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Abstract

Hedonic-motivation systems (HMS)—systems used primarily to fulfill users’ intrinsic motivations—are the elephant in the room for IS research. Growth in HMS sales has outperformed utilitarian-motivation systems (UMS) sales for more than a decade, generating billions in revenue annually; yet IS research focuses mostly on UMS. In this study, we explain the role of intrinsic motivations in systems use and propose the hedonic-motivation system adoption model (HMSAM) to improve the understanding of HMS adoption. Instead of a minor, general TAM extension, HMSAM is an HMS-specific system acceptance model based on an alternative theoretical perspective, which is in turn grounded in flow-based cognitive absorption (CA). The HMSAM extends van der Heijden’s (2004) model of hedonic system adoption by including CA as a key mediator of perceived ease of use (PEOU) and of behavioral intentions to use (BIU) hedonic-motivation systems. Results from experiments involving 665 participants confirm that, in a hedonic context, CA is a more powerful and appropriate predictor of BIU than PEOU or joy, and that the effect of PEOU on BIU is fully mediated by CA sub-constructs. This study lays a foundation, provides guidance, and opens up avenues for future HMS, UMS, and mixed-motivation system research.

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