Applying (loosely) the Technology Adoption Model to a Real-Life situation

Technology Acceptance Model

In an earlier post (Predicting User Acceptance) I discussed using TAM, or the Technology Acceptance Model, to try to predict user acceptance of a system.

This evening I was looking through some of my old posts, and was reading this one: ““Selling” something new to the users – a case of how NOT to do it”. And then I started trying to apply TAM to this.

I’ve read several theses (plural of “thesis”) and studies regarding TAM. Most of them involved getting users to fill in questionnaires, and then using advanced statistics to come up with some meaningful numbers for the “Perceived Usefulness” and the “Perceived Ease of Use“, thereby resulting in a meaningful prediction of the acceptance of the technology.

At the vendor demo described in “Predicting User Acceptance” I did not get the users to fill in any questionnaires. However, from the comments made during the demonstration, along with the body language, I got a gut feeling for what the users thought of the technology.

What follows is an unscientific application of the Technology Acceptance Model:

There were 9 “business users” at the demo. Of these there were 3 that were dead against what the vendor was demonstrating. 2 people seemed quite enthusiastic, and the remaining were neither enthusiastic, or negative.

Listening to the comments that the people who were against the technology (see the “Selling” post), it was apparent that these could be equated to the  “Perceived Usefulness”. However, the way the technology had been presented (too much at once) can definitely be categorised under the “Perceived Ease of Use” heading.

Check this out:
"User Adoption Strategies" - Second Wave People

I won’t pretend to be able to give meaningful values to the factors. As mentioned, some sort of statistical analysis was used in the studies I read. So lets just describe in words what each factor would be:

  • Perceived Usefulness: The majority of the audience had no strong opinion, and that there were more people against the technology than in favour of it.
  • Perceived Ease of Use: This would be “no ease of use”.

So considering that these two factors are what determine the acceptance of technology by a user, the outcome is not looking hopeful.

What could be done to change this?

Certainly a more gentle approach to “introducing” the business users to the new technology.

“This IS the technology you are looking for.”

Predicting User Acceptance