The Effect of Intrinsic Motivation and Psychological Empowerment on Users' Exploratory Usage of Enterprise Systems (ES)

Project: Research

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Whether an organization can truly derive benefits from the adoption of an enterprise system (ES) relies on the extent to which employees explore the system’s features and eventually apply the features that best support their job tasks. Understanding what leads to employee users’ innovative application of the system is an important concern to the information system research and has energized extensive research efforts. In particular, previous studies have consistently found the positive effects of intrinsic motivation. However, these studies have primarily regarded intrinsic motivation as a single component construct, namely the hedonic motive. Yet, intrinsic motivation for organizational users has another component, a values-based normative component that allows the management to align individuals’ interest with the organizational goals. As such, our understanding of the role played by intrinsic motivation in mobilizing employees’ proactive learning of ES remains incomplete. Also, while investigating the effects of motivation, prior research has ignored users’ exploration process, especially user experience in the goal pursuit process. It is established that motivation is necessary, but not sufficient, for creative outcomes. In particular, users’ experience with the exploration process would affect their engagement and thus influence their exploration outcomes. Thus, little is known about how employees’ experience in the cognitively demanding process affects their innovative application of ES features. Further, there is a lack of research examining the interaction between employees’ motivation, experience and personal traits. As a consequence, practitioners are left with little guidance on how the management can facilitate employees’ feature exploration process and ensure that motives for feature exploration would lead to the results in the organization’s favor.To address the shortfalls in the literature, our proposed study aims to reveal (1) how components of intrinsic motivation (i.e., hedonic and normative intrinsic motivation) and users’ experience with the system exploration process (i.e., psychological empowerment) affect their exploratory usage of ES features, (2) how psychological empowerment interact with intrinsic motivation in leading to users’ exploratory usage, and (3) how the effects of intrinsic motivation and psychological empowerment are contingent upon users’ motivational orientations (i.e., promotion focus and prevention focus). Drawing upon psychology and IS literature, we develop a research model on the interrelationships between these major constructs. More specifically, we propose that end-state variables (i.e., hedonic and normative intrinsic motivation) andprocess-relatedfactors (i.e., psychological empowerment) would energize employees to embark on the journey of ES feature exploration and be engaged in the exploration process, respectively, thereby leading to employees’ exploratory usage of ES features. Also, we contend that psychological empowerment would strengthen the effects of intrinsic motivation as it enhances the motivational force through encouraging employee involvement. Finally, we postulate that while promotion focus would strengthen the effects of intrinsic motivation and psychological empowerment, prevention focus would weaken their effects on exploratory usage. To examine the proposed relationships among motivations, engagement, regulatory focus and exploration outcomes, we will conduct a longitudinal study by collecting survey data over a six-month period using a sample frame of approximately 1000 employee users in organizations that have recently adopted ES.The results obtained will have significant theoretical and practical implications. It will contribute to the ES literature by examining the interaction effects between motivation for exploration, users’ experience with the exploration process, and motivational orientation on employees’ innovative application of ES features. Furthermore, this study may be among the first to investigate how users’ psychological empowerment affects innovative usage of ES features directly and interacts with motivation for system feature exploration, thus adding to much needed research on understanding mechanisms that facilitate employees to explore ES. This study will also contribute to the practice by offering guidelines on how to facilitate employees’ system exploration and how to reinforce the effects of employees’ motivation and positive experiences through managing employees’ regulatory focus.


Project number9041966
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1425/10/16