Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Factors Affecting Perceived Satisfaction with Microcomputer Systems

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Factors Affecting Perceived Satisfaction with Microcomputer Systems

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The microcomputer is the small business' data processing tool, offering the potential for timely and accurate reports which improve management decision making. With the tremendous growth of the use of microcomputers, there is a need to evaluate its effectiveness in the small business setting to aid the future development of successful systems.

There have been many measures of success in the use of microcomputers, including: amount of usage, cost savings, increased profitability, timeliness of information, quality of information, and user satisfaction. This research discusses those factors that appear to be related to microcomputer satisfaction of small business users.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SATISFACTION

It is usually difficult to measure the effect of microcomputers on business costs or profits because of the many uncontrolled variables, including the economic cycle and competition, which confound the relationship. Moreover, the measures of success that include amounts of usage or quality and timeliness of information are often hard to equate with successful business outcomes. User satisfaction as a measure of success, however, avoids these problems.

Cerullo (3) found that MIS professionals consider user attitudes to be the single most important success factor. For small business this makes considerable sense, since the available resources and expertise with microcomputers may be very limited. Unable to buy the expertise that will insure a successfully working system, the small business manager often must rely on his own efforts (11). Therefore, the link between the small business manager's attitudes toward the system and its successful operation is more direct.

Galletta and Lederer (16) agree and indicate that user satisfaction impacts in three critical areas: fulfillment of MIS department goals, user quality of work life, and extent of voluntary system usage. From the small business manager's point of view, the primary function of the computer is improved access to usable information, leading to greater management control. A dissatisfied user can find computer work unpleasant, undermining support for the microcomputer system, thereby compromising MIS and business goals. Dissatisfaction can also lead to dysfunctional behavior in the employee of a small business, including absenteeism, tardiness or voluntary termination. Moreover, system usage and level of satisfaction are related through motivation to perform, based on attitude-action linkages. This enables us to expect the more satisfied users to voluntarily use the system to a greater extent than dissatisfied users. This association has been borne out in a number of studies (10, 16, 17).

PREVIOUS RESEARCH

The bulk of research in the satisfaction - MIS area has been concerned with large business computer systems. The absence of comprehensive small business research is noteworthy for two important reasons. First, the low cost of microcomputer systems has made their use widespread among small business, so research in these organizations can have an important impact on MIS implementation strategies. This is underscored by the fact that small businesses employ 55 percent of the nation's workforce, produce 55 percent of all innovations and account for 38 percent of the nation's Gross National Product. secondly, Ein-Dor and Segev (5) and Lucas (9) have found that organizational context varies by organization size and is an important factor that influences the successful implementation of an information system. Moreover, small businesses are different than large concerns in many specific respects that are important to the MIS function (4,15,18). Small businesses tend to: (a) focus during computer implementation on equipment instead of on software or personnel, (b) suffer from a lack of monetary resources for salaries and training, (c) possess insufficient external information on which to base decisions, (d) have greater reliance on outside resources for programming, and (e) focus to a greater extent on basic EDP applications, such as payroll, inventory, and general ledger. …

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