Academic journal article Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences

The Influence of Individual, Task, Organizational Support, and Subject Norm Factors on the Adoption of Groupware

Academic journal article Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences

The Influence of Individual, Task, Organizational Support, and Subject Norm Factors on the Adoption of Groupware

Article excerpt


Groupware applications such as e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, instant messaging, and computer conferencing are important tools for increasing office communication and productivity, but relatively little is known about the factors involved in choosing to employ this technology. Selected variables from the Technology Acceptance Model were used to form a questionnaire administered to 409 Fortune 500 companies in S. Korea, and results showed that subject norms and individual, task, and organizational factors can be used to predict the use of groupware.


Office workers spend a large amount of their time communicating with others inside and outside of their organization (Long, 1987), and much of this communication is for the purpose of group coordination and collaboration (Mintzberg, 1983). To improve productivity, organizations have turned to computer network-based software that allows individuals who are distributed geographically to work together in a collaborative, computer-based environment (Orlikowski, 1992). This software, called groupware, includes asynchronous tools (e.g., bulletin boards, group calendars, file sharing, and project management) as well as synchronous, real-time applications (e.g., text-based Internet "chatting" and videoconferencing). While some researchers (e.g., Orlikowski & Yates, 1994) include electronic mail as a type of groupware, others (e.g., Coleman, 1997) do not, because it supports primarily person-to-person or person-to-group communication rather that the group-to-group or many-to-many communication so important in computer-supported cooperative work and collaborative computing. To meet this demand for groupware, several software companies have added these applications to their product lines, e.g., IBM (Lotus Notes), Netscape Communications (Collabra Share), Microsoft (Exchange), Novell (Groupwise), FTP Software/Hyperdesk Corp. (GroupWorks), Radnet (WebShare), TeamWare Corp. (TeamWare Office), and the Forefront Group (Virtual Notebook).

Although groupware technology can improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness, many implementations have not met expectations (Nunamaker, 1997). For example, some groupware has failed to be adopted by enough individuals in an organization to make its use beneficial. Other causes for failure include deployment problems where the technology was not available to those who could most benefit from it (Francik, et al., 1991), and a lack of a requirement for those who would not benefit from it to adopt it (Grudin, 1988).

With a modified version of the technology acceptance model (TAM) (Ajzen, 1985)--used in many prior studies to model the adoption of related, computer-based technologies (e.g., Agarwal & Prasad, 1997; Judy & Hsipeng, 2000; Teo, et al., 1999)--this study reports on a survey of employees in several, large South Korean companies to expand upon prior research of the factors influencing the adoption of groupware within organizations.


Research on the usage behavior of groupware applications is still relatively recent. For example, one study (Van Slyke, et al., 2003) used diffusion of innovation theory to investigate factors that influence adoption of one specific groupware application, Lotus Domino discussion databases. The study showed that intentions to use the application were influenced by perceptions of relative advantage, complexity, compatibility, and result demonstrability, but there were no significant relationships between intentions to use and perceived trialability, visibility, or voluntariness. Another study (Palen, 1997) of two organizations successfully using groupware revealed several technical, behavioral, and organizational factors that enabled initial adoption, and results showed that a set of social and technical factors supported a bottom-up adoption trajectory, leading to a critical mass of users whose subtle peer pressure propelled and subsequently maintained wider use within the organization. …

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