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Brad McKenna - University of East Anglia. Norwich, , GB

Brad McKenna Brad McKenna

Associate Professor in Social Uses of Technology | University of East Anglia


He focuses on how people use information technology and the social implications of technology use.



Brad McKenna is Associate Professor in the Social Uses of Technology in the Norwich Business School, UEA. He focuses on how people use information technology and the social implications of technology use. He has had global media interest in his work on ‘digital detoxing’ and digital-free tourism (where he studies the habits and responses of holiday-makers who were asked not to access any technology, including mobile phones, during their vacations).

In addition, he has been exploring the use of technology by older people from different settings - including how the elderly in China become more adept with tech use and how those in care settings can develop a more connected lifestyle through social media and online shopping. Brad is Vice Chair of the International Federation for Information Processing’s Working Group on Our Digital Lives. He has had papers published in many journals including the Journal of Travel Research, Computers in Human Behavior and the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Use of Technology by the Elderly

Social Implications of Technology Use

Social Uses of Technology

Information Technology

Digital Detoxing

Accomplishments (3)

Best Early Career Research Publication Prize


Best Information Systems Doctoral Thesis Award

2014 As judged by the Professors and Heads of Information Systems in New Zealand

Participant of the International Conference on Information Systems Doctoral Consortium

2011 Nominated by University of Auckland, and selected by ICIS Doctoral Consortium Committee (40 invitees only worldwide)

Education (4)

University of Auckland: D.Phil., Information Systems 2014

University of Auckland: M.Comm., Information Systems 2009

University of Auckland: B.Comm., Information Systems 2006

University of Auckland: B.A., Geography 2006

Media Appearances (5)

This is why we need to keep having virtual meetings after we go back to the office

Fast Company  online


Before the lockdown, people who voluntarily worked remotely were often marginalized compared with their colleagues working in the office. Studies show that remote workers could often feel professionally and socially isolated.

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New study outlines how work from home could adapt to continue effectively

Phys.Org  online


Dr. McKenna said: "Employers were forced to simultaneously test and embrace a high-trust culture. On the whole, employees proved that they can be trusted in this kind of environment, so that will influence how we work now and in the future."

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Here’s What Digital Detoxing On Vacation Really Looks Like

Bustle  online


Dr. Brad McKenna of the University of East Anglia's Norwich Business School said in a press release. "Many also pointed out that they were much more attentive and focused on their surroundings while disconnected, rather than getting distracted by incoming messages, notifications, or alerts from their mobile apps."

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Research by the University of East Anglia found millennials are becoming 'desperate to digitally disconnect'

ITV News  online


"Tourism and hospitality providers should notice the growing demands of digital-free travel and cater for this need by diversifying their operations design and planning.", Dr Brad McKenna, UEA's Norwich Business School.

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The Unbearable Lightness Of Traveling Unplugged

Forbes  online


But a new study from researchers in both marketing and information systems has found that if you do try it and get past the initial anxiety, your vacation time will – in many cases - be much more enjoyable without your devices. The results were published by Brad McKenna of the University of East Anglia, Wenjie Cai of the University of Greenwich, and Lena Waizenegger of Auckland University of Technology in the Journal of Travel Research.

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Articles (5)

Power and resistance: Digital-free tourism in a connected world

Journal of Travel Research

2021 Although digital-free tourism is growing in popularity, research in this area has not unpacked the complex power relations between humans and technology through a critical perspective. Building on Foucault’s analysis of power and resistance, we theorized technology as disciplinary power and conducted a collaborative autoethnography to explore how individuals resist the dominant discourse.

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Rethinking knowledge creation in information technology and tourism

Journal of Travel Research

2021 This letter is a rejoinder to Xiang, Fesenmaier, and Werthner (2020), who responded to our letter to the editor about knowledge creation in information technology and tourism (ITT) research (Cai and McKenna 2020). We believe the authors have misinterpreted our claims and failed to address our main points in relation to the lack of theoretical and methodological development of ITT.

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Knowledge Creation in Information Technology and Tourism Research

Journal of Travel Research

2021 We critique Information Technology and Tourism (ITT) research and make recommendations to enhance its theoretical and methodological development. Our recommendations are based on four critiques: (1) ITT is primarily a self-referential research area; (2) ITT is popular with tourism academics, but not in other technology-related disciplines; (3) ITT does not synchronize with its mother discipline of information systems; and (4) ITT is primarily focused on business applications of technology, with limited engagement of theoretical developments in social science.

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Imagine being off-the-grid: Millennials’ Perceptions of Digital-Free Travel

Journal of Sustainable Tourism

2021 The blurred boundaries between home and away facilitated by the ubiquitous connectivity have resulted in restlessness in private life, even on holiday. Disconnecting from technology on holiday could potentially contribute to travellers’ psychological sustainability. This article aims to theorise the perceptions of millennials towards digital-free travel (DFT). We interviewed 17 millennials and applied the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) qualitatively to uncover deep insights into their perceptions.

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An affordance perspective of team collaboration and enforced working from home during COVID-19

European Journal of Information Systems

2020 COVID-19 has caused unprecedented challenges to our lives. Many governments have forced people to stay at home, leading to a radical shift from on-site to virtual collaboration for many knowledge workers. Existing remote working literature does not provide a thorough explanation of government-enforced working from home situations. Using an affordance lens, this study explores the sudden and enforced issues that COVID-19 has presented, and the technological means knowledge workers use to achieve their team collaboration goals.

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