Date of Award
PhD in Business
Department of Management
Achieving effective use of new IT at the workplace can be notoriously difficult. There has been significant focus on the role of the individual in new job-related technology use, but considerations of personality differences and their role in effective use have been limited. Results have been mixed regarding the influence of personality on new IT use, discouraging research in the area. We attribute the shortcomings of prior results to three broad issues. Most personality-IT studies have either (1) used a measure of personality that is too broad and not specific to explain use activities (e.g. Junglas, Johnson, & Spitzmüller, 2008), (2) have examined personality with a single dependent variable (accept/resist) rather than looking at the process of acceptance/resistance (e.g. Venkatesh, Sykes, & Venkatraman, 2014), or (3) have examined the effect of personality traits at one instance of IT use, which is usually the initial stage of using a system, rather than examining it at different times during the use process (e.g. McElroy, Hendrickson, Townsend, & DeMarie, 2007). To advance the field, we draw on research on proactive personality to propose a new construct specific enough to be an indicator of variance in new IT appraisals and adaptation: technological proactivity. We develop a measure of technological proactivity and test its potential to explain variance in adaptation behaviors. The first portion of this dissertation provides a theoretical background and defines the conceptual domain of the proposed construct. Next, we develop and validate a measure of technological proactivity. A sample size of 937 individuals was surveyed and confirmatory factor analyses were performed to establish the validity of the construct. After finding preliminary support for the technological proactivity construct, we turn to testing the predictive validity of our new construct in the context of new technology perceptions and adaptation behaviors. We applied technological proactivity to Beaudry and Pinsonneault’s (2005) CMUA to examine the predictive validity of our new construct at different stages of new job related technology use, namely primary and secondary appraisals of new technology, and adaptation strategies. The model is tested over a 4 month period in a setting of a large business school in Massachusetts. A sample of 440 students introduced to a new technology in an introductory technology course were surveyed. Two waves of perceptual data regarding personality, new IT appraisals, and self-report behavioral adaptation approaches were gathered, along with archival data indicating participant coping behavior, specifically the frequency of logins to access the new technology for the purposes of learning and applying it to an assignment, and the total length of time spent using the new technology. Regression analyses and structural equation modeling tests provided evidence regarding technological proactivity’s predictive validity in the context of users of new technology. This cross-disciplinary dissertation makes a number of important contributions. We extend the consideration of personality by introducing a theoretically relevant personality variable to the technology use literature. We provide a longitudinal empirical test of the CMUA and conceptually extent the model by showing how individual differences can influence appraisal and control perceptions, and how this in turn changes the previously theorized outcomes that have only considered uniform users. This approach also allows us to empirically test the relationships in the CMUA using a quantitative method to test previous assumptions. Our research extends the proactive personality literature by considering proactive personality’s influence in a new domain (Parker, Bindl, and Strauss, 2010), and by examining its effects at different points in a job relevant process (Grant & Ashford, 2008), new technology adoption. Support was found for the principal proposition of this dissertation, that technological proactivity may be a key variable in explaining the impact of new technology adaptation behavior. Taking methodological shortcomings into consideration, which do not allow for a test of the full model/hypotheses, the dissertation was successful at contributing an initial empirical test of the CMUA, and the technological proactivity measure developed can serve as a foundation for further research on personality and adaptation behaviors to new technologies.
Junaid, Nora, "Technological Proactivity: Development of a Measure and Initial Test". 2018. 3.