An Empirical Analysis In To The Antecedents Of PDA Adoption: Comparing The Effects Of Innovation Factors On Attitudes And Behavioral Intent
As new technologies inundate the market the understanding of key variable factors that can predict their diffusion has become paramount. The diffusion of innovations paradigm (Rogers, 1983, 1995; Rogers and Singhal, 1996) provides demand side explanations of how new innovations are communicated, evaluated, adopted, and reevaluated by consumers (Williams, Strover, and Grant, 1994). According to the theory, adoption decisions are subject to four major factors namely, adoptersí personality traits, socioeconomic influences, interpersonal and mass media influences, and the perceived attributes of the innovation. These perceived attributes are key determinants of adoption decisions and thereby the rate of diffusion. The current study focuses on a relatively new innovation Ė the PDA or the Personal Digital Assistant, and explores key attributes that predict behavioral intention by potential adopters by applying a research model based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis, 1989).
TAM is an adaptation of the theory of reasoned action (TRA) (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975) and is tailored for modeling user acceptance of information technology. TAM is a robust model that provides explanation of user behavior across a broad range of end user computing technologies and user populations (Davis et al., 1989). According to TRA, a personís performance of a specified behavior is determined by his behavioral intention (BI), and BI is jointly determined by the personís attitude (A) and subjective norms (SN) concerning the behavior in question. Similar to TRA, TAM postulates that usage is determined by BI, but differs in that BI is viewed as being jointly determined by a personís attitude toward the system (A) and perceived usefulness. According to TAM, attitude toward a system is jointly determined by usefulness and ease of use.
The research model for this study is based on the TAM model while introducing several modifications, which are not in TAM. According to Davis (1989) complexity or the degree to which diffusion is perceived as being relatively difficult to use parallels perceived ease of use. However, other factors from diffusion theory such as compatibility and relative advantage have been dealt with too broadly and inconsistently as to be difficult of interpret (Tornatzky and Klein, 1982; Davis, 1989). Hence, based on the diffusion of innovations theory, three new constructs were introduced in place of perceived usefulness, namely perceived convenience, perceived costs/risks of adoption, and perceived observable benefits. The belief variables are the four user perceptions of PDAís: relative ease of use, perceived convenience, costs/risks, and observable benefits. These belief variables affect attitude towards technology in general, and these attitudes in turn affect behavioral intent (BI). BI is then considered a key determinant of actual usage. Based on this adaptation of TAM, key hypothesis are generated to predict the potential relationships between these determinants of PDA adoption. Since the study focuses only on these key factors, the external stimulus variables such as demographics, ownership of technology, and media use are controlled for.
Data for the study has been collected using a CATI system with a representative sample of potential PDA consumers. The data was collected over 2 weeks of September 2002. Preliminary analysis of the data suggests that controlling for other factors, the attitude towards technology is determined by the perceived ease of use, and the potential costs or risks involved in adopting the innovation. BI is significantly predicted by attitude (A). The findings of the study would further the understanding of innovation decisions by helping marketers focus on key variables when promoting a new technology product.
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