Communications of the Association for Information Systems

Author ORCID Identifier

Steven Alter: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1629-638X


The increasing automation of work and increasing reliance on autonomous devices and systems calls for re-conceptualizing information system usage. Thinking of IS usage as the hands-on use of computerized devices through interfaces is increasingly inadequate where roles and responsibilities are delegated to IT-enabled devices and systems that may operate autonomously and may not interact directly with users. This paper’s new IS usage theory (ISUT) consists of three axioms and 12 underlying assumptions that apply to IS usage for nontrivial sociotechnical and totally automated work systems. A background section includes the rationale for pursuing a new view of IS usage and basic concepts related to systems, information systems, work system theory (WST) and the ISUT’s boundary conditions. A summary of selected research articles related to IS usage emphasizes how central ideas in those articles diverge from the ISUT’s underlying assumptions and may not suffice for describing increasingly automated work practices. A two-dimensional agent responsibility framework facilitates the application of the ISUT’s system-oriented view of IS usage by combining a spectrum of IS roles and a series of facets of work. Four illustrative real-world examples demonstrate the practical application of the ISUT. The conclusion emphasizes this paper’s motivation, theory creation process, theory presentation and content, and contribution.





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