Journal of the Association for Information Systems


A number of specialized information systems for the digitally disadvantaged (SISD) have been developed to offset the limitations of people less able to participate in the information society. However, contributions from social identity theory and social markedness theory indicate that SISD can activate a stigmatized identity and thus be perceived unfavorably by their target audience. We identify two mechanisms by which functional limitations affect a digitally disadvantaged person’s adoption decision: (1) adoption decision as shaped through technology perceptions (i.e., perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and perceived access barriers), and (2) adoption decision as shaped through marked status awareness (i.e., stigma consciousness). We test our contextualized research model on digitally disadvantaged users with physical and/or sensory disabilities. Results of our mediation analysis show that the individuals who have the most to gain from SISD use (i.e., those with greater perceived functional limitations) are doubly disadvantaged: as a group, they find it more challenging to use SISD and are also more sensitive to the fear of being marked as disadvantaged or vulnerable.