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A Theoretical Assessment of the User-Satisfaction Construct in Information Systems Research


  • Nancy Paule Melone

    (Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213)


For nearly two decades, the user-satisfaction construct has occupied a central role in behavioral research in Information Systems (IS). In industry, the construct has often been used as a surrogate for IS effectiveness. Given its widespread use by both academics and practitioners, it is surprising that no comprehensive theoretical assessment of this construct has been performed. This paper provides such a review. It begins by examining conceptual and theoretical limitations of the construct's use as a measure of IS effectiveness. Attention is then focused on the evolution of the construct in the literature and the theoretical problems associated with its broader use. The fundamental similarity between user satisfaction and the social and cognitive psychologists' notion of an attitude is suggested. The next sections focus on a discussion of attitude structures and function. First, alternative theoretical views on attitude structure are presented. While one of these structures, the family of expectancy-value models, is reflected in current research on user satisfaction, the second, the family of cognitive approaches, is not. The two attitude structures are considered from the perspective of possible refinements to future work in IS. Next, an examination is made of the ways in which these structures have been integrated in terms of understanding the relationship of users' affective responses to other responses (i.e., behavior or cognition). This leads to a discussion of the function attitudes might serve for the user other than the evaluation of an information system or IS staff. Finally, the question of how behavior influences attitude is considered. The paper concludes with suggestions for future work.

Suggested Citation

  • Nancy Paule Melone, 1990. "A Theoretical Assessment of the User-Satisfaction Construct in Information Systems Research," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(1), pages 76-91, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:36:y:1990:i:1:p:76-91
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.36.1.76

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    2. Gary Fleischman & Kenton Walker & Eric Johnson, 2010. "A field study of user versus provider perceptions of management accounting system services," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 18(3), pages 252-285, September.
    3. Rajiv D. Banker & Robert J. Kauffman, 2004. "50th Anniversary Article: The Evolution of Research on Information Systems: A Fiftieth-Year Survey of the Literature in Management Science," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(3), pages 281-298, March.
    4. Au, Norman & Ngai, Eric W. T. & Cheng, T. C. Edwin, 2002. "A critical review of end-user information system satisfaction research and a new research framework," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 451-478, December.
    5. Andrew Burton-Jones & Detmar W. Straub, 2006. "Reconceptualizing System Usage: An Approach and Empirical Test," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 17(3), pages 228-246, September.
    6. Brown, Susan A. & Venkatesh, Viswanath & Kuruzovich, Jason & Massey, Anne P., 2008. "Expectation confirmation: An examination of three competing models," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 52-66, January.
    7. Sohn, Stefanie, 2017. "Consumer processing of mobile online stores: Sources and effects of processing fluency," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 137-147.
    8. Virginia Franke Kleist, 2003. "An Approach to Evaluating E-Business Information Systems Projects," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 249-263, September.
    9. Bala Ishiyaku & Rozilah Kasim & Adamu Isa Harir, 2017. "Confirmatory factoral validity of public housing satisfaction constructs," Cogent Business & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1359458-135, January.
    10. Zhen Wang & John Lim & Xiaojia Guo, 2010. "Negotiator Satisfaction in NSS-Facilitated Negotiation," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 279-300, May.
    11. Gelderman, Maarten, 1997. "Task difficulty, task variability and satisfaction with management support systems: consequences and solutions ˜," Serie Research Memoranda 0053, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    12. Barbara H. Wixom & Peter A. Todd, 2005. "A Theoretical Integration of User Satisfaction and Technology Acceptance," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 16(1), pages 85-102, March.
    13. Jahangir Karimi & Toni M. Somers & Yash P. Gupta, 2004. "Impact of Environmental Uncertainty and Task Characteristics on User Satisfaction with Data," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 15(2), pages 175-193, June.
    14. Mohd Shamsul Mohd Shoid & Khairunnisa Rubian & Noor Harun Abdul Karim & Norliya Ahmad Kassim, 2018. "Users¡¯ Satisfaction With Tun Hussein Onn Library (THOL) Services," International Journal of Learning and Development, Macrothink Institute, vol. 8(3), pages 165-179, September.
    15. Torkzadeh, G. & Doll, W. J., 1999. "The development of a tool for measuring the perceived impact of information technology on work," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 327-339, June.
    16. Savaya, Riki & Monnickendam, Menachem & Waysman, Mark, 2006. "Extent and type of worker utilization of an integrated information system in a human services agency," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 209-216, August.
    17. Chao-Chih Hung & Min-Jiun Su & Wen-Long Zhuang, 2016. "The Effect of Exhibitors' Brand Equity on Visitors' Purchase Decision: Moderating Role of Exhibition's Competitive Intensity," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 8(3), pages 75-86.
    18. Sung S. Kim & Naresh K. Malhotra, 2005. "A Longitudinal Model of Continued IS Use: An Integrative View of Four Mechanisms Underlying Postadoption Phenomena," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(5), pages 741-755, May.
    19. Sung S. Kim & Naresh K. Malhotra & Sridhar Narasimhan, 2005. "Research Note—Two Competing Perspectives on Automatic Use: A Theoretical and Empirical Comparison," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 16(4), pages 418-432, December.
    20. Julia Troll & Ivo Blohm & Jan Marco Leimeister, 2019. "Why Incorporating a Platform-Intermediary can Increase Crowdsourcees’ Engagement," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 61(4), pages 433-450, August.
    21. Hye Jeong Kim & Ah Jeong Hong & Hae-Deok Song, 2018. "The Relationships of Family, Perceived Digital Competence and Attitude, and Learning Agility in Sustainable Student Engagement in Higher Education," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-16, December.
    22. Claudio Vitari & Roxana Ologeanu-Taddei, 2018. "The intention to use an electronic health record and its antecedents among three different categories of clinical staff," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) halshs-01923238, HAL.
    23. Davern, Michael J. & Wilkin, Carla L., 2010. "Towards an integrated view of IT value measurement," International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 42-60.


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