Adoption of Mobile Commerce Services by Individuals: A Meta-
Analysis of the Literature
Yousuf S. AlHinai Sherah Kurnia Robert B. Johnston
Department of Information Department of Information Department of Information
Systems Systems Systems The University of Melbourne The University of Melbourne The University of Melbourne
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
This issue has drawn a lot of attention from
researchers to understand the factors that drive Abstract individuals’ adoption/rejection of this innovation. Many studies have been conducted using Mobile commerce has been a huge success in traditional adoption models and theories such as terms of individuals’ adoption in some markets the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) [2, 3], like Japan, while, surprisingly, not as flourishing the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB)  and in others. Many studies have been conducted using the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory . traditional adoption models and theories (such as However, many authors (e.g. [6-10]) have drawn TAM) that mainly focus on technology aspects. A the conclusion that traditional adoption models are more complete understanding of the issue requires insufficient to gain a comprehensive explanation the need to integrate three roles that m-commerce of the factors that affect individuals’ intentions to users play: as technology users, network members adopt or reject the use of mobile commerce and as consumers. In this study, we review existing services. literature on individuals’ voluntary adoption of One of the major reasons for this insufficiency mobile commerce services to highlight the lies in the kind of role(s) played by m-commerce adequacy/inadequacy of previous studies’ services users compared to roles Played by users coverage of these three roles. We observe that of traditional technologies such as PCs. Traditional there is a lack of a complete understanding of technology users have mainly been studied in mobile commerce adoption in the current terms of their role as technology users through literature. Several implications for future research their interaction with the technology itself and as and practice are discussed. network members through interaction with other people. Users of m-commerce services, on the 1. Introduction other hand, play a threefold role: as technology users, as network members, and as consumers , Mobile commerce or m-commerce is defined . Therefore, to fully understand individuals’ as any direct or indirect transaction with a adoption of mobile commerce, these three roles or potential monetary value conducted via wireless perspectives have to be integrated. telecommunication networks . Using mobile In this study, we review existing literature on services, users can send/receive emails, download individuals’ voluntary adoption of mobile music/graphics/animations, shop for goods and commerce services to highlight the services, play interactive online games, trade adequacy/inadequacy of previous studies’ stocks, book tickets, find friends, conduct financial coverage of the three roles mentioned. We observe and banking transactions and so on. One of the that there is a lack of a complete understanding of main benefits of using m-commerce services is the mobile commerce adoption because most studies ability to carry out tasks anywhere, anytime. Given have concentrated on investigating the issue based such uniqueness, mobile commerce has been a on the technology user perspective using huge success in some markets such as Japan. traditional adoption theories. In addition, a smaller However, interestingly this innovation has not number of studies have considered the role of m-been as flourishing in other markets such as the commerce users as network members and far USA and Australia. fewer have investigated their role as consumers. In
this study, we further argue that a more complete this evaluation would have an impact on his/her understanding of mobile commerce adoption can future service adoption decisions. only be obtained if the three roles of the users are Therefore, there are three roles that have to be considered in mobile commerce adoption studies. considered when investigating individuals’ Based on this review, directions and adoption of m-commerce services as explained recommendations for future research are identified. below (figure 1): Thus, this study helps synthesize prior research on
the topic and streamline the efforts of current and Technology User future researchers in a common direction. It also
helps different stakeholders and practitioners in
the mobile industry to get a more focused insight
into the research on mobile services acceptance
and make better judgments and decisions in their Consumer offers to the mobile service users. Network Member The paper is organized as follows. Section 2
discusses what makes the adopters of m-commerce Figure 1. Roles played by mobile services different than the adopters of traditional commerce users (adopted from Pedersen, technologies. Section 3 outlines the boundaries of Methlie and Thorbjørnsen 2002)
this review and the research approach followed.
Section 4 presents the findings and discussion. 2.1. M-commerce adopters as technology Finally, section 5 concludes with users recommendations for future research. This perspective, in its bases, conforms to
traditional technology adoption research concepts. 2. The uniqueness of mobile commerce Here, all adoption factors studied relate one way or adopters the other to the technology or service characteristics and its use. Studies investigating Mobile commerce users are more than just this role mainly use traditional theories such as the technology users. Two other roles make them Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) [2, 3], the unique compared to adopters of traditional Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB)  and the technologies such as computers, fax machines and Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory . Based software. First, they are usually part of a social on these theories researchers of mobile commerce network of people such as friends and family. This adoption studied the effects of factors such as network would usually influence an individual’s usefulness, ease of use, enjoyment of using a perceptions, opinions and actions in regard to service, content and system quality, impact of different objects including service offers. People technical issues such as bandwidth and line usually recommend good services to each other capacity and so on. and equally they oppose and discourage unfavourable services to each other. Therefore, 2.2 M-commerce adopters as network depending on the level of interaction with others,
members the decision to adopt or reject a certain service in
not only a result of a mere personal evaluation, but
This perspective or role takes account of is usually affected by others.
factors that relate to the user’s surroundings and Second, in order to be able to use a mobile
interactions with other people in his/her personal commerce service, an individual first needs to
network of family, friends, colleagues and other subscribe to a mobile telephony service with a
important people. This perspective is based on the service provider. Only after becoming a mobile
fact that an individual’s decisions and behaviours phone user, he/she can make a decision about
are not made solely by him/her, but rather are becoming or not becoming an m-commerce
influenced by the opinions and recommendations adopter. Consequently, being a customer of a
of other important people. As a person is part of a business in the first place raises the importance of
social network, he/she normally interacts with many factors that can affect subsequent intentions
others in daily life and talk and share with others and decisions to accept new service offers. A
what he/she sees, thinks and experiences. That is customer’s evaluation of such factors can result in
why, for example, word of mouth is known as one either positive or negative outcomes. In either case,
of the most effective channels through which
positive and negative ideas and perceptions spread Consequently, this perspective gives in a social setting. Ignoring such effects in m-importance to the impact of marketing and commerce adoption research would result in an business related factors such as cost/price, value incomplete understanding of the power of social perceptions, promotions, offers and people networks in impacting one’s beliefs, attitudes and exposure to the services through different perceptions. marketing efforts. Unlike the other two roles, the Some traditional adoption theories such as consumer perspective is new to the technology TRA and TPB included such influences as part of adoption research. Therefore, to understand what their basic concepts. Mobile commerce adoption factors influence individuals based on this researchers (for example,   ) used perspective, researchers may need to investigate these role to better understand its adoption by and integrate theories from areas other than individuals. It is crucial to include such factors Information Systems. Unless such integration is because the usage nature of many m-commerce made, there will always be a lack of a complete services (e.g. mobile chat services) requires understanding of consumers’ adoption of m-interaction with others. Therefore, researchers in commerce services. the area have accounted for factors such as As a result focusing on m-commerce adopters subjective norms and recommendation of as technology users only would mean omitting a important others. great deal of factors related to the other two roles. Unless enough consideration is given by
researchers to all three roles, the recommendations, 2.3 M-commerce adopters as consumers
advices and practical implications provided by
research to mobile stakeholders will be incomplete This role or perspective makes a key difference
and inadequate. between m-commerce adoption research and
adoption research on most traditional technologies.
The majority of adoption determinants that 3. Research boundaries and approach influence individual acceptance of traditional of the meta-analysis technologies (such as PCs) mostly lie in the interaction of the user with the technology and/or During the past few years, mobile commerce with people around him/her. However, the case adoption research has grown dramatically. A large with mobile services is different. Mobile service number of studies have covered the topic from users are normally customers of a business and different angles and tens of more studies are added pay fees in order to receive services for as long as to the literature every year. The following review they remain customers of the business. * There is is by no means exhaustive, it aims to highlight to therefore a continuous interaction between the researchers and practitioners how the research has mobile customer and his/her service provider(s). been progressing and build a ground on which Such interaction opens the door to a wide rage of future research can be directed. The review is adoption determinants that might not be as crucial guided by relevance to the three roles explained in for traditional technologies adoption. section 2. Not integrating the factors that stand behind  recommend precision about the the fact that m-commerce adopters are also boundaries and scope of literature reviews in consumers or customers of a business would result Information Systems in order to make them more in a deficient view on the issue. As stressed above, informative and insightful to fellow researchers prior to adopting any m-commerce service, a and practitioners. Following this guideline, some person would normally decide on becoming a decisions had to be made in order to establish the customer of a certain service provider to get specific focus and boundaries for this review. his/her mobile telephony service. From that point First, mobile technologies and services can be on, an association is built between the customer used in many different contexts such as Business and the business in which he/she is affected by to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C) everyday experiences with the company. and social contexts. Since each of these contexts Therefore, there are many factors that accumulate has distinct implications on the kind of theories to form and influence individuals’ intentions to and concepts used by relevant studies, a decision adopt or reject a service provided by a company. had to be made on which context this review Failing to integrate such factors would result in concentrates on. Second, because research on only a partial explanation of the topic. mobile commerce is very wide and dramatically
expanding, it was important to decide on which
branch of m-commerce research this study focuses. the list above with its alternatives would mean Third, the nature of mobile ‘services’ (such as mixing different concepts on somewhat mobile internet) has many unique implications on uncommon grounds. For example, factors adoption research that might not be of the same affecting individual’s voluntary adoption differ
significance when studying the adoption of mobile from those influencing compulsory adoption. One
‘technologies’ (such as cell phones). Therefore, it point of difference is the fact that when voluntarily had to be decided if this review investigates the adopting a mobile service, individuals usually adoption of mobile services or mobile personally bear all risks and costs associated with technologies. Fourth, some mobile services are their adoption actions (albeit monetary, emotional, tailored for individuals use while others are etc). Such a small difference largely reflects on the targeted towards businesses and organizations kind of factors, concepts and theories that have to needs and use. Studying individuals’ adoption of be considered. Similarly, discussing issues relating m-commerce is different than investigating its to individuals’ adoption of services in social
adoption by businesses in terms of the theories, contexts involves a different set of perspectives concepts, and perspectives that have to be and considerations compared to studying considered. Hundreds of studies exist on each of businesses’ adoption of mobile technologies in
these two lines and, therefore, a choice had to be organizational and work contexts.
made about which one this review focuses on. Studies examined in this review came from Finally, past adoption research made a clear journals such as Journal of Electronic Commerce distinction between voluntary adoption and Research, Information and Management, Journal compulsory adoption. Each of these kinds of of American Academy of Business, Decision adoption significantly differs in terms of its Support Systems, Electronic Commerce Research underlying determinants and decision processes. and Applications, Communication of the ACM, As a result, it had to be decided which kind of Journal of consumer marketing and Journal of adoption to concentrate on. Interactive Marketing. Other studies were Based on the above, the following identifies published in conferences such as Hawaii the precise boundaries of this review and the scope International Conference on System Sciences it covers: (HICSS), International Conference on Mobile
1- Focus on B2C and social contexts (as Business (ICMB), and Bled eConferences. Since
compared to B2B, business, research in the area is relatively recent, studies
organizational and work environments) reviewed covered the period 2000 to 2006.
2- Focus on the mobile commerce adoption Because of the large number of studies on the
literature (as compared to other branches topic, the authors had to make a judgment in terms
of the literature such m-commerce of how each study conceptually differentiates itself
applications, m-commerce infrastructure, from other studies based on the three roles
m-commerce business models, etc) emphasized (section 2).
3- Focus on adoption of mobile services (as
compared to adoption of mobile 4. Findings and discussion technologies such as cell phones, walkie- talkies, etc) Following the basics of traditional adoption 4- Focus on Individual users’ adoption as and diffusion research, m-commerce adoption the level of analysis (as compared to researchers built on these basics to develop models adoption of m-commerce technologies that included various variables and concepts drawn and services by organizations and from Information Systems, Psychology, Sociology, businesses) Marketing, Economics and other fields. One of the main baselines of all adoption and diffusion research comes from the concept that humans tend to act or behave according to their predetermined intentions. Intentions are formed by the accumulation of positive and/or negative attitudes towards an object (a service, a product, a person, an organization, an idea, etc). These 5- Focus on voluntary adoption and use (as attitudes are a result of various perceptions compared to compulsory or forced stemming from past experiences and interactions adoption by management, for example) that people encounter in their daily lives. Consequently, this review concentrates on Building on this line of logic, researchers have reviewing studies that investigated: therefore focused on users perceptions in regard to Individuals’ Voluntary Adoption of Mobile a wide range of factors. Table 1 on the next page Commerce Services presents a summary of the most frequently studied The above defines an appropriate set of adoption factors and how they relate to each of the boundaries for this review because it seeks a three roles or perspectives played by m-commerce focused view on the topic. Mixing each point in adopters. The table also shows if there is a
consistency/inconsistency in the results found on Pedersen and his colleagues  were among the each group of factors. first to note the need for a triangulation of the From the table, many observations can be three roles highlighted in this study when made. First, the vast majority of studies have examining the adoption of m-commerce services. investigated m-commerce adopters as technology They integrated concepts from Diffusion, adoption, users. This is not surprising since most m-uses and gratification and domestication research commerce research used traditional technology in order to come up with a better view and adoption theories and concepts that have mostly understanding of the issue.  On the other hand focused on technology aspects. However, it can integrated and extended the concepts of TAM also be noted that not all technology-related using concepts from the theory of consumer choice factors came from traditional theories. The unique and decision making from economics and context and characteristics of mobile commerce marketing research to come up with a value-based services required the addition of many new understanding of the issue. technology related determinants such as content Fourth, the long list and the variety of factors availability and quality, connection speed, service that have been investigated in the current literature speed, bandwidth, and other technical issues. The can be understood by the kind of mobile services technology user perspective has heavily been and the contexts investigated in each study. The investigated in the current literature. By far, the nature of different services produces a different set Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) [2, 3] and of important factors. For example, investigating it usefulness and ease of use context is the most individuals’ adoption of mobile Internet services -
frequently used theory in such studies. where WWW content can be accessed through a Second, a number of studies have examined mobile screen- may involve a different set of factors based on m-commerce adopters’ role as influences compared to mobile parking services network members. Most of these studies combined where simple SMS is the way to exchange needed such factors with ones related to adopters as information. Because of the wide variety of technology users. This combination allowed services under the umbrella of mobile commerce researchers to get a better understanding of and their unlimited use contexts, the scope of important factors that affect individuals’ intentions combining existing factors and adding new ones and adoption behaviours. This line of factors is not by each study is, therefore, broad. new to the traditional adoption research since Fifth, while the table shows some factors where a network and people effects on individuals’ common sense of significance has been reached, it perceptions have been investigated in past studies is important to note the fact that empirical research using traditional theories such as TRA, TPB and in m-commerce tends to be country, sample, DOI. The inclusion of determinants that relate to context, and service dependent. Each of these individuals as network members is very crucial factors produces different set of results. For because the use of many m-commerce services example, investigating the adoption of mobile depend on the interaction between the user and Internet among professionals might yield a other people (mobile chatting and fiend find, for different set of conclusions compared to a group of example). teenagers. On the other hand, studying the Third, very few studies have investigated the adoption determinants of an application in a adoption factors related to the role of m-commerce mature market like Japan could also give different users as consumers. While some studies included outcomes than if the same study was carried out in factors related to this role along other technology-another market or culture. However, such user and network-member determinants, the level unanimous conclusions, despite underlying of emphasis given to this perspective if very differences in the empirical investigation, gives minimal. There seem to be a lack of understanding valuable and very critical insights to relevant among researchers in the area of the criticality of organizations operating in more than one market. including this perspective along the other two. Only a few attempts have been made on this side.
Table 1. M-commerce adoption factors in
the existing literature
Factor(s) Example studies Perspectives/roles Comments
tech Net Cons
[6, 7, 16-19] Usefulness, Direct/indirect effect on performance * Intentions was found expectancies
Enjoyment, [7, 9, 10, 18, 20] Direct/indirect effect on * playfulness Intentions was found Expressiveness, [7, 9, 21] Direct/indirect effect on image, lifestyle * * Intentions was found enhancement
User satisfaction (with Direct/indirect effect on using the service [21-23] * Intentions was found itself)
Relative advantage Direct/indirect effect on [10, 24] * * * and perceived value Intentions was found Technical Issues such
as connection speed, Direct/indirect effect on service speed, [10, 23, 25, 26] * Intentions was found bandwidth, device
Contents and functions Direct/indirect effect on [16, 18, 22, 23, 26] * availability and quality Intentions was found Personal Direct/indirect effect on [6, 25, 27, 28] * innovativeness Intentions was found Behavioural Control [6, 7, 9, 25, 29, 30]
(self-efficacy, Mixed results were * facilitating conditions, found etc)
Compatibility, prior Mixed results were experience, relevant [1, 16, 19, 24, 28] * * found past knowledge
Ease of use, [1, 7, 16, 18, 19, 24-26, 28, 31] Mixed results were complexity, effort * found expectancies
Service cost, price,
fee, perceived Mixed results were financial cost, [1, 10, 21-23, 25, 30-32] * * found perceived financial
Trust, Risk, Security,
perceived credibility, Mixed results were privacy issues [1, 6, 22, 24, 30, 31] * * found associated with using a
Subjective norm (peer
influence, external Mixed results were influences, normative [6, 7, 9, 13, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29, 31] * found beliefs, others
Triability, exposure to Mixed results were service through [19, 21, 24, 26, 29] * * * found marketing
a task. For example, mobile Internet could 5. Conclusions and recommendations substitute many aspects of traditional wired for future research internet, mobile banking could substitute physical and wired internet banking, and mobile chat could Based on the preceding discussion, it can be also substitute its PC-based counterparts. Given seen that there is a lack of a complete this, researchers of m-commerce adoption have to understanding of the three roles that mobile understand the requirements of each applicable commerce adopters play. Such understanding will stage and how these requirements impact the allow researchers and practitioners to gain better attitudes, intentions and decisions of potential insights on the factors that influence m-commerce adopters. For example, a focus on the substitution adopters’ intentions. While the current literature stage shows the importance of comparative studies has given a lot of attention to factors affecting with similar or related technologies such as adopters given their role as technology users, less electronic commerce. According to  this area has been given to the network member role. of research is still highly unexplored. Adopters’ role as consumers or customers has Third, the majority of studies on individuals’ been left with insufficient exploration (Table 2). adoption of m-commerce services investigated adoption decisions are cross-sectional and Table 2. Level of exploration of adopter therefore are limited to a certain point of time. roles in the current literature However, very few, if any, studies have Adopter Role Status investigated how individuals’ reactions change Technology user Widely explored over time , . Such longitudinal research in Network member Scarce to explored m-commerce will help determine which factors of Consumer/Customer Unexplored adoption are more salient than others. For example,  found that ease of use does not have a Some recommendations for further research significant effect on intentions to use m-commerce. are outlined below. First and most importantly, They explained such finding postulating that more studies integrating the three perspectives consumers change their ease of use perceptions presented in this study are needed in order to gain about a specific system over time as they become a comprehensive view on the adoption more familiar with the system. This indicates that determinants that influence individuals’ intentions time has an effect on the significance people give and decisions. A complete understanding of the to each adoption factor or determinant. issue requires more efforts from researchers to Longitudinal adoption studies that pay attention to integrate consumer, marketing, and business such changes will have a great impact on theory as influences in their studies. This would mean going well as practice. Consequently, relevant marketing beyond the theoretical and conceptual bases of and management polices, strategies, and efforts Information Systems. The Information Systems can be more effectively carried out and distributed field by its definition is inter-disciplinary. over time to cope to the changes consumers go Therefore, for any IS issues to be fully through. comprehended, investigation must span over other Finally, while conceptual studies add related areas. For this to be achieved, one acknowledgeable contributions to the current suggestion would be joining forces with other literature, more empirical studies are needed. This experts and researchers from related areas such as review joins previous calls for more empirical tests Marketing, Economics, Human Behaviour, in the m-commerce area in order to come up with Consumer Behaviours and Management. Such more reliable and practical recommendations for extensions would allow practitioners to gain relevant stakeholders [34, 35]. On another side, greater benefits from studies conducted. there is also a need to extend such efforts to cross-Second, it has been highlighted that the national and cross-cultural scales . There have beginning of any new technology passes through been some attempts on this path (see for example, three stages: substitution (people use it only as a ,  but these are still scarce. The need for substitute of similar innovations), adaptation such studies arises given the fact that existing one-(people discover new ways of using the culture one-sample empirical studies are context innovation), and revolution (people actually start and sample dependent which makes them hard to to use the innovation in new ways) . This generalize. For greater insights, interested concept applies to m-commerce services because researchers from various countries should work most mobile services either substitute another together on validating and testing existing and new innovation or replace a manual way of performing models in their respective cultures. Such
comparative studies would highly help and practice. Along with other literature reviews in the develop the research area as well as assist national area, this review will help make obtaining useful and multinational corporations in the market to insights from existing literature an easier task for better customize their efforts and strategies. marketers, managers, and other practitioners. As While this review is in no way exhaustive, it this study have highlighted, there is still a theoretically adds to the growing body of IS limitation and inadequacy in the way the current literature in general and to the mobile commerce literature on m-commerce adoption has adoption research in specific. This conceptual investigated the issue. Therefore, this study guides examination of various m-commerce adoption practitioners in the way they should interpret the studies will help future researchers to observe the findings of existing studies. Mobile commerce trends and design studies on mobile commerce stakeholders can, therefore, make improved, adoption appropriately and therefore significant insightful and better directed decisions and contributions can be made to both theory and policies.
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