Technology acceptance: an analysis of the social and personal influences that affect human reaction to disruptive technological change in mechatronics

PhD Thesis

Hillmer, Ute 2008. Technology acceptance: an analysis of the social and personal influences that affect human reaction to disruptive technological change in mechatronics. PhD Thesis University of East London Royal Docks Business School
AuthorsHillmer, Ute
TypePhD Thesis

Continuous developments in the fields of knowledge and technology compel rapidly changing business environments, thus, organisations are forced to change their way of doing business and adopt new technology at an increasingly faster
rate. This results in a high rate of ongoing technological change in the working environment, with the effect of an increased interest in understanding user technology acceptance. Despite a large number of theories, the success of a technology amongst its users remains hard to understand and ranges from enthusiastic endorsement, to intermediate variations, all the way to open rejection.

The central aim of this research study was to develop a greater understanding of the relationship between technology acceptance behaviour and social and/or personal influence in a working environment. The study attempted to further understand how social and personal influences affect an individual's subjective interpretation of a situation in which technology changes significantly. This was achieved by increasing an understanding of the subjective meaning users attain in a situation of technological change that leads to their particular technology acceptance behaviour.

In order to apply a multi- and cross-disciplinary consciousness about the spectrum of possible relationships, the individual, societal and organisational knowledge domains were critically explored. A model of social and individual influences developed, that was continuously modified in order to take into account new understandings from theory and the researcher's personal experience. This pragmatic bricolage - action research-based frame analysis
eventually led to a merged understanding of symbolic interactionism's identity theory in combination with the self as a dynamically networked cognitiveaffective
meaning system. Within this combination, society's and individualistic influences become observable through an individual's various social identities, along with his or her personal-identity that form an individually unique
combination, dependent on the situation.

Based on this theoretical concept, grounded theory developed data from twenty-two cases of mechatronics machine designers in seven different companies in the
mechatronics machinery industry. The understanding was validated and verified, that a designer's sum of active, central identities within the working context are a key to his or her technology acceptance behaviour. Further segmenting individuals by their more specific identity content offers more detailed insight into behaviour. Technology adoption behaviour can be grasped and assessed,
when identities and the related factors that stabilize or destabilize these identities are understood. Comparing them to the opportunity- and thread-potential of the considered new technology, offers understanding for interpretations and
behavioural motivations. This potentially offers particularly revealing insight when contrary identities emerge in one person.

KeywordsChanging business environments; New technology; Social identities
Publication dates
PrintOct 2008
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Jan 2014
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