Year

2005

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Management and Marketing - Faculty of Commerce

Abstract

Executive Information Systems (EIS) are computer-based information systems (CBIS) designed to provide executives with easy on-line access to internal and external information relevant to their business success factors. The aim of EIS is to bring relevant information from the external environment and all parts of an organisation and present it in a way that is meaningful to executives. Hence, to improve the performance of executives' tasks, a significant number of organisations have invested heavily in EIS projects. Although executives presided over and authorised investment in EIS projects to support their roles, the majority of executives are unenthusiastic about using EIS because of the design flaws and failures of these systems. Due to this, the actual engagement with EIS by executives is relatively small. Although the failures of EIS in organisations can be linked to social, cultural, psychological and organisational factors rather than technical factors alone, previous research studies on EIS usage have focused on the overall benefits, pattern and frequency of use, impacts and emergence of EIS. Research efforts for key determinants of user acceptance and use of EIS have been constrained by a lack of appropriate reference theory and key variables. Further, research studies on the actual engagement of EIS by executives are rather limited in number or scope. Given this gap, this study aims to investigate and examine the cultural, social, individual and organisational critical success factors that might explain executives' behaviour to adopt and use EIS. Further, the study aims to establish the relative importance of these variables in determining user acceptance and the use of EIS in the organisational setting. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis, 1986) and Triandis' framework (1979) are two of the important theories useful in predicting human behaviour with respect to. TAM proposes how users come to accept and use a technology and suggests that when a person is adopting a new technology, a number of factors such as its Perceived usefulness (PU), Perceived ease of use (PEOU), Attitude towards Using (ATU) and behavioural intentions (BI) influence their decision about how and when he/she will use it. Also, Triandis' framework, a theory from social psychology, explicitly addresses the social, cultural, individual and organisational factors that influence human behaviour. This study uses TAM and Triandis' framework as the theoretical foundation. However, the study extends TAM with such variables as Habits, Social factors and Facilitating conditions from Triandis� framework to derive a research model suitable for the adoption and usage of EIS in organisations. The model hypothesises that behaviour positively relates to: Habits (executives experience in computer-based information systems (CBIS), EIS and the ability to use EIS); Social factors (subjective norms, roles, values and social situations); and Facilitating conditions (EIS development processes, EIS management processes and organisational environment of EIS) by means of PU, PEOU and ATU. The study aims to: (1) provide a better understanding of the choices of executives in using EIS, (2) assist EIS developers to understand the core information processing requirements of the executives' tasks for which they are building EIS, in order to implement appropriate functionalities to support those tasks, (3) support researchers to further explain human behaviour towards IS including EIS acceptance and usage, based on the framework and research model, and (4) through the proposed model aims to redress the limitations of the extant research model, by accounting for intrinsic motivation and social-cultural factors relevant in explaining executives' behaviour towards EIS adoption and usage. Data used in testing the research model and associated hypotheses was collected using a mail survey questionnaire of executives such as the CFOs, CEOs and other executives from 255 organisations that use EIS in Australia. The results of this study emphasise the importance of social, cultural, individual and organisational variables in explaining executives' behaviour towards the adoption and usage of EIS by means of PU, PEOU and ATU. The importance of these variables from most influential to least influential is: social, cultural, individual and organisational variables. This study is a significant contribution to academic literature and management/ practice. Theoretically, the study has established TAM and Triandis' framework - as appropriate reference theories suitable in studying the adoption and usage of EIS by executives. Methodologically, the approach used for this study to address the research problem, as a behaviour using TAM and Triandis' framework variables is a significant contribution to the body of knowledge. This methodology is important for further research into IS including EIS adoption and usage by executives. Managerially/practically, the findings of this study have significant implications to EIS designers/developers, implementers and managers of organisations. (In particular, EIS designers and implementers are urged to take into account the importance of social factors, facilitating conditions, habits, PU and PEOU that influence the behaviour of EIS users to use EIS).

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