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The inhibitors of technology usage Cenfetelli, Ronald T.

Abstract

Information systems (IS) research has focused extensively on the factors that foster adoption and usage. This prior research has focused on overall beliefs about system usage, antecedents of system satisfaction and other factors that facilitate system success, create positive attitudes and encourage usage. However, little attention has been given to what uniquely inhibits usage. The inhibitors of usage are implicitly assumed to be the opposite of the facilitators. This dissertation explores the unique factors of IS that lead solely to the rejection of IS usage. I will posit that usage inhibitors deserve their own independent investigation based upon the dual principles of asymmetrically negative effects and incongruence with user needs. These inhibitors are proposed to exist and act uniquely apart from the extensive set of positively oriented beliefs well established in the information systems literature. As unique beliefs, they can add to our understanding of the antecedents of usage or lack of usage. Such inhibitors may not only be important to the IS usage decision, they may be more important than the enabling beliefs. In addition to the factors that discourage use and the resulting impacts on a user's decision to use (or not use) a technology, I also investigate the role of emotions in this decision process. Emotions are a key part of human decision-making and have arguably been overlooked in past research on human-computer interactions. Emotions transcend the rational, cognitive part of our selves and are a large part of what makes us human. Previous research into the use and acceptance of technology has not sufficiently investigated the broad and numerous emotions that humans are capable of feeling towards technology and its use. One can be fond of their personal digital assistant, irritated by pop-up ads and nervous when their computer "freezes". This dissertation proposes a rich measure of emotions applicable to a technology context and embedded within a guiding theory defending emotions as significant antecedents to technology usage. In summary, this dissertation explores the role of the inhibitors of technology use, their nature and effects on usage as well as the emotional and cognitive users have as a result of IS use. Three studies were conducted towards this end. First, an exploratory study was performed within the context of e-Business to identify factors that encouraged as well as discouraged usage behavior. The study also explored the various positive and negative emotions felt by users during their usage experiences. The results of this study were used in a second study to identify and categorize a broader and more generalizable set of factors that act as use inhibitors. A third and final study examined the inhibitor factors, emotions, cognitive beliefs and use intentions of 387 participants in a scenario-based exercise involving a variety of actual e-Business websites. The results support that usage inhibitors are qualitatively different from established system enablers and that they only negatively bias beliefs about the attributes of a system. Emotions are also shown to be important factors in technology use with negative emotions being particularly predictive of a user's intentions. The overall results add to our understanding of IS design and functionality and why users may choose not to use a system.

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