Year

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Information Systems and Technology

Abstract

Mobile alerts, notifications and location-based emergency systems are now an established part of mobile government strategies in an increasing number of countries worldwide. In Australia the national emergency warning system was instituted after the tragic Victorian Bushfires of February 2009 to enable the provision of public information from the government to the citizen at the time of an emergency. But, moving on from the traditional short message service notification to a more advanced location-based service, this study is an investigation of the major issues faced by government, business and society at large, towards the realisation of a fully fledged national location-enabled emergency system for personal mobile devices in Australia. The investigation is carried out with the main stakeholders of location-based services in Australia through a self-administered mail survey with the general public, in conjunction with a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants. The quantitative data is analysed mainly using the partial least squares method. The qualitative data is analysed using content analysis techniques. The findings show social acceptance of a national location-based mobile phone emergency service in Australia, in spite of general concerns about infringements in privacy. People acceptance of the service is largely driven by the trust placed in the government as the controller of the service, and in the service as an admissible useful means for managing emergencies. A number of barriers to the nationwide utilisation of the location-based mobile phone emergency service are identified and discussed, and a discourse of recommendations presented for the purpose of setting realistic objectives and expectations for the service in Australia. This study significantly contributes to the body of practical knowledge towards the development of more informed deployment and diffusion strategies for location-based emergency services in Australia. It also contributes to the scholarly literature offering new insights on the issues pertaining to the public offerings of location-based services in the domain of emergency management where comparable studies have been rather limited. In addition, the study contributes meaningfully to the current theories of acceptance by providing empirical evidence to retain the role of the attitude construct in the attitude-behaviour relationship, especially when studying the social acceptance of new electronic government applications and initiatives. Limitations of this research work and prospective directions for investigation are also presented.

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