We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Beyond Utility: An inductive investigation into non-utility factors influencing consumer adoption and use of ICT

AGIUS, BERNARD (2016) Beyond Utility: An inductive investigation into non-utility factors influencing consumer adoption and use of ICT. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


This study explores the adoption and use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in a context marked by ubiquitous connectivity and intense social interaction. Research in the field has predominantly explored the topic within closed and private contexts, such as work and education environments. Resulting theories tend to lose predictive strength when transferred to open and social contexts.

Specifically, theories often assume that behaviour is shaped exclusively by the utility derived from technological functions – an occurrence more common in closed and private settings. Other influencing factors, whilst acknowledged, tend to be sidelined or treated as exceptions. Further complexities arise as theorists misread and mistreat user perceptions and intentions.

The study combines an inductive strategy with a Skinnerian radical behaviourist philosophical worldview. Individual accounts and group discussion about online social networking and smartphone ownership were captured in a natural social setting. A total of 35 technology users from Malta aged between 18 and 40 years participated in face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions. In contrast to other studies, verbal accounts and group interaction were treated and analysed as social behaviour and not as cognitive decision processes.

Findings show that a more holistic understanding emerges if the social and internal dimensions are considered alongside environmental consequences. Results indicate that beyond utilitarian benefits, users also seek pleasure and social status whilst averting risk and minimising cost and disruption.

The study shows that consumer ICTs are different from other technologies, such as cars and refrigerators, since these are tools specifically designed for application within verbal behaviour. ICTs can be applied as tools to communicate information, share past experiences, provide feedback to others, and confer social status on others. ICT applications elicit feedback from listeners and observers rather than cause measurable changes in the environment.

The study builds on this insight by proposing a conceptual framework as an interpretative tool for practitioners and as a theoretic proposition for future inquiry.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Business Administration
Keywords:Consumer Behaviour Analysis, Consumer ICT, Diffusion of Innovations, Intentional Behaviourism, Technology Acceptance Model
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Dec 2016 14:55

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter