The Exercise of Personal Agency by Mobile Phone Use: A mixed methods study study among young people in Mumbai, India
D'Souza, Darryl (2011) The Exercise of Personal Agency by Mobile Phone Use: A mixed methods study study among young people in Mumbai, India. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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The objective of this study is to explore if mobile phone users exercise a higher ability to
accomplish goals in daily life than mobile phone non-users. The ability to accomplish
goals in daily life is referred to as Personal Agency in this study. In a particular manner
this study explores the exercise of Personal Agency in managing contingent situations
and in maintaining regular relationships in the daily lives of individuals. This study also
set out to explore the capabilities that mobile phone use promotes in individuals which
assist them to exercise Personal Agency. This study addresses these objectives by using
the Empirical model of Agency by Hitlin and Elder Jr..
This study was conducted using the Mixed Methods approach. In keeping with this
approach, the Quantitative and Qualitative data was collected from young people
between 16 and 19 years belonging to Middle Class families in Mumbai. The data was
collected through a survey, semi-structured interviews and group discussions.
The Quantitative results of this study indicated that Personal Agency and Frequency of
mobile phone use co-vary in relation to each other. The exercise of Personal Agency
increases with the increase in Frequency of mobile phone use. It also indicated that the
exercise of Personal Agency was higher among mobile phone users than mobile phone
non-users. The Qualitative data demonstrated that Personal Agency was enhanced by the
tri-capabilities of ‘Contactability’, ‘Organizability’ and ‘De-restriction’ which are
facilitated by mobile phone use.
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