Journal of the Association for Information Systems


This paper reflects upon the technology acceptance model (TAM) from the perspective of the post positivistic philosophy of science. I explore what it is to know, what a theory is, and what it means to be scientific in the context of TAM. In particular, I review criteria for determining whether TAM is scientific or not in light of post-positivistic debates about the nature of science. For this purpose, I apply Popper’s principle of demarcation, which determines whether a theory-like TAM-is falsifiable and the logical connection argument to show that connections between actions and intentions cannot be subjected to empirical testing similar to connections between chemical entities. I also draw on Kuhn’s notion of scientific revolutions to observe the degree to which TAM has become normal science. Finally, I review TAM from the Lakatosian perspective of scientific research programs to evaluate whether the program is advancing or declining. My main objective is not to provide a conclusive evaluation of TAM as a research program or a paradigm, but to open the philosophical foundations of TAM for scrutiny so that it can be evaluated not only within the validation rules followed by its proponents, but by applying a set of well known criteria established in the post-positivistic views of science.