Explaining the Role of User Participation in Information System Use

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.40.4.440

Even though user participation in information system development has long been considered to be a critical factor in achieving system success, research has failed to clearly demonstrate its benefits. This paper proposes user involvement as an intervening variable between user participation and system use. Embedding the constructs of participation and involvement into the theoretical framework of Fishbein and Ajzen, a model is developed and tested in a field study of information system projects. Several key findings emerge from the study. User participation and user involvement represent two distinct constructs, with participation leading to involvement, and involvement mediating the relationship between participation and system use. The critical dimension of user participation is overall responsibility. The role of user participation and involvement is different, depending upon whether system use is mandatory or voluntary.

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