Technology Acceptance

In 2003, Venkatesh, Morris, Davis and Davis modified the TAM into the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). Through the UTAUT, the scholars sought to compare and unite into one theory eight different theories that had emerged for measuring technology use. According to the UTAUT, four factors are directly associated with users’ acceptance of technology and their patterns of technology use: performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influences, and facilitating conditions. In addition four factors are indirectly associated with technology acceptance.

factors affecting the use and acceptance of technology

Figure 8.4. Factors directly associated with technology use (adapted from Venkatesh, Morris, Davis and Davis 2003)

Performance Expectation (PE)

This is a measure of the extent to which an individual believes ICT will affect his or her job performance. For educators, this measure is going to be affected by the individual’s perception of what performance is and how it is measured. This measure will be different for those teachers who believe that their job prepare student for standardized tests and compared to those who believe their job is to prepare students to create high-quality public performances. PE is also comprised of two root constructs: relative advantage and outcome expectations. Therefore, school and technology leaders should expect to measure higher levels of PE in educators who perceive ICT-based curriculum and instruction to be better than other methods in those educators who perceive students to using ICT-based methods to produce high-quality outcomes quickly.

Effort Expectancy (EE)

This is a measure the individual’s perceptions of how easy it is to use ICT. This factor appears to exert strong influences on decisions in the periods after initial training has occurred, but before the user becomes highly familiar with and skilled using the system. When first learning to use a technology system, the cognitive load of using it exceeds the cognitive advantage of using it. When users are very familiar with the system, the cognitive load of using it and thus the effort of using it decreases so that users perceive the necessary effort to be minimal. Between these extremes, however, users who perceive the system decreases the effort necessary to accomplish a task demonstrate greater acceptance of the technology.

Social Influences (SI)

This construct is related to the individual’s perceptions of how others perceive the ICT and its use. It has complex roots emerging from the individual’s sense that others (who are judged to be important) expect the ICT to be used, as well as the individual’s cultural experiences and expectations, and the social status that can be gained by using the ICT or the status to be lost by the failure to use the ICT. For educators, the social influences are particularly influential, and they vary depending on the stakeholder who is experiencing the influences. For example, a new educator may be influenced to use ICT in the classroom based on her cultural experiences, but influenced to not use ICT because of the older colleagues who dismiss the role of ICT in the classroom (the stereotypes contained in that example are recognized).

Social psychologists recognize three types of social influences. Social influences that result in compliance are typical of settings in which individuals are obligated to act in a defined way to gain reward or avoid punishment. Educators who are required to use a particular online grading system may comply with the request, but not use the advanced features of the reporting system. When individuals feel a strong identity with another individual (or with a group of individuals) then the individual will seek to model the actions of that individual or group. The social influences resulting from those identifications tend to be stronger than the social influences of compliance. The strongest social influences arise when the individual internalizes the social influences and thus they become perceived as natural and the individual holds the same expectation of others (Aronson 2003).

Facilitating Conditions (FC)

There are a range of technical and organizational factors that contribute to an individual feeling prepared to use the ICT systems and to feel supported in the use of the ICT systems. For educators, these factors include keeping the ICT installed and functioning as well as systems for providing training. Individuals who feel they have control over the systems they use and find the systems flexible also have greater levels of this factor (Kirschner, Pas, and Kirschner 2009; Workman 2008).

UTAUT also posits several factors are indirectly associated with greater levels of technology acceptance. Gender, age, levels of experience with ICT, and voluntariness of use are identified as factors exerting indirect influences on technology acceptance. In general, males are more accepting of technology than females. Young people are more accepting than older people. Those with more experience are more accepting of technology than those with less experience as are those who use technology voluntarily versus those who are compelled to use technology.


Aronson, Elliot. 2003. The Social Animal, 5th ed. New York: Worth Publishers.

Kirschner, Femke, Fred Pas, and Paul Kirschner. 2009. “Individual and Group-Based Learning from Complex Tasks: Effects on Retention and Transfer Efficiency.” Computers in Human Behavior 25(2): 306-314. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2008.12.008.

Venkatesh, Viswanath., Michael Morris, Gordon Davis, and Fred Davis. 2003. “User Acceptance of Information Technology: Toward a Unified View.” MIS Quarterly 27(3): 425-478.

Workman, Michael. 2008. “An Experimental Assessment of Semantic Apprehension of Graphical Linguistics.” Computers in Human Behavior 24(6): 2578-96.doi: 10.1016/ j.chb.2008.02.022.