Advances in Applied Sociology
2014. Vol.4, No.2, 37-39
Published Online February 2 014 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/aasoci) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/aasoci.2014.42007
Social Influence of Migrant Workers’ ICT Using in China
School of Journalism and Communication, Southwest University, Chongqing, C hina
Received November 20th, 2013; revised December 20th, 2013; accepted December 27th, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Chun Mao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution
License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original
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reserved for SCIRP an d the owner o f the intellectual pr operty Chun Mao. All Cop yright © 201 4 are guarded by
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Social influence is one of the most important factors in changing one’s behavior. There are many factors
included in social influence of migrant workers’ information communication technology (ICT) using in
China. For example, family, friends, related agencies such as Trade Union and the Department of human
resources and social security, and the leaders of villages, play important roles in influencing the migrant
workers community to use ICT equipment. The primary research method is quantitative. There are 200
migrant worker respondents from 4 provinces. The result indicates that social influence on migrant work-
ers’ ICT usage is not high. Colleagues, family, and villagers do influence migrant workers’ use of ICT.
The lowest mean score in this research is relating to the relevant migrant workers agencies.
Keywords: Migrant Workers; Social Influence; ICT Using
Migrant workers in China are mostly people from impove-
rished regions (especially from rural area) who go to more ur-
ban and prosperous regions in search of work. They are the
main force for urbanization in the People’s Republic of China.
According to Chinese government statistics, the current number
of migrant workers in China is estimated at 262 million (Na-
tional Bureau of Statistics of China, 2013), approximately 19%
of the population. Most migrant workers come from Sichuan,
Anhui, Henan and Guangxi Provinces, and generally go to
Guangdong, Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai and the coastal pros-
perous cities. Overall, the Chinese government has tacitly sup-
ported migration as means of providing labor for factories and
construction sites and for the long term goals of transforming
China from a rural-based economy to an urban-based one.
Some provinces and cities have started providing migrant
workers with social security, including pensions and other in-
In order to meet the demands of development and moderni-
zation, various types of information communication technology
(ICT) have been offered to aid migrant workers to find work,
express willingness, communicate with home, improve literacy,
entertainment, ICT such as wireless intercoms, mobile phones,
e-mails, tablet computers, and so on. A number of researches
have been carried out about migrant workers’ ICT usage, along
with the social communicating aspect. Several studies have
focused on the impacts of demographic factors in migrant
workers’ ICT usage, such as gender, finance, age, working
location and using time on ICT usage (Huang, 2011; Zhou &
Lv, 2011). In addition, other studies discover the impacts of
behavioral factors on migrant workers’ ICT usage (Zhang, 2012;
Social influence is one of the most important factors in
changing one’s behavior. Social influence is defined as a
change in an individual’s behavior, feelings, thinking or atti-
tudes, and the change is based on interaction with other people
or groups. Raidah Mazuki (2013) considers that many factors
are included in social influence. For example, family, friends,
related agencies such as Trade Union and the Department of
Human Resources and Social Security, and the leaders of vil-
lages play important roles in influencing the migrant workers
community to use ICT equipment. This is related to one of the
missions of Trade Union, which is to create a developed, inde-
pendent and progressive migrant workers community. Gilligan
(2005) emphasizes the importance of social influence on ICT
usage, asserting that people who live in areas where levels of
ICT use are high will have higher levels of ICT usage, while
those who live in areas where levels of ICT use are low will
have a low level of ICT usage. Tian Qian (2012) considers
social effects have important influence on migrant workers’
adoption of new media, and finds that the attitude of migrant
workers colleagues and community is the most important fac-
This study is quantitative in nature, and a developed instru-
ment (questionnaire) was used to collect the data needed. This
study adopts the structure of close-ended and the Likert-Scale
five-point measure questionnaire. Each item is given a 5-point
scale with 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = slightly agree,
4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree. Each questionnaire took 20 -
25 minutes to complete. The questionnaire was developed in
Chinese. Questions with regard to social influence in using ICT
are associated with influence of family members, migrant
worker colleagues, agencies officers and village administration
members on migrant workers to use ICT.
After we finished the original questionnaire, we sent the
questionnaire for pre-tested in Lu county, Luzhou city, Sichuan
province. A number of 30 migrant workers were involved in the
pre-test process. The pre-test has resulted the Cronbach Alpha
Value of .679 which bigger than the recommended value of .60.
The resulted value has reflected the validity and reliability of
the questionnaire used. The data collection used in the real
investigate process was conducted in October 2013. Through
multi-stage simple random sampling, a total of 200 migrant
workers were chosen as the participants. All of the participants
came from four selected cities in China, namely Yantan district,
Zigong city (represented Sichuan province), Mengcheng county,
Bozhou city (represented Anhui province), Luoshan county,
Xinyang city (represented Henan province) and Mashan county,
Nanning city (represented Guangxi province).
Due to there are 4 diverse districts to be surveyed, we em-
ployed 4 trained and experienced investigators to execute the
data collection process. Data for the investigation were col-
lected for 1 month. We hand out 50 questionnaires in each dis-
trict, 4 districts totally 200 questionnaires. Recall 200 ques-
tionnaires, 183 questionnaires were available. To achieve the
objectives of the study, descriptive statistics such as frequency,
percentage and mean were employed to describe the general
data of the study.
Respondents Demograp h i c Da ta
Most of the migrant workers in this research can be consi-
dered as senior workers as the mean score recorded for their
age is 32; the youngest is 16, while the oldest is 50. Majority of
them received a low level of education achievement whereby a
total of 9.7% of them have completed only up to primary school,
79.5% finished junior high school (Now, China adopts the
nine-year compulsory education system, and it is free.). A few
have successfully possessed senior high school level of educa-
tion or secondary occupation education (10.8%). Most of the
migrant workers can be considered as experienced workers
based on mean score recorded for working experience which
was 11 years. Almost half of them (58.2%) have an average
income of RMB 2500 - 3500 per month.
Social Influence in Using ICT among Migra nt
Table 1 displays the results of statements regarding social
influence. The mean score for each item was used to describe
the strength of each item. The item “The majority of migrant
workers in my region uses ICT and encourages me to use ICT”
recorded the highest mean score (M = 3.69). The second high-
est mean score has two items, “My family encourage me to use
ICT” and “The officials of the village use and encourage me to
use ICT” (the two items both are 3.62), followed by the items
“My family use ICT” (M = 3.59). The lowest mean score is
item “There are free courses on the use of ICT (such as com-
puter, intelligent mobile phone, and internet) in my area” (M =
2.05), and item “Agencies provide financial assistance for us to
conduct activities that require the use of ICT” (M = 2.04).
In this table, there are 183 questionnaires available, each
item is given a 5-point scale with 1 = strongly disagree, 2 =
disagree, 3 = slightly agree, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree.
Based on the results obtained above, the influence of friends
is a major factor in using ICT among the migrant workers
community. This may be based on the fact that they spend most
of their time together. Nearly less than two months migrant
workers are at home, more than 10 months they work together.
At certain times, in order to find better work and maximize
their earning, they often talk about work and communicate with
short message, phone and web chat. Such durations offer more
time for them to share and learn new things with regards to
Percentage distribution of social influence items.
Disagree (%) Disagree
Agree (%) Agree
Agree (%) Mean
Relevant agencies promote the use of ICT in activities
related to migrant workers.
Agencies provide financial assistance for us to conduct
activities that require the use of ICT.
The rele vant government agencies support t he tasks and
activities that use IC T as their main medium.
The officials of the village use and encourage me to use
The majority of villagers here use ICT.
The majori t y of migrant workers in my region uses ICT
and encourages me to use ICT.
encourage me to use ICT. 7
My family use ICT (such as computer, intellige nt mobile
phone, and int ernet).
There are free courses on the use of ICT (such as
intellige nt mobile phone, and internet) in my area.
technology. In addition, villagers can drive migrant workers to
use ICT during social gatherings and breaks when migrant
workers returning home. Here, they can share their experiences
and views about technologies.
The results also show that 36.6% of respondents strongly
disagree with the item “There are free courses on the use of ICT
in my area”, 33.6% strongly disagree with the item “Agencies
provide financial assistance for us to conduct activities that
require the use of ICT”, and 29.5% strongly disagree with the
item “Relevant agencies promote the use of ICT in activities
related to migrant workers”. This is an unsatisfactory result,
since such assistance should be provided to migrant workers.
On the other hand, 14.7% strongly agree and 43.2% agree the
item “The officials of the village use and encourage me to use
ICT” (M = 3.62). Agencies and officials of the village play a
role as facilitators, and their function in encouraging and moti-
vating migrant workers by providing financial assistance for
them to use ICT in finding work and working better is crucial.
The results of these 4 items mentioned above, show that Agen-
cies and officials have already come to realize the importance
of using ICT in migrant workers, but the support is not enough,
especially financial ass istance.
Encouragement from family was also one of the factors con-
tributing to the use of ICT among migrant workers. More than
half of the respondents agree “My family encourage me to use
ICT” (13.7% strongly agree and 48.6% agree). In addition,
more than half of the respondents agree “My family use ICT”
(27.3% strongly agree and 37.7% agree). It was found that the
migrant workers were using mobile phones to communicate
with family members while at work. Sometimes, new genera-
tion of migrant workers use email, QQ, video chat, and so on.
Thus, communication becomes much easier, migrant workers
can reduce the time back to home, and spend more time on
working to earn more.
Meanwhile, villagers can also influence the use of ICT
among these migrant workers. The strong relationships, kin-
ships or friendships, bonds and attachments within the commu-
nity can intensify ICT usage among migrant workers. In addi-
tion, within the rural culture it is common for migrant workers
to spend their home time together conducting social activities,
such as playing cards, drinking and talking. This enables them
to share information and discuss problems with regards to their
Though some social influence factors such as family, col-
leagues and villagers do influence migrant workers’ use of ICT,
the overall impact of social influence on migrant workers’ ICT
usage is not high. The mean scores of all items included in the
questionnaire are smaller than 4, and some mean scores are just
only 2. The lowest mean score in this research is relating to the
relevant migrant workers agencies, which reflects the fact that
there is little encouragement and motivation to use ICT from
these agencies. There is still a lot of work to be done within the
scope of the China context, to guarantee that migrant workers
receive enough assistance and encouragement from their social
environment to further encourage them to use ICT in their
working and living.
Supported by “the Fundamental Research Funds for the Cen-
tral Universities” SWU1109056.
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