The Influence of Social Aversion and Institution-Based Trust on Computer Self-Efficacy, Computer Anxiety and Antecedents to IT Use

The Influence of Social Aversion and Institution-Based Trust on Computer Self-Efficacy, Computer Anxiety and Antecedents to IT Use

Elizabeth White Baker (Cameron School of Business, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Wilmington, NC, USA), Jason Bennett Thatcher (College of Business and Behavioral Science, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA), Michael Gundlach (College of Business, California State University, Chico, CA, USA) and D. Harrison McKnight (Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/joeuc.2014010101


Prior research has shown that proximal states are important mechanisms through which distal states relate to IT usage. In particular, the influence of distal traits tied to social activity has not been incorporated into the nomological network surrounding information technology (IT) use. Addressing this literature gap, the authors develop their research model using Social Cognitive Theory and examine how two distal traits, social aversion (SA) and institution-based trust (TRIT), influence computer self-efficacy (CSE) and other proximal state-like differences related to IT use. The authors' results show that SA and TRIT demonstrated influence on CSE and CA at the general and specific levels of analysis, and that CSE mediates the influence of SA and TRIT on PU and PEOU, yet does not fully mediate the influence of CA on PU and PEOU. The implications of their findings for research and practice are discussed, as well as avenues for future research.
Article Preview


MIS research has paid increasing attention to the influence of individual traits and proximal states, particularly computer self-efficacy (CSE), on technology use. CSE can be influenced through two major perspectives: as a malleable set of beliefs that can be manipulated (proximal states); and as a dispositional, individual difference quality that guides behavior (distal traits) (Agarwal et al., 2000). Prior research has shown that proximal states are important mechanisms through which distal states relate to IT usage (Agarwal & Karahanna, 2000; Agarwal et al., 2000; Chen et al., 2000; Thatcher et al., 2007; Thatcher and Perrewe, 2002). Examples from oft-cited literature include Agarwal and Prasad (1998a), who found that personal innovativeness with IT (PIIT) moderates the relationship from compatibility to intentions toward technology use, and Thatcher and Perrewe (2002) who found that trait anxiety positively relates to computer anxiety and general computer self-efficacy.

This research introduces individual distal traits to the model to investigate their impact on the proximal states of computer anxiety and specific computer self-efficacy. By investigating the specific context for technology use (Agarwal et al., 2000), and individual user traits’ impact on CSE (McElroy et al., 2007), these findings’ primary contribution will be to provide insight into how individuals form beliefs about IT competency and into designing interventions that foster IT use for increased business value. We developed our research model using Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) (Figure 1), extending Social Cognitive Theory and its application to IT usage by including additional distal traits and proximal states that are hypothesized to have an influence on computer self-efficacy. We examine directly how social aversion (SA) and institution-based trust (TRIT), enduring distal traits, influence the proximal states of computer self-efficacy (CSE) in both the general and specific context and computer anxiety (CA), as well as the traits’ relationships to perceived ease of use (PEOU) and usefulness (PU) of IT. By making and testing these theoretical connections, we contribute to the literature by showing their significance within the nomological network leading to IT use.

Figure 1.

Proposed research model (Trust in Technology refers to Institution-based Trust in Technology)

Beyond this primary contribution, we also seek to contribute to the literature in two other ways. First, we heed a call in the MIS literature to further examine the variable of institution-based trust. As discussed in Gefen, Pavlou, Benbasat, McKnight, Stewart, and Straub (2006), “IS research on institutional trust is sparse” (p. 3). Their work aims to motivate interest in examining this variable, given its important role in furthering our understanding of IT use. In this study, we explain how institution-based trust (as a component of trust in technology) theoretically relates to the other model variables, test for its significance, and discuss the importance of the findings with respect to its influence on CSE. Second, we address a call in the IT literature to further investigate computer anxiety (CA) (Brown et al., 2004), specifically to further understand how it operates theoretically in conjunction with CSE and other variables in the nomological network (Fagan et al., 2004).

The paper unfolds as follows. First, we develop our proposed research model and present the hypothesized relationships. Next, we conduct empirical tests for the influence of SA and TRIT on general and specific beliefs about IT. To conclude, the implications of our findings and avenues for future research are discussed, as well as the limitations of our research.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 31: 4 Issues (2019): Forthcoming, Available for Pre-Order
Volume 30: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 29: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 28: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 27: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 26: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 25: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 24: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 23: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 22: 4 Issues (2010)
Volume 21: 4 Issues (2009)
Volume 20: 4 Issues (2008)
Volume 19: 4 Issues (2007)
Volume 18: 4 Issues (2006)
Volume 17: 4 Issues (2005)
Volume 16: 4 Issues (2004)
Volume 15: 4 Issues (2003)
Volume 14: 4 Issues (2002)
Volume 13: 4 Issues (2001)
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2000)
Volume 11: 4 Issues (1999)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (1998)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (1997)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (1996)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (1995)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (1994)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (1993)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (1992)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (1991)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (1990)
Volume 1: 3 Issues (1989)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing