Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Impact of Personal Values and Innovativeness on Hedonic and Utilitarian Aspects of Web Use: An Empirical Study among United States Teenagers

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Impact of Personal Values and Innovativeness on Hedonic and Utilitarian Aspects of Web Use: An Empirical Study among United States Teenagers

Article excerpt

An empirical study was undertaken to determine the origins of teen Web-use. High school students (n = 200) from two diverse American cities answered questionnaires about their values and innovativeness (proposed antecedents of Web-behavior). As predicted, teen values relate to innovativeness and, in turn, innovativeness relates to hedonic- and utilitarian-Web-consumption behavior; innovativeness fully mediates the relationship between values and Web-use. Results support theories arguing that intervening variables act between highly conceptual variables (e.g., personal values) and actual behavior. Implications are offered for youth development specialists, parents, and educators.


Today's adolescents are becoming Web-savvy in ever-growing numbers. For example, 83% of American and Canadian youth (12-21 years) use instant messaging vs. only 32% of adults (Schadler, 2006). As the literature has suggested for nearly two decades, technology will exert a strong influence on teen futures and identity development (DeSantis & Youniss 1991 ; Montgomery 2000).

This notwithstanding, little empirical research has probed adolescent Web-consumption behavior (Hartman et al., 2004) in particular, and teen consumer behavior in general. Discovering the antecedents of Web-use could facilitate the creation of helpful approaches and tactics for teens. This study sought to determine if the two domains of adolescent Web-consumption behavior (hedonic and utilitarian) can be predicted, and if so, by what underlying factors.

The literature demonstrates that personal values are at the core of human cognitive and behavioral processes (Homer & Kahle 1988). Personal values are generalized beliefs about desired end states and motives that control goal-directed conduct (Feamer, 1995). Personal values impact attitude, choice, judgment, conduct (Feather, 1995), and innovativeness, which is essential to the diffusion of technological products and services (Schiffman, Sherman & Long, 2003). Research also indicates that personal values affect human behaviors such as Web-consumption behavior. However, it is unlikely that an abstract phenomenon such as personal values would exert a direct influence on a phenomenon as concrete as behavior. The literature has, for some time, demonstrated that consumption behavior is influenced by innovativeness (e.g., Ram & Jung, 1989; Venkatraman, 1991). More recent stuthes (Hartman & Samra, 2006; Steenkamp, Hofstede & Wedel, 1999) suggest that the source of innovativeness is personal values. Thus, we postulate that personal values will have a direct, positive relationship with innovativeness, and in turn, consumer innovativeness will have a direct, positive relationship with the Web-consumption behavior of teens.

Teen Consumers in the Digital Age

While there has been sporadic research of adolescent influence on family consumption in the past (e.g., Moschis & Churchill, 1979; Moschis, Moore, & Stephens, 1977) researchers have been inattentive to teens as buyers because of the assumption that adults buy most products and services. However, as adolescent buying power has grown exponentially, inattention has been replaced by interest (Corfman, 1997). There remains a dearth of scholarly research relating to teen consumers, particularly with regard to technological products and services, notwithstanding the popular and professional perception that teens display a natural acumen and affinity for such offerings. Society should take best advantage of technological advances, and this research contributes to that end.

Teens are frequently much more adept with digital media man their parents. They help their parents use computers and are frequently the family "high-tech" decisionmakers. From this role as technical advisor to the family, the teen can gain authority and independence (Bunn, 2000), which may explain why a majority of adolescents report being unmonitored while using the computer (Montgomery, 2000). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.