Assessing IT Usage: The Role of Prior Experience


MIS Quarterly

December 1995, vol. 19, n°4, pp.561-570

Departments: Information Systems and Operations Management

Keywords: IT usage, user experience, Technology Acceptance Mode

A variety of models that incorporate attitudinal, social, and control factors have been advanced to explain IT usage (e.g., Davis, 1989; Davis, et al., 1989; Hartwick and Barki, 1994; Mathieson, 1991; Moore and Benbasat, 1991; Thompson, et al., 1991), of which the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis, 1989) is the most well known. One goal of such models is to develop diagnostic tools to predict information systems acceptance and facilitate design changes before users have experience with a system (Davis, 1989). However, empirical tests of these models have generally focused on either systems that were already in use by the study participants, or systems that the participants were familiar with, such as word processing packages and spreadsheets. Given this, it is unclear: (1) whether models such as TAM are predictive of behavior for inexperienced users and, more importantly, (2) whether the determinants of IT usage are the same for experienced and inexperienced users of a system. To address these issues, this paper reports on a study of 430 experienced and 356 inexperienced potential users of an IT system--specifically, a student computing information resource center. Using an augmented version of TAM that incorporates social influences and behavioral control, the experienced and inexperienced user groups are compared. To address issue (1) above, the model was tested to show whether it provides an equivalent understanding of usage for both groups. Then to test issue (2), specific paths in the model were compared between the two groups. The overall goal of this research is to assess the efficacy of the augmented TAM in helping, a priori, to understand the behavior of inexperienced users