Human Factors in Adoption of Geographic Information Systems: A Local Government Case Study

By Nedovic-Budic, Zorica; Godschalk, David R. | Public Administration Review, November-December 1996 | Go to article overview

Human Factors in Adoption of Geographic Information Systems: A Local Government Case Study


Nedovic-Budic, Zorica, Godschalk, David R., Public Administration Review


How do perceptions, experience, attitudes, and communication behavior of local government employees affect the adoption of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology as an organizational innovation? Nedovic-Budic and Godschalk examine the largely unexplored of GIS diffusion inside local governments in terms of the impact of human factors, internal organizational context, external organizational environment, and GIS management activities. Using a multiple-case study off our agencies within a North Carolina county government, the authors find that GIS diffusion is a very complex process. They conclude that perceived relative advantage, previous computer experience, exposure to the technology, and networking are the most significant determinants of employee willingness to use new GIS technology, while organizational and GIS management factors strongly influence GIS diffusion. The research findings have important implications for devising strategies for effective incorporation of GIS and other information system technologies in public organizations.

Computerized geographic information systems (GIS) are increasingly used by public and private organizations as tools for storage, selective retrieval, and manipulation of spatial and nonspatial data. Local governments find GIS technology attractive for three major reasons: (1) spatially referenced data represent a large proportion (estimated at over 70 percent) of data processing in local government agencies (Somers, 1987), (2) information is considered a fundamental resource of government (Howard, 1985; Repo, 1989), and (3) pressure for improving government performance (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992; Gore, 1993) has prompted governments to look for more efficient ways of doing their work.

Availability of more affordable computer technology in the late 1980s coincided with the increased interest of local governments in GIS technology and its intensified diffusion. Difficulties in capturing the exact GIS adoption rate sometimes result in inconsistent approximations, ranging from 2 to 3 percent to over 30 percent.(1) In this article, we focus on the factors that influence GIS diffusion in local government agencies. We look at employee perception, experience, attitudes, and communication behavior as they affect the success of GIS implementation. Organizational and management factors are studied as important contextual elements in the diffusion process.

GIS Incorporation as Innovation Diffusion

Viewing the spread of GIS technology into local governments as a process of technological innovation, diffusion provides a systematic basis for analyzing adoption. Both scholars and local government decision makers need objective information on constraints and opportunities affecting GIS adoption. Diffusion of GIS technology can be observed at both macro and micro levels (Budic and Godschalk, 1994; Onsrud et al., 1993). Macro-level diffusion concerns local government decisions to acquire the technology (Juhl, 1989; Somers, 1991; Wiggins and French, 1991; Budic, 1993a). Micro-level diffusion happens within local governments when their agencies, organizational units, subunits, or individuals decide to implement the technology acquired by the parent government (Leonard-Barton, 1987). Corresponding to the two diffusion levels are the initiation and implementation phases of GIS diffusion (Zaltman, Duncan, and Holbeck, 1973; Rogers, 1983; Onsrud and Pinto, 1993). During the initiation phase, organizations become aware of an innovation (i.e., GIS technology), evaluate it, and decide about acquisition. Implementation encompasses installing the technology, developing a database, and using and maintaining the system. Acquisition of GIS technology is defined as the successful outcome of GIS initiation, while adoption of GIS technology is defined as the successful outcome of GIS implementation. Both GIS initiation and GIS implementation efforts may result in rejection of the technology.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Human Factors in Adoption of Geographic Information Systems: A Local Government Case Study
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.