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Effects of the User Participation Process and Task Meaningfulness on Key Information System Outcomes

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Abstract

In this study, 144 professional accounting data entry clerks took part in a fully randomized field experiment using a 4 (mode of participation) \times 2 (task meaningfulness) design. Participants were full-time, mandatory users of payroll applications. The nature of the experiment engaged these users in hands-on activity (Hartwick and Barki [Hartwick, J., H. Barki. 1994. Explaining the role of user participation in information system use. Management Sci. 40 440--465.]) regarding the development of a payroll input screen. User mode of participation was manipulated by varying the extent of decision input used to execute hands-on activity in accordance with procedural justice theory. Perceptions of decision control, procedural justice, and outcome satisfaction, as well as objective levels of task performance escalated with corresponding increases in decision input. Task meaningfulness was manipulated by creating either high or low expectations of using the payroll input screen in the near future. As the development task became more meaningful, procedural justice, decision control, task commitment, and task performance responses also increased. An underlying theoretical model of treatment effects was tested using path analysis which supported the control-oriented theory of procedural justice. The strong attitudinal and behavioral results observed in this experiment enhance understanding of the user participation and involvement model proposed by Hartwick and Barki (Hartwick, J., H. Barki. 1994. Explaining the role of user participation in information system use. Management Sci. 40 440--465.) by incorporating process considerations from procedural justice theory into their framework. Implications of this research are discussed.

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