An Investigation of Factors That Influence Senior Executives to Accept Innovations in Information Technology

Article excerpt

To use innovations successfully and effectively the role of acceptance is crucial, especially for innovations in the field of Information Technology (IT). Several theoretical models from the technology and social psychology are available to support the implementation of innovations. Some of these behavioral models are empirically good verified and turned out to be relevant for practical applications. In this study one of these models, i.e. the Technological Acceptance Model, will be used to investigate empirically the factors which influence the IT acceptance and actual IT use of senior executives. Many characteristics and circumstances of senior executives will be included. Also a comparison with results of other studies will be made. The approaches of these studies are, among others, more restrictive than our approach.

1. Introduction

Senior executives are constantly being told that IT is the key to the success of the business, yet the so called IT productivity paradox leads managers to believe that investments in IT are reaching unprecedented levels with no commensurate increase in productivity. To measure whether IT investments deliver value, we must assume the technology is being adopted and properly used. Only few organizations get full value from their IT investments, either because people have not learned how to use technology well or because managers have not be taught how to manage its benefits [35]. A reason for the poor return on IT investments could be the lack of senior executive involvement in using IT and its applications. Consequently they have not been able to experience the benefits at first hand. As a result attitudes remain unchanged.

It could be argued when investigating the acceptance and use of IT that senior executives do not warrant special attention, especially because they form only a small percentage of the total user population. However, recent studies indicate that these individuals should be treated differently [15,21,27]. What distinguishes senior executives' work in particular is the willingness to adopt and use IT, the role model position, the confidentiality and integrity of the information they have access to, and their external orientation, and, hence, the IT tools they require. Senior executives as a rule have limited time to make themselves familiar with all features of any of the information technologies. They are basically indifferent regarding the IT tool as long as they receive the information they need for their decision making process. It is therefore likely that past studies aimed at assessing the factors that influence end user adoption of IT, will not hold per se for these executives.

In spite of the interest in IT in recent years, little is known about the forces that influence its use or the factors determining senior executive resistance to IT [30,34]. Most research of IT acceptance and use does not distinguish senior executives as a separate group. Moreover, to date, most studies use generic tools as word processors or e mail systems as IT tools under review. This article describes a study that sought to identify key factors and relationships likely to influence the use of IT by senior executives, in which IT is restricted to the role of a dedicated tool for senior executives, an Executive Information System (EIS). To make effective use of an EIS, managers must accept it, learn how to interact directly with aspects of the hardware and software, and adapt it to their requirements.

This study had two objectives:

1. What are the major factors that influence senior executives'use of IT, and in particular an EIS?

2. Which of these factors influence the actual use of an EIS, either directly or indirectly through user beliefs and attitude?

In this article we first deal with three theoretical models, which identify the important factors of the attitudes of persons towards information technology. Especially, attention is being paid to the acceptance of IT. …