Chair or Co-Chair
Saurabh Gupta, PhD
Committee Member or Co-Chair
Adriane Randolph, PhD
Stacie Petter, PhD
The use of information technology (IT) is foundational to modern work systems. However, the IT use construct is not fully understood and has not been clearly defined. Confounding the understanding of IT use are similar, yet often conflicting, conceptualizations, indicative of the jangle fallacy. The jingle fallacy is also found in the inconsistent measures employed to study the IT use construct. Consequently, the existing literature does show that there are multiple forms of use. Further, adoptive IT use has long been understood to be fundamentally different from post-adoptive IT use, but few theories have sought to bring these two concepts together. Clarity of the IT use construct is fundamental to designing and understanding how managers may influence users toward different kinds of IT use.
This dissertation seeks to resolve these fallacies in the IT use construct by developing a theory of workplace IT use. It conceptualizes individual IT use as a socio-technical construct, instead of purely a social (i.e., perceived) or technical (i.e., objective) construct. It proposes to resolve conflicts about the conceptualization of IT use by developing a general definition of IT use and three IT use constructs that may be employed in research: initial use, continued use, and novel use. Using structuration theory as a metatheoretical lens, we also developed antecedents to IT use that take the form of modalities, which are internal perceptions of the user, and structural dimensions, which exist in the environment and may be influenced by managers. Modalities are conceptualized as higher-order constructs, with their first-order constructs drawn from existing IT use literature. Influences from the environment exhibit one or more structural dimensions, which are new first-order formative constructs.
The research design for this study drew on methodological pluralism, using qualitative and quantitative methods. Using this mixed-methods approach to test the theory of workplace IT use allowed the development of rich insights, overcoming limitations of each method used by itself, and developed a more complete understanding of phenomena. First, we conducted a Q-sort to identify items from the IT use literature that best measured initial, continued, and novel use. Second, we conducted a Web-based survey of 386 business technology users to test the model. The data was analyzed using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to evaluate hypotheses.
This research identifies specific structures as being antecedents to specific types of use, refining our understanding of the IT use construct. The findings validating the nomological network of the theory. Evidence supports the difference in post-adoptive IT use types based on the goals and activities of the user. The result is a robust set of IT use constructs and antecedents that may be employed in future research. This implies practitioners who wish to move users toward a specific post-adoptive use type may reproduce the specified structures in their organizations and reap the unique benefits of these use types. Future research directions using the theory of workplace IT use are also discussed.
Available for download on Monday, April 21, 2025