Cross-generational analysis of information seeking behavior of smartphone users

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16 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the predictive factors of information seeking behavior of smartphone users from the cross-generational perspective. Based on existing literature, the two most popular types of information seeking behavior of smartphone users were determined: social information seeking behavior; and functional/cognitive information seeking behavior. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire comprising 66 questions was administered online to 216 smartphone users of three age groups according to three generations: generation X, Y (millennials) and Z. Several predictive factors were examined for each of these information seeking behavior types: generation, gender, personality traits (the Big Five), daily usage time, period of ownership, various application utilization and the level of emotional gain from smartphones. Findings: There is a trade-off between the two types of information seeking behavior. Also, men exhibited significantly more functional/cognitive information seeking behavior than women, and younger generations reported significantly higher emotional gain and social information seeking behavior than older generations. Interestingly, significant differences in smartphone apps’ utilization, information seeking behavior types and their predictive factors were found among users from different generations. Extraversion was positively related to social information seeking behavior only for generations X and Y, while WhatsApp usage was one of the strongest predictive factors only for generation Z. Practical implications: This research has practical implications for information system design, education, e-commerce and libraries. Originality/value: This is a first study that systematically examines predictive factors of the two prominent types of information seeking behavior on smartphones from the cross-generational perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-739
Number of pages19
JournalAslib Journal of Information Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Functional/cognitive information seeking behaviour
  • Generation
  • Information seeking behaviour
  • Predictive factors
  • Smartphone users
  • Social information seeking behaviour


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