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The intention-behaviour gap in technology usage: the moderating role of attitude strength

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Extant theories of information technology (IT) usage present users' behavioural intention as the primary predictor of their IT usage behaviour. However, empirical evidence reveals only a low-to-medium effect size for this association. We call this inconsistency the 'intention-behaviour gap', and argue that a clearer understanding of this gap requires a deeper theoretical examination of the conditions under which intentions may or may not influence behaviour. Drawing on recent attitude theoretic research in social psychology, we distinguish between two types of attitudes - strong versus weak - and suggest that the intention-behaviour association may hold for users with strong attitudes but is likely to be weaker for those with weak attitudes. Using the elaboration-likelihood model, we propose two dimensions of attitude strength relevant to the IT usage context - personal relevance and related expertise - and theorise them to moderate the intention-behaviour association in a positive manner. Results from a longitudinal field survey of document management system usage among governmental employees at L'viv City Hall, Ukraine support our theoretical hypotheses. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.

Keywords: IT diffusion and adoption; questionnaire surveys; user acceptance of IT

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Information Systems and Decision Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA 2: Department of MIS, College of Commerce, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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