Venkatesh et al. (2003). User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view.
Venkatesh et al. realized the disparate nature of multiple theories being applied to understanding how users accept technology. They sought to distill significant determinants from eight prominent theories (TRA [Davis 1989], TAM [Venkatesh & Davis 2000], MM [Davis 1992], TPB [Harrison], C-TAM-TPB [Taylor & Todd 1995], MPCU [Thompson 1991], IDT [Moore & Benbasat 1991], SCT [Compeau & Higgins 1995]). to form a Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). Testing empirically with derived scales, they found that this theory outperformed the original eight in terms of explaining user intentions to use IT.
Existing Models Comparisons
Through a literature review, the authors identify eight models used to describe user acceptance of technology (Table 1):
- Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)
- Technology Acceptance Model (TAM2)
- Motivation Model (MM)
- Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB)
- Combined TAM and TPB (C-TAM-TPB)
- Model of PC (personal computer?) Utilization (MPCU)
- Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT)
- Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)
For each model, they further identify core constructs that they use as predictors (e.g. subjective norm, perceived usefulness, extrinsic motivation, job-fit) to investigate user intent and usage behavior of technology use.
They also identify four moderators salient across the eight models:
- Experience (duration of exposure to the new technology)
- Voluntariness (whether it is mandatory to use the technology)
These moderators produce the contingencies under which the predictors work (e.g. younger workers may place more importance on extrinsic rewards). In the discussion, the authors argue how considering these moderators are important for a contextual analysis to help develop strategies for technology implementation in organizations.
The authors explored these constructs and the influence of the moderators through an empirical longitudinal study of new technology deployment in four organizations. They found some constructs more salient than others and distilled a set of eight of them to formulate their unified model. Constructs were measured through standard question scales extant in literature.
Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT)
Seven constructs (each composited from multiple constructs of the eight models) were identified to be significant. The authors theorized that four of them play a significant role as direct determinants of user acceptance and usage behavior (see Tables 9-12 for definitions):
- Performance Expectancy: perceived usefulness, extrinsic motivation, job-fit, relative advantage, outcome expectations
- Effort Expectancy: perceived ease of use, complexity, ease of use
- Social Influence: subjective norm, social factors, image
- Facilitating Conditions: perceived behavioral control, facilitating conditions, compatibility
The authors found evidence (Venkatesh 2000) that the effect of Facilitating Conditions on intention is mediated by Effort Expectancy, so the former does significantly influence intention in the presence of the latter. However, they note that Facilitating Conditions does impact usage behavior directly (see figure).
On the other hand, they theorized the other three not to be direct determinents of intention
- Attitude toward using technology
- Self efficacy
mainly because they were found not to be significant in the presence of Effort Expectancy.
The UTAUT was validated preliminarily on the data used to compare the original eight models, and on new data from two extra organizations for external validity. The authors found that UTAUT exceeded the other eight models by explaining 70% of the variance in the data.
- As mentioned in the paper's discussion, the original 8 models, and thus UTAUT, are "notably weak in providing prescriptive guidance to designers." However, it seems that considering the moderators, one may be able to begin building prescriptive rules. Can you think of design implications that can be drawn from them? Do you know of models that are more prescriptive?