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Title: Investigating the link between users' IT adaptation behaviours and individual-level IT use outcomes using the coping model of user adaptation : a case study of a work system computerisation project
Author: Kashefi, Armin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 2938
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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The benefits of new IT-induced organisational changes, such as new organisational information systems (IS), depend on the degree that system users adapt by proactively changing themselves, their work routines, and even the technology itself in order to reap its strategic capabilities and advantages. However, researchers are increasingly concerned that IS research has provided very little indication about how IS users’ IT adaptive strategies are formed and evolved over time and how such adaptive behaviours employed by IS users influence subsequent IT use and individual-level performance outcomes. This thesis investigates in-depth the evolution of IT adaptation behaviours towards disruptive IT events in the case study of a Medical Clinic attached to one of Iran’s elite Oil and Gas industry companies. The case study investigated the individual coping behaviours of the employees of this Medical Centre as a consequence of the introduction of a mandatory Work System Computerisation (WSC) initiative. Work System Computerisation project refers to both the replacement of manual work processes with computers as well as modernisation of the existing out-dated computerised work systems in the medical centre under investigation. According to the case study, each of the seven sub-units of the Medical Centre implemented a different WSC scheme and the consequences of the introduction of the scheme resulted in differing outcomes among the employees of those sub-units, such outcomes being related to a complex interplay of the individuals’ coping behaviours, appraisals and emotional responses and the environment. The term ‘Disruptive IT event’ in this study refers to any enhanced or completely new information technology in different units within the medical centre (i.e. Work System Computerisation schemes) that replaced and disrupted existing work processes/practices and had resulted in disruptive and unpredictable changes to users’ daily routines. The theoretical lens used in this study is the Coping Model of User Adaptation (CMUA) elaborated by Coping Theory, which also underpins the model. CMUA provides a useful theoretical basis for deeper understanding of users’ adaptive responses to a new work information system (IS) as well as direct analysis of the impact of such adaptive responses on system usage. The other theoretical concept used, which addresses issues not readily covered by the CMUA, was a typology of adaptive behaviours from Roth and Cohen (1986): avoidance vs. approach. This allows for further clarification of how different types of individual-level adaptation acts evolve over time and affect individual-level IT use outcomes. Furthermore, how these various adaptive acts enhance or hinder the extent to which the new IT is used can also be explained. The research questions guiding this thesis are as follows: (1) How do IS users’ adaptation tactics and strategies evolve over time when dealing with a disruptive IT event? (2) How do alterations in users’ coping strategies subsequently influence their IT use outcomes and overall performance? The study’s methodological approaches and underlying philosophical assumptions followed an interpretive research approach. A broadly interpretive approach was adopted in this study with the aim of understanding the complexity of human sense making and their IT adaptation behaviours as the situation emerges. The research was carried out in one state of Iran, Mashhad, and took place during the period of 2011-2012. The findings of this thesis have both theoretical and managerial implications. From a theoretical perspective, this study expands on the work of Beaudry and Pinsonneault (2005) who suggested that the process of user adaptation could be understood in light of coping theory. The results of this study and the additional identified perspectives and enhancements which are represented in the following ways could help to advance the field of user IT adaptation behaviours in IS research. This study contributes to the existing IT adaptation literature by providing rich insights into the phenomenon of user IT adaptation behaviours within the context of Iran. Adopting an interpretive approach through a longitudinal process-oriented perspective has provided a greater understanding of the patterns of user adaptation to IS, users’ psychological constructs, initial patterns of their coping strategies, the alterations in such coping efforts over time, and the consequences of these evolutions on IT use outcomes in different divisions within a healthcare environment. The appraisal of ‘challenge’ is an influential contributor to the users’ subsequent adaptation process that CMUA is mute about it. The findings indicate that since the challenge appraisal represents a ‘positive stress’, some levels of challenge are useful to mobilise IS users towards IT adoption and use. The correlated concerns identified in the research (i.e. a web of complex personal, social and technical concerns) play a vital role on users’ adaptation processes following the IT implementation and over time. This highlights the importance of feedback loop in the adaptation process (which represents users’ revaluation process), and how the direct and indirect impacts of such interventions affect users’ reassessments of the IT event and their subsequent efforts and outcomes.  The concept of emotion that is missing from CMUA is influential especially where non-IT savvy users’ behaviours toward significant IT events may be influenced by extreme emotions.  Outcomes of this study highlight the theoretical importance of preserving the distinction between approach-, and avoidance-oriented emotion-focused behaviours in exploring how emotion-focused behaviours may influence behavioural outcomes such as system usage. The consideration of parallel processes for users’ IS appraisal is another area of theoretical expansion. The findings also suggest implications for practice as well as directions for future research. Understanding how employees’ IS appraisals considerably affect coping efforts and ultimately their technology performance outcome is critical for successful IT implementations and use in work settings. The results could assist decision makers in assessing user adaptation concerns and the intensity of such apprehensions at each phase of the change process and hence address them more effectively.
Supervisor: Abbott, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Coping ; Cognitive appraisal ; Adaptation ; Performance outcome ; Disruptive IT