Repository logo

Adoption of smartphone etiquette in the workplace in service-based business: the case of National Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In recent decades, smartphones have grown in popularity. Their growth has left the trail of indisputable proof of both improving and disrupting the workplace. Studies also suggest that users may develop addictions at work, which is caused by smartphone applications and the way they constantly increase user engagement. While good smartphone usage has beneficial impacts, bad usage has a negative impact on job efficiency in a business. The selected service-based business has implemented the usage of smartphones in the workplace to facilitate communication and access to current business platforms to improve service delivery. However, it is unclear how smartphones are managed at the workplace to ensure that they fulfil their primary function. It is a management responsibility to figure out how much time is wasted, owing to a lack of mechanisms to track smartphone usage. Smartphones have made corporate management much more complicated because managers have to manage, not only production but also the additional distractions that might stymie production if not properly controlled. It is unclear whether implementing smartphone etiquette in service-based businesses could serve as a guide for managing smartphones in the workplace. The smartphone conundrum in the workplace, warrants to be investigated to ascertain the extent of use, the impact on productivity and profitability. And finally, to address approaches to manage the smartphones in the workplace. As a result, this study aimed to investigate if the adoption of specific smartphone etiquette approaches that can be used to improve productivity and profitability in service-based business. The case of the National Botanical Garden in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. This study adopted the interpretivism paradigm as a philosophical guide to understand the views of the participants. The study employed the qualitative research approach to deeply understand the phenomenon of the smartphones in service-based businesses. A case study research design was used as the architectural backbone of the research to enhance the correctness of the findings. The target population of the study was the customer service employees of the selected service-based business. A sample of 267 was drawn from the 1,000 in the study population through purposive and convenience sampling techniques. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were used to collect data from 199 customer services respondents. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. The findings of the study revealed that smartphones have a high negative impact towards productivity and profitability in service-based business. This signified the importance of adopting the ‘smartphone etiquette approaches’ to manage the smartphones in the workplace. The findings of this study are valuable to service-based business managers as a basis for improving employees and business performance. The company's main goal is to increase its profit margins. Management can improve its performance by focusing on some elements that have a beneficial impact on a company's profitability, such as productivity through proper management of smartphone use in the workplace and reducing time used on non-work-related activities. This research is a significant step forward in comprehending the difficulties surrounding the influence of smartphones on business productivity and profitability in South Africa.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.