An Examination of Organization-Information System Fit from Perspectives of Technical Fit and User Fit

An Examination of Organization-Information System Fit from Perspectives of Technical Fit and User Fit

Andrea J. Hester (Department of Computer Management and Information Systems, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijsodit.2013040101
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Information systems have evolved into ubiquitous, Web-based technologies that eliminate the boundaries of time and space, and support higher levels of social interaction. In order to achieve the highest return from information systems, organizations must match the capabilities of technology with their environment. This research proposes a model of Organization-Information System Fit based on task-technology fit and theories of user acceptance. Organization-information system fit may be achieved by balancing technical fit and user fit. Technical fit can be characterized as congruence among process-technology fit and task-technology fit. The idea of user fit is introduced as a moderator of the relationship between technical fit and utilization. Higher degrees of both technical fit and user fit should result in positive impacts on utilization and performance.
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Traditional research models may not be adequate for evaluating modern information systems. A new approach to researching information systems is needed due to changes in the business environment, such as the rise of computer-based social communication and collaboration systems. This paper proposes a model to aid in the conducting of information systems research that we term the Organization-Information System Fit Model. The proposed model expands upon the theoretical foundations of Task-Technology Fit (Goodhue, 1998; Goodhue & Thompson, 1995) and theories of user acceptance such as Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989). In information systems research, congruence is often termed “fit”. In general, fit refers to a sufficient match between two or more components. Today's organizations require information systems that fit within both their technical environment and their user environment. Technical fit may be determined by a combination of process-technology fit and task-technology fit. User fit is a concept proposed by this paper to include a deeper understanding of user acceptance. Technical fit is important in order to achieve levels of usage facilitating improved organizational performance. However, user fit is also a key factor that may either facilitate or inhibit effective system usage.

Historically, the role of information systems has changed over time. In the 1960s the focus was on automating manual systems, primarily accounting systems. Information systems developed in the 1970s continued to automate existing business processes, but with a focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes. This was primarily achieved by integrating systems through the use of database management systems. In the 1980s, the integrated use of information expanded due to the creation of the World Wide Web. During that time, personal computer use emerged and gave rise to end user computing. Smaller, less expensive servers began to replace expensive mainframes. In the 1990s, the widespread use of computer networks improved organizational efforts at system and data integration. By the end of the 1990s and into this century, improvements in computer connectivity through intranets, wide area networks, and the World Wide Web enabled organizations to develop tighter relationships with business partners and to expand their operating environment.

Modern organizations operate in a global, Web-based environment. Modern information systems encompass technological innovations that bridge the connectivity gap presented by the drivers of mobilization and globalization. Mobilization refers to the capability of mobile computing. Laptops, hand-held devices and mobile phones are examples of technologies enabling mobilization. Globalization refers to “the integration and interdependence of economic, social, cultural, and ecological facets of life, enabled by rapid advances in information technology” (Rainer & Cegielski, 2011). Today organizations can easily reach business partners and customers world-wide. As the boundaries of organizations continue to expand, system users require ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing refers to any time, any place computing. Technology enables mobilization by facilitating physical movement. Technology enables globalization by facilitating virtual reach.

The Internet has matured from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. Web 2.0 essentially encompasses a collection of technologies, applications and websites. Web 2.0 represents a change from a one-way interaction between the user and the Internet to a two-way interaction. One-way interaction involves read-only capabilities, whereas two-way interaction allows for read-write capabilities. Exemplified by Wiki technology, Web 2.0 also facilitates increased social interaction and connection among users and an environment of social computing that promotes user participation and collaboration. Technology is no longer a tool that fulfills a narrowly defined set of processes, limiting the user to specific capabilities. Today we have the power to manipulate technology to provide capabilities for work processes that are highly collaborative and provide maximum performance (Zigurs & Khazanchi, 2008). However, the information system user serves as the gatekeeper to the technology bridge. Users hold the power to either open or close the bridge and to either engage in effective usage of the system or decline to accept the system.

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