartphone and other electronic devices in particular have become ‘travel companions’ – permitting virtual networking and innovativeness on the road. However, the users of mobile devices often become susceptible not only to security and privacy risks but also challenges with evaluating products and services online in advance of purchases. In spite of the evidence that backpackers do have risk concerns during travel, especially at the destination of visit than before, it is surprising that efforts to understand their risk concerns towards smartphone usage has up till now been neglected by tourism researchers. Backpackers’ distinctiveness to mainstream travellers in terms of their youthfulness, individuality and flexibility, suggest that the experiences with their smartphones would be different as would their risk perceptions. Besides, past studies in tourism have been overly focussed on understanding risk regarding the use of information technology – overlooking situational factors – that reflect the context (such as the destination) in which smartphones are being used. Furthermore, there is a paucity of information on personal risk reduction strategies adopted by mobile users during travel. Therefore, this study aims to explore backpackers’ risk perceptions towards smartphone usage vis-à-vis information technology risks and destination related risks and to identify the antecedents and outcomes of their perceived risk, as well as risk reduction strategies. Employing a quantitative-dominant concurrent embedded mixed methods research design, data were collected in Ghana using a structured questionnaire and a semi-structured interview guide. A survey involving 567 backpackers and in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 15 respondents were conducted. Quantitative data was collected on risk perceptions, as well as antecedents and outcomes and analysed using SPSS 22, AMOS 22, and SmartPLS 3.0. The qualitative data, which also addressed their risk perceptions and especially risk reduction strategies was analysed thematically using both the deductive and inductive coding techniques. This study inimitably proposed an integrative model of backpackers’ risk perceptions towards smartphone usage by combining information technology and destination related risks factors. Regarding the antecedents of their risk perceptions, while perceived innovation, trust in their smartphones, and familiarity were found as key inhibitors of backpackers’ perceived risk, observability had no association with perceived risk. Relatedly, consumers’ trust in their smartphones had a significant positive impact on the intentions to reuse a smartphone for future travel as did their satisfaction with the device and satisfaction with travel. Furthermore, perceived risk had a significant negative effect on travel satisfaction, but not the satisfaction with a smartphone and intentions to reuse it for future travel. Also, through a qualitative in-depth investigation, the study found that backpackers used a mix of cognitive and non-cognitive (overt) risk reduction strategies against the risk they perceived. These included: 1) psyching up oneself about the possibility of unpleasant occurrences; 2) using safer alternatives for Internet banking; 3) not exposing their phones in public; 4) using cheaper (for that matter expendable) smartphones during travel; and 5) non-reliance on the Internet for information. The theoretical, managerial, methodological and policy relevance and/or contributions of the thesis are discussed.
Supervisor: Kimbu, A. N. Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral