The impact of mobile phones on the well-being of micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia

by Misita Anwar

Institution: Monash University
Department: Caulfield School of Information Technology
Year: 2014
Keywords: Mobile phones; Micro-enterprise; Capability approach; Human development; Indonesia
Record ID: 1054302
Full text PDF: http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/978405


Studies suggest that both mobile phones and micro-enterprises contribute significantly to social and economic development in developing countries. More recently, the discourse of development has changed. Development is no longer conceived of and measured by only in economic terms, but is also linked to social well-being, political structures, the physical environment, and human development (which is about giving people choices and enhancing individual ability to pursue preferred values). Research into use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in developing countries needs to be re-adjusted to keep in step with the current approach where well-being (such as social relations within a community, gender, and the psychological and religious spheres) need to be considered. Current research on ICT for Development (ICTD) and particularly on mobile phones and micro-enterprises is lacking consideration of these spheres. This study focuses on understanding the impact of mobile technologies for human development in Indonesia. The central question that is addressed is whether, under what conditions, and how mobile phones can enhance the ability of individuals and communities to create and use opportunities to achieve the lifestyle which they value for themselves. Drawing on qualitative research design, this study investigates the use of mobile phones and their implications for micro-entrepreneurs’ well-being in Indonesia. Fieldwork was done in two cities in Indonesia, which are Makassar and Bandung. A grounded analysis is used to guide collection of data and to construct theory from the data. The findings from the interviews and observations led to an extensive exploration of business and personal usage of mobile phones, well-being perceptions of micro-entrepreneurs, defining elements of well-being, the dynamic proportion and inter-connections between elements, and the inter-relationships between mobile use and well-being perceptions. The findings are presented as models depicting the impact of mobile phones on micro-entrepreneurs’ well-being. The research explores the usefulness of the Capability Approach (CA) as a human development perspective.