Cellular phone as a collaboration tool that empowers and changes the way of mobile work: focus on three fields of work
The development and spread of cellular phones have been remarkable in recent years, and these phones are becoming an integral part of the social infrastructure. Owing to mobile technology, especially cellular phone technology, the way of working that entails being unconstrained by time and space has flourished. Over a period of five years, we have investigated various fields of work that involve mobile workers such as sales representatives and repair technicians. Cellular phones were observed to have had a significant influence on task organization and the structure of communication in these fields of work. This paper describes how mobile workers have incorporated this new technology into their work creatively and constructively. Furthermore, it describes how cellular phones have changed the relationship between and enhanced the communication network among coworkers and customers. As a result, we demonstrate how cellular phones are evolving into a type of collaborative tool that supports collaborative work between mobile workers, instead of a communication tool that merely connects two individuals. In other words, based on ethnographical observation, we show that cellular phones are a fundamental element of CSCW technology for mobile workers.