Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


While organizations may purchase computer systems, ultimately it is people who have to use them before companies can achieve the anticipated benefits from technology investments. With a view to improving usage levels, understanding how people react to new systems has been a long-standing concern of practitioners and IS researchers. This research borrowed a behavior prediction model (Triandis 1980) from Social Psychology and applied it to the problem of understanding: the human factors that influence application software usage levels.;A longitudinal study was conducted on individuals voluntarily attempting to switch from one software application to another. A pretest yielding 38 responses was used to refine the survey instrument and implementation procedure. The main study yielded 160 pairs of usable responses from a sample of people purchasing competitive upgrades directly from a software vendor. The software upgrade context was either a presentation management application or a spreadsheet. The Partial Least Squares causal modelling technique was used to analyze the data.;Results indicated that use expectations for use of the new software and habits associated with previously used software were both strong predictors of a new application's use. Fully 50.5% of the variation in system use was captured. Of the factors hypothesized to influence use expectations, affect, computer self-efficacy, social contracts, and perceived consequences were all significant. Only the influence of norms on use expectations were not found to be significant.;This research has established that factors which influence other types of behavior also influence the behavior of voluntarily using a software application. For practitioners, this underscores the importance of the behavioral side of determining system use. The factors identified as influencing behavioral intentions also suggest specific areas for managerial attention during an application's implementation.;For IS researchers, the principal contribution of this work is the testing of a theory rich model in the IS field. Insight has been gained into the factors influencing voluntary system use. Psychometrically sound scales have been developed and refined for use with the theory. On a more general level, the results indicate the suitability of Social Psychology as a referent discipline for investigating system usage.



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