Mobile Apps as Information Communication Technology (ICT)

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CHAPTER 4 Literature Review

Chapter 3 presented background information to Lagos, Nigeria in an effort to elucidate the chosen research environment. With a contextual understanding of the research environment in mind, Chapter 4 will present a review of the literature foundational to the study.

Mobile Apps as Information Communication Technology (ICT)

ICTs generally signify technologies that offer access to information, through telecommunications. Embedded telecommunication technologies include the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones and other communication mediums. Over the past few decades, ICTs have provided society with a vast array of new communication capabilities (Good & Qureshi, 2009; Didi-quvane & Twinomurinzi, 2013a; Eze et al., 2013;Ariyo & Mcgrath, 2010; Breytenbach et al., 2013). For example, people can communicate in real-time with others in different countries using technologies such as instant messaging,voice over IP (VoIP) and video messaging on social network platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Modern ICTs have created a global village in which people interact with their contemporaries across the world, as if they were merely living next door. For this reason, ICT is often viewed within the context of how modern communication technologies affect society (Kamal & Qureshi, 2009; Sun & Chen, 2006). One way to gauge ICT’s impact on society is to consider its influence on the way in which business is practised. In recent times, a business’ ability to interact with its environment and to respond rapidly and appropriately to environmental challenges has become largely dependent on the use of ICT (Good & Qureshi, 2009; Michiel, 2013). Mobile apps stand out as the type of ICT which facilitates all stakeholders’ (including customers, employers, suppliers, regulators, etc.) business interactions.Mobile applications, also known as mobile apps or apps, are small programmes installed, or accessible, on smartphones. These programmes offer functionalities by interfacing with other hardware components of the smart device in order to collect, retrieve or store data locally on the smart device, or virtually in the cloud (Young, 2015; Yang et al., 2014). Mobile apps primarily rely on internet connectivity and cloud technologies. Technically, based on their architectural design, apps can be broadly grouped as: native apps, web apps or hybrid apps (Nayebi et al., 2012). Native apps are platform-specific, developed for use on specific platforms (like android, iOS and windows) or devices. Apps natively developed for android will not run on iOS and vice-versa. Web apps are usually built around mobile browsers which means they are not installed on the mobile device but could be accessed via the browser on the device. Web apps are driven by web technologies like Hyper Text Mark-up Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript. The main advantage of web apps is their ability to update content without being constrained by the platform app stores, while their main disadvantage is the limitation in interface with the mobile device hardware. Hybrid apps tend to aggregate the features of native and web apps. These apps are built on web
technologies, like web apps, but they are wrapped in a native container which interfaces with the mobile device hardware (Dinner et al., 2015). In terms of use, apps are employed by a wide variety of different ages, industries, cultures and religions. There are apps specifically designed for children and for adults, apps which facilitate learning, military activities, sales, advertisements and entertainment as well as apps written for Chinese, Dutch or African users, to name but a few. The wide use of apps probably justifies Gatner’s projection that, by 2019, approximately 300 billion apps would have been downloaded worldwide (Findings, 2015). Statistics regarding the downloading of apps in Nigeria could not be ascertained. However, the increased rate of internet penetration from mobile devices in this country is an indication that mobile apps are being widely used. It is estimated that there are about 93.59 million internet users in Nigeria (Internet Stats, 2016;Internet Live Statistics, 2017; Statistics Portal, 2017) and that approximately 90% of internet access is from mobile devices (Ojo, 2012; Ojo, 2015).It is therefore reasonable to state that SMEs in Nigeria form a significant part of the statistics concerning mobile apps use since most SMEs are micro businesses with less than 10 employees. However, how these SMEs make use of mobile apps remains unclear.

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SMEs and mobile Apps

4.2.1 SMEs defined
There is no single definition for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Available definitions of SMEs are context based and largely reliant on the number of employees and annual turnover. In the Nigerian context, an SME refers to a legitimate business entity with 1 to 49 employees and with an annual revenue turnover of less than 50 million Naira (158 000 USD) (SMEDAN & NBS, 2013). Table 4.1 presents selected definitions of SMEs from across the world.


Peer reviewed publications from this study
Table of contents
List of Figures
List of Tables 
CHAPTER 1  Introduction and project overview
1.1 Background and motivation
1.2 Problem statement
1.3 Research aim and objectives 
1.4 Research questions
1.5 Overview of methodological approach
1.6 Scope and context
1.7 Ethical considerations
1.8 Thesis structure
CHAPTER 2  Philosophy
2.1 Introduction 
2.2 Pragmatism as a philosophy 
2.3 Fundamentals of pragmatic philosophy 
2.3.1 Practicability
2.3.2 Usability
2.3.3 Heterogeneity
2.3.4 Changeability
2.4 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3  Research Context.
3.1 Historic significance of Lagos
3.2 Economic significance of Lagos
3.2 SMEs in Lagos.
3.3 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4  Literature Review
4.1 Mobile Apps as Information Communication Technology (ICT)
4.2 SMEs and mobile Apps
4.2.1 SMEs defined
4.2.2 Importance of SMEs
4.2.3 Impact of mobile apps on SMEs
4.2.4 The mobile app as agent of technology disruption and creative destruction
4.3 Dynamic capabilities framework
4.3.1 Absorptive capabilities
4.3.2 Adaptive capabilities
4.3.3 Innovative capabilities
4.4. Micro-foundations of dynamic capability: sensing, shaping and seizing opportunities
4.5. The conceptual model and research variables
4.6 Definition and association of constructs
4.7 DC and pragmatism
4.8 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5  Research Methodology
5.1 The research design 
5.2 Research philosophy 
5.3 Research approach
5.3.1 Inductive and deductive approaches
5.3.2 Qualitative and quantitative approaches
5.4 Research strategy
5.4.1 Case study research
5.4.2 Survey research
5.4.3 Units of Analysis
5.5 Design Choice
5.6 Time Horizon
5.7 Data Collection
5.7.1 Phase 1 – Qualitative data collection Sample frame Interview instrument design Reliability and validity of qualitative data Interview administration Role of the researcher in qualitative research
5.7.2 Phase 2 – Quantitative data collection Sampling Strategy Questionnaire instrument design Questionnaire: reliability and validity Questionnaire administration
5.8 Ethical Consideration 
5.9 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6  Qualitative analysis and discussions
6.1 Content analysis strategy
6.2 Coding 
6.3 Discussion of findings
6.4 DC constructs for SMEs in Lagos
6.5 Summary 
6.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 7  Quantitative analysis and discussions
7.1. Demographics
7.2. Mobile app usage, dynamic capability and opportunity maximisation of SMEs
7.3. Covariance-based structural equation modelling of SME conceptual model
7.4. Conclusion
CHAPTER 8  Conclusion and recommendations
8.1 Research overview
8.2 Philosophy revisited
8.3 Research objectives revisited
8.4 Contribution of study
8.5 Limitation of study 
8.6 Recommendation and future research
Appendix 1
Interview Consent Form & Protocol
Appendix 2
SME Owner/Manager Interview
Appendix 3
Cover letter to an online anonymous web-based survey
Appendix 4
SME Owner/Manager Questionnaire
Appendix 5
Field Experience
Appendix 6
Ethics Approval
Appendix 7
Semi-Processed Extracts of Content Analysis
Appendix 8
Normality Assessment
Appendix 9
Reliability and Validity Assessment
Appendix 10
Regression Weights
Appendix 11
Certificate of Editing
Appendix 12
Turnitin Originality Report


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