Business Administration Faculty Presentations

Social Influence on Employees' Technology Acceptance: A Case Study

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Event Date



Special Interest Group on Adoption and Diffusion of Information Technology (SIGADIT)


Paris, France


Although humans are found to be hardwired for being influenced by referent others from the same social realm (Cialdini and Trost, 1998), our literature review indicates that conventional technology adoption models (such as the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology, UTAUT) in Information Systems literature often implicitly assume that user beliefs are independent of what others say or do. Social information and communication are treated as external variables and are not considered directly. Moreover, the picture that these models paint is predominantly cognition-based with little colour of emotion except for Computer Anxiety (Compeau and Higgins, 1995). Although the technology adoption literature does have one research stream on non-instrumental outcomes, such as enjoyment (Davis, Bagozzi and Warshaw, 1992) and flow (Webster, Trevino and Ryan, 1993), its focus is mainly on human-computer interaction (Agarwal, 2000). Emotion-related topics that are ample in the organizational transformation literature are relatively less explored in extant technology adoption literature. The adoption of a new information technology at work invokes a series of changes in work procedures and relationships, which may be a hotbed of negative emotions such as anxiety and powerlessness. We draw on social information processing theory (Salancik and Pfeffer, 1978) and stress and coping theory (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984) to examine how case managers of one non-for-profit health resource coordination institute in Canada could be influenced by one another via seeking social support in order to regain the sense of control and/or to regulate the negative emotion aroused by the coming of a new information technology. Interviews with thirteen case managers were conducted to understand the role of communication in their emotional and behavioural response to the adoption of a new technology. At the end of the paper we propose an alternative conceptual model that incorporates communication and user emotion to enrich the existing understanding of technology acceptance.


Business | Health Information Technology | Management Information Systems


Information technology