How could we reconceptualize the system usage construct to provide a strong theoretical basis?
This paper presents a systematic approach for reconceptualizing the system usage construct in particular contexts. The approach consists of two stages, definition and selection, allow researchers to solve issues of the lack of theory and lack of validation in system usage studies.
Why We Need to Reconceptualize System Usage?
Two concerns: 1) No theory. Few studies discuss how theory informs their choice of usage measures. In absence of a theoretical basis, an abundance of measures could be problematical. 2) No validation. Almost no validation of the usage construct has been conducted. After all, past studies have provided mixed conclusions about the link between system usage and individual performance.
A Staged Approach for Reconceptualizing System Usage
1. Definition Stage: Define the distinguishing characteristics of system usage and state assumptions regarding these characteristics.
2. Selection Stage: Choose the best measures for the part of the usage activity that is of interest.
- Step 1: Structure. Select the elements of usage that are most relevant for the research model and context.
- Step 2: Function. Select measures for the chosen elements that tie to the other constructs in the nomological network.
Empirical Investigations of the Approach
Using the two-stage approach, authors develop a model of system usage and individual task performance. The result from the approach is a higher-order construct, exploitive system usage, which is expected to be more beneficial than other less strong constructs such as cognitive absorption and deep structure usage.
Empirical Test of the Approach
To compare performances of measures, authors conduct a lab experiment to university students. The results show that a very rich measure of usage (exploitive system usage) yields almost three times the variance explained by the lean measure (duration) and consistent positive effects on performance.
This paper provides a way to explicitly conceptualize and reconceptualize system usage in IS research.