Humanizing Organizational Technology Adoption Decisions: An Integrative Model from the Upper Echelons and Symbolic Action Pers

Project: Research

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Despite numerous studies on technology adoption behavior at the individual level, the underlying mechanisms of technology adoption at the organizational level are still insufficiently researched. Prior literature has identified several exogenous factors, such as technological, organizational, and environmental factors (i.e., the TOE framework), affecting organizational technology adoption. However, it is still not clear how these exogenous factors can evoke internal organizational responses, which in turn enable technology adoption. Furthermore, most of the prior studies on organizational technology adoption are built on the assumption that organizations adopt a new technology with the purpose of improving performance. This assumption may not be universally true as anecdotal evidence suggests that some organizations simply try to demonstrate symbols which convey meanings beyond functional usage, such as peer recognition and image, through technology adoption behavior. To address these two issues, this proposal draws on the upper echelons theory and symbolic action theory to understand the mediating and moderating mechanisms behind organizational technology adoption decision. Specifically, based on the TOE framework, we uncover the mediating mechanism of upper management disposition or overall attitude towards the technology in question by identifying an endogenous factor (i.e. top management support). We also classify technology adoptions into two categories, namely functional and symbolic adoptions, in order to explain their moderating mechanism. The proposed model attempts to extend the original TOE framework and to enhance its applicability and predictive power. A field survey of organizations will be conducted to test the proposed model and hypotheses.To this end, we have gained consent from the senior management of 30 medium and large companies for their participation in our study as pilot sites. We will use the data collected from these companies to refine our survey instrument. We plan to test the model through a survey of users from 300 firms which are considering whether or not to adopt a new IT system. Data will be analyzed using the Partial Least Square technique. By introducing the upper echelons theory and symbolic action theory into the TOE framework, this study will extend the organizational technology adoption literature by shifting the analytic logic from the structuralist perspective to the behaviorist perspective. This paradigm shift will provide a new perspective for organizational technology adoption research. The proposed study will also generate fresh managerial insights to guide future system implementation efforts.


Project number9042141
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/11/1430/04/19