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Abstract

This study examines how processes of external influence shape information technology (IT) acceptance among potential users, how such influence effects vary across a user population, and the persistence of these effects over time. Drawing on the elaboration-likelihood model (ELM), we compared two alternative influence processes, the central and peripheral routes, in motivating IT acceptance. These processes were respectively operationalized using the argument quality and source credibility constructs, and linked to perceived usefulness and attitude, the core perceptual drivers of IT acceptance. We further examined how these influence processes were moderated by users’ IT expertise and perceived job relevance and the temporal stability of the influence effects. Nine hypotheses thus developed were empirically validated using a field survey of document management system acceptance at an eastern European governmental agency. This study contributes to the IT acceptance literature by introducing ELM as a referent theory for acceptance research, by elaborating alternative modes of influence, and by specifying factors moderating their effects. For practitioners, this study introduced influence processes as policy tools that managers can employ to motivate IT acceptance within their organizations, benchmarked alternative influence strategies, and demonstrated the need for customizing influence strategies to the specific needs of a user population.

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