Since it was created and introduced to the public, smartphones are now considered by some a very important necessity that people should have considering the various activities now requiring access to the internet. In business, Pitichat (2013) argued that smartphones use in workplaces are now increasing as an estimated 350 million employees would possess a smartphone by 2016. Most of these owners are the younger generation which comprises the new generation workforce. However, companies are a bit apprehensive over the continuous increase of Smartphone use in terms of how it would affect the business. On the one hand, smartphones can provide workers with increased productivity capacity as smartphones various applications that would allow them to perform well in their duties. On the other hand, however, these smartphones may also cause the loss of attention of workers and bring stress that may affect even the productivity of others .
The main question this study would try to answer is “Do smartphones increase or decrease productivity in businesses?” The selection of the topic is quite relevant as smartphones – much like mobile phones – are now considered as an important necessity in modern society. In comparison to the mobile phone, smartphones are used not just for calling or texting, but it can also be used to access the internet and use specialized apps that would aid in any given moment. For business, it is important that owners and employees are in touch with one another to ensure that the business is afloat. It is the aim of this study to determine whether or not smartphones increase productivity or hamper it given the known effects of smartphones in other sectors. This study also aims to determine as to how innovative smartphones are for business and the possible means to stop it from affecting employee productivity.
Several studies throughout the years highlight both the benefits and flaws of using smartphones in the business sector, especially on the aspect of its productivity. Bradley (2010), Pitichat (2013), McDonald (2014), and Carayannis and Clark (2011) argued that with their capacity to access the internet and the availability of multiple functions, smartphones can allow businesses to coordinate more efficiently with their clients and employees no matter where they are in the world . On the other hand, Luttenegger (2010), Coker (2013), Ferre (2011) and Lloyd (2011) cited that smartphones in business would only complicate the production process. In their stance, the authors argued that with smartphones allowed in work, it would reduce efficiency and worker concentration due to overreliance. Some may even find their smartphones a vulnerable item for potential hackers .
This research would require an extensive analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data in order to achieve the aims and answer the research’s main question. In order to acquire the data necessary to complete this study, a mixture of observational research and surveys would be used by the researcher. The observational research would permit the researcher to analyze all factors and patterns that may shape the course of the study as the facts from the secondary sources are analyzed. These sources would help in understanding the factors that influence business productivity through smartphones. The quantitative research would be done through surveys in order to see the trend of how the public perceive the use of smartphone use in the business sector. Data sampling would come from 20 randomly chosen participants from various age groups to determine their stance on the issue through a simple seven question survey.
Discussion of the Findings
The researcher has managed to get a response from 20 respondents (10 men and 10 women) from ages 19 and up to answer the seven question survey used for this study. Using a random survey program online, these respondents come from various parts of the globe. All of them answered that they own smartphones and proficient with its use. In order to understand the impact of smartphone use in businesses, the researcher asked the respondents to indicate as to where they usually use their smartphones as seen in Figure 1. All of the respondents cited that they mostly use their smartphones for communication and entertainment purposes. When asked about finance, business and other functions; respondents from the 27-36 and 45 and up age group indicated that they use smartphones to connect with their businesses or settle their financial responsibilities. The younger bracket of the respondents also answered they use their smartphones for fitness, education and productivity purposes.
Figure 1: Where do you use your smartphones?
In figure 2, respondents are asked as to what they think about smartphones helping in the productivity of businesses. The response have varied significantly as seen in the figure below.
Figure 2: Does smartphones help productivity?
At least 14 of the 20 respondents were optimistic that smartphones would be able to help business in their productivity and profitability capability. When asked to expound on their sentiment, figure 3 indicated that productivity is improved due to the open access to the internet, availability of specialized applications and improved communication capacity for businesses.
Figure 3: How does smartphones help in productivity?
However, there are also respondents that said that smartphones hamper or impair productivity for businesses. As seen in figure 4, all of the four participants indicated that smartphones in business would only incite distractions in the workplace which may make production slower. Employees may spend most of their time using their smartphones while business owners may also be stalled with the other applications possible for smartphones (ex. internet, games and videos). Aside from distractions, respondents also agree that technical difficulties would also impair productivity. Technical difficulties may range from smartphone malfunctions to application failure, which may paralyze operations especially if the business relies heavily with the smartphone to coordinate the operations. Finally, with smartphones connected mostly with the internet, it is also highly noted by participants that smartphones are vulnerable to tampering or hacking. This is dangerous because several sensitive data for the business may be exploited by criminal entities.
Figure 4. How do smartphones hamper productivity?
There were also respondents that expressed that smartphones can be both an advantage and disadvantage. It is all up to the user of the smartphone as to how they would regulate their use of smartphones and how they would exploit its advantage and prevent its disadvantage from appearing.
Finally, figure 5 highlights the answer of the respondents as to what they think about the idea of banning smartphones in the business sector. A majority of the 20 respondents stated that smartphones should not be banned considering the advantages smartphones have to its users. However, there are also respondents that said smartphones should be banned considering the impacts it would bring to the sector as cited in the reasons in the previous case. For 10% of the respondents, they stressed that they are not sure if banning smartphones would indeed help or hinder the business. Some of them cited that a compromise through policies would be possible to ensure that smartphones would still be used and monitored.
Figure 5: Should smartphones be banned from the business sector?
Throughout the study, it is clear to the researcher that smartphones have become an important element to society at the present time due to its many functions. However, its application to certain sectors – such as business – is still contested considering the possible implications of its use to the industry. On the one hand, using smartphones in businesses would hamper productivity or profitability. The number one argument raised by experts is the distraction these smartphones would have to the employees and business owners alike. Luttenegger (2010) indicated that smartphones distract workers with their tasks and often leads to overtime dues, which results to income losses as employers would need to pay these workers . Coker (2013) added that smartphones interferes productivity for the receiver and disables clear decision making .
Ferre (2011) added that sensitive business information would become at risk with these smartphones. The lack of security functions in these devises would put them at risk to cyber-attacks and theft. Some criminals today target vulnerable infrastructure in order to exploit information that can be used for blackmail . Lloyd (2011) also argued that there is a possibility that these smartphones would put its users at risk given that privacy would be put into risk. With businesses giving phones to their employees, there might be a confusion as to what is counted as a private call on the calls conducted on the business phone. Companies may even use these smartphones to invade the privacy of their works and employees. Additional concerns may also come from technical issues such as phone malfunctions .
On the other hand, smartphones should be considered by businesses as a critical element to raising their productivity and profitability due to its various functions and benefits. Bradley (2010) cited that the number one benefit of smartphones to businesses is the mobility aspect of these phones. Smartphones can easily allow business owners to contact their clients or their employees, as well monitor their business operations even at home . Pitichat (2013) added that smartphones would improve employee-employer relations as they can easily share information and create relations. Since smartphones now have very high computing capabilities, it enables workers to work efficiently with their smartphones and easily transmit the product or service requested .
Applications, according to McDonald (2014) is another benefit to smartphones in business as specialized programs or applications meant for finance and business planning are available. These applications permit businesses to determine the trends of the market and access crucial services to stay ahead of the game . Carayannis and Clark (2011) indicated that smartphones would permit businesses to gain new contacts and networks that can help in determining what their consumers want from the business. With smartphones having functions such as access to Facebook, instant messaging systems and corporate databases, it would be easy to create conducive conditions for business operations . For this researcher, smartphones can become an integral part of business development and success as its innovation would allow businesses to coordinate and monitor their production. However, it is crucial that companies and businesses enact methods to monitor and prevent the onset of the negative impacts of smartphone use as there should always be a limit as to where these smartphones should be used.
Bradley, T., 2010. Managing Smartphones in Your Business. PC World, 1 August, 28(8).
Carayannis, E. & Clark, S., 2011. Do Smartphones Make for Smarter Business? The Smartphone
CEO Study. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 2(2), pp. 201-233.
Coker, R., 2013. Emails, smartphones not always answer to higher productivity. Corpus Christi
Caller-Times, 10 September.
Ferre, J., 2011. Sensitive business info in smartphones, tablets at risk. Caribbean Business, 20
October, p. 48.
Lloyd, F., 2011. Proliferation and Problems: Workplace Smart Phone Use. Orange, 7(3).
Lutternegger, J., 2010. Smartphones: Increasing Productivity, Creating Overtime Liability.
McDonald, T., 2014. Small-business banking finds tools in technology. Fairfield County
Business Journal, 50(36), p. 20.
Pitichat, T., 2013. Smartphones in the workplace: Changing organizational behavior,
transforming the future. Lux: A Journal of Transdisciplinary Writing and Research from Claremont Graduate University, 3(1), pp. 1-10.
Hello, my name is (insert name here) and I am currently taking up a course in (insert course here). I would like to ask a few minutes of your time to answer this questionnaire/survey for my research which discusses how smartphones affect productivity in business. The answers from this questionnaire will remain strictly confidential. Thank you very much for your understanding.
- What is your gender? □Male □Female
- Which age group you belong to? □19 – 26 □27 – 36 □37 – 44 □>45
- Do you own a smartphone? □Yes □No
- What do you usually do with your smartphones? (Check all applicable answers)
□ Entertainment (games, internet, music)
□ Others (Please specify): _________________________
- In the field of business, do smartphones improve the productivity of one’s business?
□It improves productivity (proceed to question 5)
□ It only slows production (proceed to question 6)
6. For those who answered ‘It improves productivity?” how can smartphones help benefit production?
□ Improve employee-employer communications
□ Allow open access to the internet for new knowledge and information
□ Availability of apps for business or finance applications
- For those who answered “it slows production”, how can smartphones hamper production for businesses? (check all applicable answers)
□ Increased distractions (internet access and entertainment applications)
□ High risk on technical problems (soft/hardware malfunction)
□ Vulnerability of smartphone networks (possible hacking)
- Should businesses ban the use of smartphones? Why?
□ Yes, __________________________________________________________
□ No, __________________________________________________________
- Participant Tally
- Male = 10
- Female = 10
- Age Group Tally
- 19-26 = 5
- 27-36 = 5
- 37-44 = 5
- 45 > = 5
- Smartphone Ownership
- Yes = 20
- No = 0
- Usual Use of Smartphones
Comments for the other category: Productivity and fitness
- Do smartphones improve productivity?
- How do smartphones improve productivity?
- How do smartphones hamper productivity?
- Should smartphones be banned from the business sector?
Not sure comments: “Smartphones can be moderated through proper policies, though it should be banned in specific sectors”