Understanding the Influence of Team Climate on IT Use*

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article contributes to the technology acceptance literature by providing an enriched understanding about how team climate for innovation affects end users' IT use. Empirical data collected from 103 physicians shows that team climate significantly affects the use of a computerized physician order entry system through the mediation of performance expectancy and facilitating conditions. Team climate also affects users' subjective norm, yet subjective norm is not found to have a significant impact on IT use. Our findings confirm the importance of users' proximal social network in voluntary settings, demonstrating that team climate influences IT use behaviors by changing users' cognitive perceptions rather than their normative beliefs.

Keyword: team climate for innovation, social influence, internalization, proximal social network, physician, IT use

1. Introduction

Although organizations have made heavy investments in information technology (IT), the materialization of expected benefits from IT requires employees to use the technologies and assimilate them into their work routines (Devaraj and Kohli 2003; Liang et al. 2007). This seemingly simple requirement is a challenge due to the complex interactions among technology, organization, and individual users. Prior research has revealed that IT usually imposes its embedded business logic on adopting organizations and interrupts the organizations' existing workflows (Davenport 1998; Liang and Xue 2004). The disruptive nature of IT requires users to make substantial efforts from users to change their accustomed job routines and habits to adapt to the new technology, often giving rise to resistance to system use (Lapointe and Rivard 2005) and even failure of the IT investment (Xue et al. 2005). While organizations could mandate that employees use the IT that are critical to survival and success (Brown et al. 2002; Chae and Poole 2005), it is infeasible and sometimes impractical to make the use of every IT mandatory due to the complexity of IT-supported activities and user characteristics. First, certain activities such as knowledge sharing and transfer are highly complicated and difficult to control (Alavi 2001; Grover 2001); thus, the use of IT supporting such activities is usually not mandated by organizations (Malhotra and Galletta 2005). Second, certain users (e.g., physicians) possess inaccessible professional knowledge and are highly autonomous in performing their job-related tasks (Wallace 1995). Such professional autonomy makes it almost impossible to use formal rules or policies to enforce IT usage (Kirsch 1996; Ouchi 1979). Therefore, in many situations, IT use in organizations is inevitably characterized by some degree of voluntariness, and it is important to understand how to promote volitional IT use behaviors.

Previous information systems (IS) research suggests that social influence arising from users' proximal social networks, particularly their work teams in the organizational context, is effective in aligning their IT use behavior with organizational IT objectives (Kirsch et al. 2002; Kohli and Kettinger 2004; Sewell 1998). Sykes et al. (2009) contend that an individual's coworkers can be important sources of help in overcoming knowledge barriers related to complex system use and find that peer support within social networks plays a significant role in influencing employees' system use. To investigate how users' proximal social networks affect users' IT use behavior, we develop and test a research model derived from the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) (Venkatesh et al. 2003). Based on social influence theories (Fulk 1993; Salancik and Pfeffer 1978), we contend that team climate for innovation is an important source of social influence. We empirically show that it has an impact on IT use through enhancing performance expectancy and facilitating conditions, based on longitudinal data collected from 103 physicians. …