Understanding User Attitudes toward Information Systems: A Grounded Theory Approach

Understanding User Attitudes toward Information Systems: A Grounded Theory Approach

David A. Jank (Long Island University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-201-3.ch006
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People develop attitudes toward things in many ways. While direct experience can be the foundation of permanent attitude formation, both indirect experience and referential input from others are strong influences on both attitude development and changes in personal attitude. The psychological factors that govern attitude are varied. They are documented in the scholarly literature of many fields, and frequently reference the study of people and technology. Research in the use of information systems (IS), however, does not typically aggregate the psychological factors influencing user attitude. The purpose of this chapter is to bring together the divergent empirical evidence of IS user attitude formation. A grounded theory approach is used to formally identify and analyze this evidence. Such analysis can provide a more cohesive understanding of what is known about user attitudes toward information systems, and can offer an ontological framework for more formalized study of the relationship between people and information systems.
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Users of information systems develop personalized attitudes toward IS in much the same way they develop attitudes toward other things (Jank, 2010b; Hjørland, 2007; Hemingway, 1998). These attitudes result from neurocognitive reactions to situations and things, and mental assignments of personal feelings constructed within emotional and relational paradigms (Salzer & Burks, 2003; Bhattacherjee, 2001). Such attitude formation with respect to information systems is discussed in the scholarly literature across disciplines. Examples include research on systems analysis and design (Fidel, 2006; Stone & Stone, 2005), human-computer interaction (Pantic & Rothkrantz, 2003; Schmidt, 2000), human-information interaction (Jank, 2010b; Albers, 2008), medical information systems (Miller & Sim, 2004; Moehr, 2002; Cork, Detmer, & Friedman, 1998), and social computing (Wang, Carley, Zeng, & Mao, 2007; Bradley, 2006). This discourse provides convergent epistemological views that frame human attitude development toward information systems largely in terms of activity-based interaction with technology, and functionality of systems.

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