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Title: Exploring systems usage at the feature level by reconceptualizing the dependent variable as a formative construct
Author: Shaw, Norman
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 7101
Awarding Body: The University of Reading
Current Institution: Henley Business School
Date of Award: 2011
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IT systems represent large investments in time and money and yet there is a productivity paradox‘ where productivity gains are less than expected. With today‘s powerful computers, the ability of users to adopt new features is being challenged by the multitude of capabilities that are designed into IT systems. When usage is volitional, some users only deploy basic features while others realize greater benefits through more advanced use. By enhancing feature usage, the return on IT investment can be increased for those systems already implemented. Theories of IT acceptance explain the factors that influence individuals‘ initial use of a system. Theories of IT continuance explain the factors that influence individuals‘ continued use of a system. However, the majority of these studies have been at the system level and have not investigated the feature level. This gap in the literature is addressed by developing theoretical propositions that combine constructs from these theories, in order to explain the factors that influence feature usage in post-adoption. The propositions are represented by a conceptual research model that is explored within the context of professionals who are a special case of volitional users because they apply their expertise with a high degree of autonomy. Past studies have not singled out such users and this gap is addressed by adding constructs to the model in order to answer the question of what factors influence systems usage by professionals. The context of the empirical study is the use of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). Conforming to a pre-structured design, an interview protocol is developed and used as the template to ask questions of physicians via phone interviews. The results, which are validated through a rigorous well-documented process, supported the theories of technology acceptance and IT continuance by showing that the allocation of time is a dominant factor. In addition, the professional association is able to influence its members, and, in the context of healthcare, the careful design of interventions can help less advanced users become more advanced thereby reducing costs and improving care for the benefit of patients, physicians and other healthcare providers. There are a number of contributions of this research. First, existing theories of acceptance and continuance are validated in the context of healthcare. Secondly, the theories are extended to explain the factors that influence feature usage by professionals. Thirdly, the dependent variable, level of use, is conceptualized as a formative construct and a process of consensus building with a panel of experts is employed as a novel method for validating its content. Finally, the research demonstrates that feature rich systems should be analyzed at the feature level.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available