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Research is emerging on the social implications of smart (cellular) phone usage. This research along with revelations by Apple that iPhones catalog phone usage along with location is raising ethical concerns. While firms such as Google and AT&T claim that any data gathered is done so anonymously, research clearly indicates that the level of knowing can be quite extensive. Some researchers, such as Harvard’s Nicholas Christakis, say that knowing user identities is not critical to the research that takes place. One thing is certain – increasing use of smart phones is revealing a lot about the way people act and interact. This information can be used to make very interesting predictions.


  1. Are smart phones information technology? Why or why not?
  2. Discuss ways that smart phones are changing organizations. Try to go beyond what is described in the article. How are smart phones changing norms in organizations? How do smart phones affect the way people work? What do the data about sharing apps tell us about the nature of working relationships?
  3. Imagine yourself as the manager-information processor. How would you put what you learned from the article to work in your organization?
  4. In what ways might data generated through smart phone studies be utilized as organizations plan?

SOURCE: R. L. Hotz, “The Really Smart Phone,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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