The Importance of Compatibility and Pressure on Intentions to Engage in Distance Learning

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Communications of the Association for Information Systems






The study of factors that influence intentions to use information technology enabled innovations enjoys a long tradition in the information systems literature. Recently there have been calls for research that enhances our understanding of interrelationships among beliefs related to technology adoption. In addition, there has been recent interest in more closely examining specific beliefs, including perceived compatibility. In this study we use the context of distance learning to develop and test a model of use intentions. Our main focus is on two under-researched forces that may influence intentions, pressure and fit. Pressure pertains to the normative and institutional influences to engage in distance learning. Specifically, we examine how perceptions of subjective norm and voluntariness influence distance learning intentions. Compatibility concerns how well distance learning matches with the desires and past experiences of potential distance learners. We use Karahanna, Agarwal and Angst’s [2006] multi-dimensional conceptualization of compatibility to represent compatibility beliefs. We examine both the direct and indirect impact of these factors on distance learning intentions in a nomological network that includes other beliefs (relative advantage and ease of use) drawn from diffusion theory. Data from a survey indicate that compatibility with preferred work style and values have an impact on intentions, as do voluntariness beliefs. This study points out the importance of using a multidimensional view of compatibility. In addition, results related to voluntariness indicate that in largely volitional environments institutional pressures to adopt may actually lower use intentions.


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