Goal Abstraction, Goal Linkage Dependency, and Perceived Utilitarian Value of Information Systems: A Mixed-Method Study

Goal Abstraction, Goal Linkage Dependency, and Perceived Utilitarian Value of Information Systems: A Mixed-Method Study

Sabine Matook (UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia) and Hans van der Heijden (School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/joeuc.2013040103
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Abstract

Prior research has shown that the utilitarian value of an information system influences user acceptance because of the way the system helps to achieve certain user goals. It is less recognized in the literature that users have multiple goals that influence a user’s perception regarding the information system’s utilitarian value. This paper extends this body of knowledge by incorporating different types of goals into a theoretical framework. Building on means-end chain theory, two goal characteristics are identified, goal abstraction and goal linkage dependency, that both exert an influence on the utilitarian value of an information system. Findings from a qualitative and a quantitative study indicate that perceived utilitarian value changes as goal abstraction increases, and that goal linkage dependency influences the similarity of perceived utilitarian values across goals. Implications are important because they provide insight into potentially contradicting user evaluations of information systems.
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Theory

Goals of individuals have been an area of extensive research interest, particularly in psychology (Austin & Vancouver, 1996) and consumer decision making (Gutman, 1982; Reynolds & Gutman, 1988). Goals are core factors in a number of theories, for example Maslow’s (1943) need hierarchy, Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory, Locke and Latham’s (1990) goal setting theory, and Carver and Scheier’s (1998) control theory. Goals are seen as immediate regulators of human behavior because they serve as frames of reference for an individual (Austin & Vancouver, 1996). Goals are desired states that represent consequences a person seeks to attain (positive consequences) or attempts to avoid (negative consequences) (Winell, 1987). As people strive to attain their desired states, they are prepared to exercise mental and physical efforts. The decision to act in a certain way is driven by the individual’s expectations of reaching the desired state (Erez & Kanfer, 1983).

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