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Reading: Mobile Phones and the Development of Social Capital among Small Malaysian Retailers

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Mobile Phones and the Development of Social Capital among Small Malaysian Retailers

Author:

Tom E Julsrud

Was with Telenor Research and Innovation Center, Asia Pacific (TRICAP), Selangor Malaysia. He is now with Norwegian Centre for Transport Research, NO-0349 Oslo, NO
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Abstract

In much literature on social capital, it has been a widely held assertion that networks of informal relations are beneficial for the development of local regions as well as larger nations. In the last decade mobile communication tools have rapidly saturated several markets in Asia, promising to contribute positively to social capital development. This might have important implications for small businesses that in many cases have limited access to PCs. Yet, very few studies have managed to conduct empirical studies of how mobile phones actually are used among small enterprises, and how this affects on the way they handle their business relations. This paper discusses about an in-depth study of small Malaysian retailer’s use of mobile phones to build up and sustain their business related connections. Based on qualitative interviews and tracking of their mobile calls /messages we found that the mobile phone was mainly used to support stronger ties in their networks. The boundaries between family, friends and business relations are highly blurred and friends and families are the main communication partner for the mobile use. The mobile phone is also extensively used to coordinate business internal tasks during the day and in-between face-to-face meetings with suppliers.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/icter.v4i3.4676

International Journal on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions 2011 04 (03) :26 – 38

How to Cite: Julsrud, T.E., (2012). Mobile Phones and the Development of Social Capital among Small Malaysian Retailers. International Journal on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions (ICTer). 4(3), pp.26–38. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/icter.v4i3.4676
Published on 21 Sep 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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