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Abstract

Users often use application software because of particular features. However, little remains known on whether user perceptions of application use is merely feature-driven or whether users perceive their application use as being more than an amalgamation of features. As the software industry ushers trends such as Web services, it becomes evermore important for vendors and users alike to clarify how users perceive features and applications. The paper is an attempt to confirm whether users can perceptively unbundle application software features from the overall applications themselves. Using a modified version of the repertory grid technique, this study investigates user perceptions of application features using data collected from users in the design and development departments across five firms. The results suggest that user perceptions of overall applications overshadow their perceptions of independent features, suggesting application-level lock-in effects and pointing out the difficulty in vendor attempts to unbundle features from feature categories and applications. The study closes with a discussion of the findings and offering cues for future research.

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