Opening the Black Box of PU: An IS Approach to Defining and Measuring Usefulness
In direct response to a call made by Benbasat and Barki (2007), this paper re-examines a core construct in IS adoption studies, perceived usefulness. The construct is critiqued and a proposal made for re-defining it as an attribute of what is termed a user-system pair. This is distinct from approaches taken in other disciplines, and fits well within a systems view. It therefore can be considered as IS theory. The inclusion of the user is crucial and sets the use within the context of a goal - usefulness has no meaning without this. Usefulness then is a binary state which the user-system pair either has or does not have. Measuring usefulness comes down to measuring the attainment of goals. The implications of this for our field are discussed. It is particularly relevant for our field as this approach is well suited to studying information systems and is distinct from approaches taken in other fields, notably psychology.
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