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Towards a Theory of Information Systems User Competency

Brenda Eschenbrenner
University of Nebraska at Kearney, United States
Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States

Individuals differ in their abilities to use information systems (IS) effectively, with some achieving exceptional performance in IS use. Various constructs have been identified in the literature to describe usage intentions of IS users and actual usage of IS, but studies to describe IS user competency or the ability to achieve proficiency in IS usage are lacking. This research develops a grounded model of IS User Competency (IUC) by using the Repertory Grid Technique in an inductive approach to identify a set of user factors associated with IS user competency. Based on the findings, a deductive approach using the survey method was undertaken to validate a subset of the model that focused on IS-specific factors - domain knowledge of and skills in IS, willingness to try and to explore IS, and capability of perceiving IS value. The overall framework of IUC also comprises Personal Disposition and Traits, General Learning and Cognitive Factors, Communication and Collaboration Skills and Tendencies, Job Experience, Formal Education, Generation Factors, and Exposure to Technology. The survey findings suggest that all three IS-specific factors in the model are relevant and important to IS user competency, with willingness to try and to explore IS being the most significant factor. The results not only highlight important factors that can be fostered in IS users to improve their performance with IS use but also present research opportunities for IS training and potential hiring criteria for IS users in organizations.

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Reference:Eschenbrenner, B., Nah, F. (2011). "Towards a Theory of Information Systems User Competency," Proceedings > Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 11(143). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/11-143
Keywords:IS User Competency, Repertory Grid, Grounded Theory
Item Type:Article - Volume 11 Article 143 (2011)
Email: Brenda Eschenbrenner (eschenbrenbl@unk.edu)
Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah (fnah@unlnotes.unl.edu)

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