Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Understanding how and why individuals use computers within their professional lives has been a longstanding goal of Information Systems research. In order to provide further insights into this phenomenon, from the perspective of Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986), two related studies were undertaken. In the first study, a model of individual behaviour based on Social Cognitive Theory was formulated and tested through a survey of approximately 1000 Canadian managers and professionals. The results of the study provide substantial support for the Social Cognitive Theory perspective. In particular, the findings highlight the important role of self-efficacy, individuals' beliefs that they can successfully use computers, in shaping both emotional and behavioural reactions.;The second study focused on the development of skills in two software packages, again using Social Cognitive Theory as a theoretical foundation. An experiment was conducted in which 88 managers and professionals were taught to use Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect through one of two training methods. The first method reflected the traditional lecture and practice approach to training. The second method incorporated behaviour modeling in addition to traditional methods. Modeling was found to influence self-efficacy and performance for training in Lotus, but not in WordPerfect. Self-efficacy was found to influence performance for both packages. Thus, the results suggested that training influences performance in part through its influence of self-efficacy perceptions, and that under some circumstances, training which includes behaviour modeling is more powerful than traditional methods of training.;The combined findings of the two studies underscore the need to consider self-efficacy perceptions in attempting to understand individual reactions to computing technology. On a more general level, they suggest that Social Cognitive Theory is a useful foundation for studies of individual reactions to computing technology. Several specific opportunities for applying Social Cognitive Theory within this domain are suggested in the concluding chapter.



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