Habit: How Does It Develop, and Affect Continued Usage of Chinese Users on Social Networking Websites?

Habit: How Does It Develop, and Affect Continued Usage of Chinese Users on Social Networking Websites?

Guopeng Yin (School of Information Technology & Management, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China) and Ling Zhu (College of Management, Long Island University Post, Brookville, NY, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/joeuc.2014100101
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Most IS studies considered post-adoption behavior as a cognitive process but rarely took a habitual perspective. The present study developed a research model to investigate the antecedents and effects of users' habit in the context of social networking websites (SNW). It used a two-stage survey and partial least squares (PLS) analysis to test the model. It found that a user's habit of using an SNW is developed through his prior usage, enjoyment, social interaction ties, and satisfaction, and that his habit consequently affects his online self-presentation desire and actual continued usage of SNW. The model accounts for 46.5% of the variance in SNW habit, and 33.5% of the variance in SNW continuance usage, respectively. This is one of the first studies that integrate the essential construct of habit with traditional cognitive, affective, and intentional factors into an SNW continuance model. The findings not only contribute to the theoretical development of IS continuance, but also provide insights for SNW practitioners to understand users' habit and develop sustainable strategies accordingly.
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1. Introduction

Over the last two decades research has largely focused on individual users’ initial acceptance of information systems (IS). Researchers developed, for example, technology acceptance model (TAM) and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) to study the antecedents that motivate individuals to adopt an IS (Lee, Kozar, & Larsen, 2003; Sun & Zhang, 2006; Venkatesh et al., 2003). Adoption is, however, the first step toward the overall success of IS. The long-term viability of an IS, in particular, depends on users’ continued usage rather than initial acceptance of the system (Bhattacherjee, 2001; Ortiz de Guinea & Markus, 2009; Venkatesh, Speier, & Morris, 2002). Nevertheless, little research provides insight into how and why people continue or discontinue to use IS after adoption (Jasperson, Carter & Zmud, 2005; Kim, 2009; Limayem, Hirt, & Cheung, 2007; Venkatesh & Goyal, 2010).

To address the question of IS continuance, two research streams have emerged and evolved recently. The first one adapts expectation-confirmation theory (ECT) from marketing literature to characterize post-adoption behavior as a cognitive process, that is, users consciously evaluate the IS for its value and usefulness (Bhattacherjee, 2001; Thong, Hong, & Tam, 2006; Liao, Palvia, & Chen, 2009; Limayem et al., 2007; Venkatesh & Goyal, 2010). Based on the perception and evaluation of the system, users then make decisions on intention to continue using the IS. The other stream of research, while recognizing the cognitive process in general, emphasizes that actual continued usage in certain IS is more likely a habitual and automated process (Kim, 2009; Limayem et al., 2007; Ortiz de Guinea & Markus, 2009; Wu & Kuo, 2008).

Social networking websites (SNW) are one of those IS, in which users’ habit might play an important role in continued usage. Unlike utilitarian systems used in workplaces, SNW provide personal online services that aim for realizing and enhancing users’ social value through self-presentation, self-expression, connection and interaction with familiar and unfamiliar people, and eventually self-fulfillment (Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Cheung & Lee, 2010; Doring, 2002; Steinfield, Ellison, & Lampe, 2008; Strano, 2008). It is thus likely for users to develop a habit of using such an individual-centered, convenient communication system regularly.

The issue of sustainable success of SNW has enjoyed increasing popularity in both industry and academia in recent years. In spite of the overall fast-growing user base, many SNW face the challenge of how to build a sustainable business model in order to remain financially viable (Heidemann, Klier, & Probst, 2012). The scale of active users and their post-adoption behavior is thus more essential for the success of SNW. In other words, the long-term viability and prosperity of an SNW depends on its users’ continuance usage. Only if the current users continuously and actively use the online service will the advertising-based revenue of the SNW be stabilized and sustained. In academia, regardless of the recognition of continuance usage, extant research on SNW remains mostly at the adoption stage, with little on post-adoption behavior. It is thus the objective of the present study to apply the theoretical understanding of IS continuance in SNW, and shed light for SNW researchers and practitioners on the cognitive, affective, and habitual factors in the actual continued usage of SNW.

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