PACIS 2022 Proceedings

Paper Number

1868

Abstract

Excessive use of IT can lead to severe negative consequences for the individuals involved. Many studies addressing this important topic have, however, used imprecise umbrella terms, such as excessive use, compulsive use, and addiction, leading to wrong conclusions. We build on the theory of IT-mediated state-tracking to examine smartphone habits, which are unaligned with users’ goals (unwanted habits), enabling a discussion void of normative labeling. We address the role of self-regulation, including goal-setting strategies, in preventing the execution of these unwanted habits. To do so, we use a mixed-method approach building on longitudinal real-world smartphone use data combined with information about users’ self-regulation abilities and goal-alignment of their state-tracking habits. We find that, while self-regulation does not affect whether a goal to reduce an unwanted habit is achieved, the number of set goals is lower for users high in self-regulation, and these users combine multiple strategies to achieve goals.

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