Practical Application: Technology Acceptance Model
Part 1: Theory and Application
A theory is one of the instruments to comprehend a given topic and develop concrete explanation on it. The theory is described as a given relationship between two or more observed phenomena. It is defined as the coherent statement or collection of concepts that propound phenomena or facts observed, from which principles and laws can be established. Thus, it can provide verification to a hypothesis by experiments or observations.
The application is the practical domain of the theory in various areas. However, they are interlinked with one another. Practical application cannot take place without theory which functions as the bedrock or foundation of the application . Theory can only be assessed through application and practice of theoretical hypothesis. Hence, it can be described that the relationship between application and theory is direct and reciprocal.
It is not possible to hold the two in their distinct characteristics as both are interlinked with each other. For instance, the theory cannot be verified if it is not applied and observed for the intended outcome. In similar terms, the application cannot take place if there is no given framework provided with regards to processes and objectives. It is not necessary that the application would always verify the theory. It is the application which determines the accuracy of any theory. However, it is essential to ensure that the conditions and relevant factors needed for the functionality of a theory are present before its practical application.
It also needs to be noted that theories may be rendered dysfunctional if the application does not verify their position. For instance, in ancient times, it was suggested that earth has a flat shape. However, navigation expeditions revealed that the shape of the earth is geospherical. Hence, the theory that earth is flat was rejected by application through navigational voyages and later astronomical observations. Sociologists employ the variety of approaches to comprehending the circumstances of the social world and its causes (Toft, Schuitema, & Thøgersen, 2014).
Empirical analysis or practice would not be able to stand in the absence of the underlying theoretical framework, which acts as a guide to any research. An instance of theory can be the work of Robert Putnam regarding the decline of civic engagement. In the theory, it was discovered that the involvement of American people in civic life which consists of clubs, community organisations, religious participation, voting, etc. has declined in the last forty to sixty years. Whereas, there are some factors responsible for this.
However, Putnam has outlined that increase in the consumption of television as an entertainment source is primarily responsible for this. The theory states that greater the consumption of television by people, the lower would be their participation in the civic life. Hence, it can be observed that within the theoretical framework, the relationship between two or more factors is being defined. These factors include watching television and civic engagement .
The relationship between these two elements is being described as inverse, in which increase or decrease in one factor causes an opposite outcome in the other. Additionally, the theory also explains one phenomenon with the other, as to why civic engagement has declined over the last half century due to people spending more time on watching television. Putnam’s theory regarding civic engagement can be applied to practical outcomes in another country such as China. The exponential economic growth of China in the past few decades have led to a change in the urban lifestyle of its people. Hence, television consumption has also increased manifolds over the period. Thus, it can be observed whether civic engagement of people in China has declined as an outcome of the increase in the consumption of television. Thus, it can form a research hypothesis as to whether the civic engagement of Chinese people has declined as a result of consuming more television.
The application of this theory can be conducted by distributing questionnaires inquiring number of hours watching televisions and number of hours spent in other civic engagement. The data that would be collected can be correlated to determine whether the theory of decline in civic engagement as a result of watching television is accurate. The statistical application of inferences such as scatterplot can be employed to assess the relationship between these two phenomena. Thus, the theory would be proved accurate by the results of the application. If their correlation is derived from being strong inverse, then it can be verified that application proves the theory to be correct .
Part 2: Theory of Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)
The theory of technology acceptance model (TAM) is related to information systems which describe how users accept and apply a technology. The model also explains how several factors influence the decision of users to use technology and how they will use it. The primary two elements in this regard are the perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of use (PEOU) .
Perceived usefulness is the degree to which the person believes that the usage of a given system would lead to enhancement of performance in the job. Perceived ease of use is defined as the degree to which the person would believe that usage of a given system would be effortless. The technology acceptance model (TAM) has been under continuous study and has been expanded over the period. The upgrading of the model has included TAM 2 and Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). More recently the theory is under review to include the principles of e-commerce .
The theory acceptance model has been developed by Fred Davis and Richard Bagozzi as an extension of the Ajzen and Fishbien’s Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA). TAM has included principles of acceptance with regards to one’s use of technology. The review of the model has included the degree of trust in the system and the perceived level of risk in using the system by a user. TAM assumes that if there is an intention to act, it will cause unrestricted freedom of action.
However, in practical terms, there would be many limitations that would obstruct one’s freedom of action. There are many researchers that have reviewed the work of Davis regarding theory acceptance model to provide empirical evidence on the elements of ease of use, systems use, and usefulness. Adams, et al. (1992) have reviewed the theory of Davis and tested with the perspective of validity and reliability. It was conducted by applying different settings and different samples to evaluate internal consistency and reliability of the two scales .
Technology acceptance model theory has been criticised for its shortcomings. However, it remains widely popular regarding the application. Over the time, it has redefined to a large extent by different users . The objections to TAM theory includes questionable heuristic value, limited predictive power and explanatory element, lacking in practical value and triviality. It has also been an argument that technology acceptance model has diverted the attention of researchers from other essential issues of research and has created a perception that progress lies in the accumulation of knowledge. It also criticizes for leading to theoretical confusion and chaos as several attempts have been made by researchers to expand the model for adapting to fluctuating trends in IT environment .
The theory focuses on the individual user of technology with the characteristic of perceived usefulness and including more and more factors to provide an explanation of how the user perceives usefulness. In the process, the social processes of information system development and implementation are largely ignored along with its social outcomes. The alternative models for TAM theory are the MPT model known as Matching Person and Technology model. It involves evaluation of measures that are employed in the selection of technology and decision-making.
The other alternative is that of Hedonic Motivation System Adoption model (HMSAM). It is designed to provide improvements in the comprehension of hedonic motivation systems (HMS) adoption. The systems are primarily employed to fulfil the intrinsic motivation of users which includes systems such as online gaming, social networking, music, online dating, online education, online shopping, virtual systems and general games. The model may be resourceful for comprehension of the gamification element of the system use .
Part 3: Application of TAM theory
The theory of technology acceptance model (TAM) is related to information systems which describe how users accept and apply a technology. The model also explains how several factors influence the decision of users to use technology and how they will use it (Chow, Herold, Choo, & Chan, 2012). The primary two elements in this regard are the perceived usefulness (PU) and the perceived ease of use (PEOU). The theory of TAM was applied by Farahat (2012) in a study that sought to identify the factors into acceptance of using online learning by the students.
The framework developed by TAM was modified. In this regard, a questionnaire was developed that took information from 153 students of the undergraduate degree that employed the method of online learning in DBMU. The outcome from the study displayed the usefulness and perceived ease of use, attitude towards the use of technology and the social influence of the students regarding using the online learning system for prediction of their behavioural intention.
Lule, et al. (2012) also applied the TAM model in the research. The study relates to the application of mobile technology regarding commerce and banking in Kenya. It has been observed that some people in Kenya are reluctant to apply these technologies. Thus, it is necessary to analyse the factors which obstruct the acceptance of these technologies. In this regard, 450 questionnaires were distributed and 395 were returned and validated.
The analysis consisted of attitude towards usage of mobile banking, perceived self-efficacy, perceived usefulness, and perceived ease of use. The outcome of data analysis revealed that the factors mentioned above are low among the consumers who have contributed towards the lack of technology use. These factors need improvement for allowing the technology to be used.
Cha, et al. (2012) applied the TAM theory on the factors that restricted students in Korean universities from implementing the mobile learning system in education. It is in the perspective of growing tertiary sector learning opportunities. Hence, the researcher applied the TAM theory by collecting a sample of 288 students from Konkuk University. Structural equation modelling technique used the process which was used for the adoption of the mobile learning system. The model was based on technology acceptance model that assessed the behavioural intention towards mobile learning, attitudes, the perception of ease of use, the perception of usefulness, subjective norm, system accessibility, and student’s major, and self-efficacy towards mobile learning. The model was useful to explain the acceptance of students regarding mobile learning. The attitude towards mobile learning was an essential feature to explain the causal process. The other factors included subjective norm and students major .
Lee and Lehto (2012), conducted a study which analysed the factors affecting the intention towards usage of YouTube as a medium for learning by applying the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) theory. The constructs in the model were self-efficacy of YouTube, vividness, content clarity, and user satisfaction. The sample included 432 participants that engaged in procedural learning by applying YouTube. The results revealed that the behavioural intention was affected by user satisfaction and perceived usefulness. However, ease of use was not predictive for behavioural intention and perceived usefulness .
Cheung & Vogel (2013) also conducted a study to assess the factors that affect collaborative learning through Google Applications. The assessment of these factors was conducted using the theory acceptance model. The model collected data of 136 students who were in a full-time degree programme which employed Google Applications to conduct project work. TAM reveals that the ability to share information is one of the most significant factors influencing behavioural intention towards using Google Application for project work. Hence, it can be observed from the research studies that the theory of technology acceptance model is found to be accurate when put into practice. It verifies that theory and application are interlinked with one another, with theoretical framework being the foundation for any practical application .
In the perspective of application of technology acceptance model theory, it needs to be noted that perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness can vary depending upon other factors which might be associated with the technology in question. For instance, in the case for Google Application from the Cheung and Vogel (2013) study the behavioural intention to apply the technology was significantly influenced by the ability to share information, and in this regard 43% variance was also observed with regards to behavioural intention.
Hence, it needs to be understood that application and practice may at times lead to removal of discrepancies and errors in the theoretical framework. Hence, applicative practice may at times remove inaccuracies and provide a more authentic version of a particular theory. Thus, it is not possible to keep theory and practice distinct from each other, despite their own unique characteristics.
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