Exploring Work-Related Smartphone Dependency Among Young Working Adults in China: A Qualitative Approach

Li Li, Trisha T. C. Lin


This study extends the application of media system dependency theory to explore the work-related dependency relations of young working adults with their smartphones and the antecedents of such smartphone dependency. By conducting semistructured interviews with 32 young employees in China, this study showed that Chinese young workers mainly depend on their smartphones for understanding (e.g., being updated of the events in their work), orientation (e.g., performing work-related actions), and communication (e.g., contacting and interacting with colleagues) at work. Three task attributes (i.e., task interdependence, task mobility, and time criticality) and organizational norms influence the work-related smartphone dependency of Chinese young workers. Implications for theories and practices are discussed.


smartphone dependency, young working adults, dependency relations, task characteristics, organizational norms

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