ITDMs’ Enthusiasm for Technology Comes with a Cost

New York , N.Y. – January 29, 2014 – Technology affects us in all sorts of ways. It can extend our lives and make them more entertaining, while also making us vulnerable to privacy breaches and thievery concerns our forefathers never could have seen coming. It can draw us closer together while also being criticized for keeping us separated by ever-present screens. A recent Harris Poll found that among the general population, U.S. adults are divided on how technology impacts the way we live our lives. Looking now more specifically at IT decision makers (ITDMs) – who due to the nature of their vocation are among those most connected to and dependent on communication technologies – reveals heightened positive feelings towards technology, but also some reservations about how it affects our lives.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 315 full-time U.S. IT decision makers interviewed online December 11-18 and 2,210 U.S. adults surveyed online June 12-17 by Harris Interactive. The IT decision makers portion of the study utilized the ITDMQuery platform.

Tech affection

It is perhaps predictable that majorities of ITDMs – and higher percentages than seen among the general population of U.S. adults – see technology as having benefitted them personally; it is worthy of note, however, that they are also more likely to see technology as benefitting people in general:

  • Technology has improved the overall quality of my life (86% ITDMs, 71% U.S. adults).
  • Technology encourages people to be more creative (79% ITDMs, 65% U.S. adults).
  • Technology enhances my social life (69% ITDMs, 52% U.S. adults).
  • I use technology as an escape from my busy life (65% ITDMs, 47% U.S. adults).

ITDMs are also consistently more likely than general population Americans to see technology as affecting key aspects of their lives in a positive way. While this might be expected for aspects of their professional lives, such as their work productivity (82% ITDMs, 34% U.S. adults) and work lives (76% and 34%, respectively), it’s worth noting that majorities also believe technology is affecting more personal aspects of their lives in positive ways as well:

  • My ability to live life the way I want to (66% ITDMs, 42% U.S. adults).
  • My productivity at home (64% ITDMs, 34% U.S. adults).
  • My safety and security (62% ITDMs, 36% U.S. adults).
  • My happiness (61% ITDMs, 41% U.S. adults).
  • Relationships with friends (57% ITDMs, 47% U.S. adults).
  • My social life (56% ITDMs, 41% U.S. adults).

Some reservations

But of course, nothing is perfect, and majorities of ITDMs do recognize that technology does come with some strings attached. For one thing, three-fourths of ITDMs (75%) say their employer expects them to always be on call or online due to the fact that technology makes this possible, vs. 43% of employed U.S. adults overall. Majorities also agree that:

  • Technology is corrupting interpersonal communications (65% ITDMs, 68% U.S. adults).
  • Technology has become too distracting (59% ITDMs, 69% U.S. adults).
  • Technology is creating a lazy society (57% ITDMs, 76% U.S. adults).

Roughly half of ITDMs also admit that their friends and/or family think they use technology too frequently (51% ITDMs, 25% U.S. adults).

Gotta have it

Given their vocation and aforementioned affection for tech, it should come as little surprise that ITDMs are more likely to show a dependent relationship to technology. They are more likely than the general population to say they could not live without Internet access (38% ITDMs, 28% U.S. adults), a mobile phone (31% and 26%, respectively) and a computer and/or laptop (30% and 24%, respectively).

But even among these top-tier tech users, human touchpoints still take precedence over technological ones, as ITDMs were as likely as their general population counterparts to say they could not live without their spouse or significant other (43% ITDMs, 45% U.S. adults) – so they’re human after all.

For more information regarding Harris Poll ITDMQuery, please contact [email protected].

To view the full findings, or to see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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TABLE 1

OVERALL IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON EVERYDAY LIFE

Summary of Strongly/Somewhat Agree and Strongly/Somewhat Disagree Responses

Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statements.

Base: U.S. ITDMs & Adults

 

Agree (NET)

Disagree (NET)

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

%

%

%

%

Technology has improved the overall quality of my life

86

71

10

23

Technology encourages people to be more creative

79

65

14

27

1 My employer expects me to always be on call or online because technology makes it possible [1among applicable respondents for U.S. Adults sample]

75

43

19

5

Technology enhances my social life

69

52

24

40

Technology is corrupting interpersonal communications

65

68

31

25

I use technology as an escape from my busy life

65

47

30

46

Technology has become too distracting

59

69

38

26

Technology is creating a lazy society

57

76

39

19

My friends/family think I use technology too frequently

51

25

42

63

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 2

POSITIVE/NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY ON MY LIFE

Summary of Positive, Negative and No Effect

How do you think technology is affecting the following aspects of your life?

Base: U.S. ITDMs & Adults

 

Positive effect (NET)

Negative effect (NET)

No effect at all

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

%

%

%

%

%

%

My work productivity

82

34

4

9

15

29

My work life

76

34

7

7

17

29

My ability to live life the way I want to

66

42

9

8

25

47

My productivity at home

64

34

14

23

23

39

My safety and security

62

36

11

20

26

40

My happiness

61

41

9

8

30

48

Relationships with friends

57

47

9

8

34

41

My social life

56

41

10

8

34

46

Relationships with my family

48

39

11

11

40

46

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 3

HOW LONG COULD LIVE WITHOUT SPECIFIC THINGS

Summary of Couldn’t, A few days and A week or more

How long could you live without each of the following?

Base: U.S. ITDMs & Adults

 

Could not live without it

A few days

A week or more (NET)

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

ITDMs

U.S. Adults

%

%

%

%

%

%

Social networking sites

8

7

18

9

72

78

Navigation system

10

8

18

7

70

69

eReader

7

5

12

5

71

63

Tablet computer

8

6

23

9

63

59

Mobile phone

31

26

26

19

43

51

Television

21

23

24

21

56

55

Sex

28

20

24

12

45

58

Computer/Laptop

30

24

30

25

40

49

Internet access

38

28

29

26

33

44

Spouse/significant other

43

45

19

9

31

29

Car

42

42

29

23

29

30

Food

69

73

18

15

13

11

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 12 and 17, 2013 among 2,210 adults (aged 18 and over) and between December 11 and 18, 2013 among 315 full-time IT decision makers (ages 18 and older, IT professionals with at least a major influence on IT decision-making at a company with 20+ employees). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #12, January 29, 2014

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll® Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client’s research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.