Individual resistance to IT innovations

Rhoda C. Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Adoption of an information technology (IT) innovation is a much more attractive and frequently examined area to study than non-adoption. This is mainly due to the pro innovation bias that is found in the existing IT and information systems literature. Companies spend millions of dollars advertising their new gadgets to consumers. However, many IT innovations face varying degrees of resistance in their lifetime. An IT innovation is a product, practice, or process that relies extensively on technological advances such as computer hardware, computer software, and telecommunications. One of the most visible IT innovations is the personal computer (PC), which was introduced almost three decades ago. Factors such as age, income, and technological complexity are significant barriers to PC adoption. The presence of multiple computer households and the replacement of older machines can explain the continued annual sale of personal computers. Through PC adoption, the Web has also given birth, to many other innovative technologies such as, peer to peer networks, social computing, and mobile applications. Many of these innovations are targeted at individual users. In spite of the success of the personal computer, only 51% of U.S. households had at least one computer during the 2000 census. Factors such as income, education, and the digital divide all play a contributing role in the penetration of PCs in U.S. households. Further, the non-adoption of IT innovations is also influenced by factors associated with individual expectations and behaviors. The IT adoption literature has used "intention to adopt" as a reasonable proxy for actual adoption behavior and continued use of a technology. This is a very useful practice especially in an experimental setting or with early distribution of the product. Possibly, more important than the intention to adopt, is the intent 'not to adopt' a new technology. IT innovations are complex and content-sensitive and differ across a variety of factors including features, usability, and connectivity. If companies can better understand the non-adopter, they can use creative strategies to move such individuals into the adopter category, which can ultimately increase product visibility and revenue generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-146
Number of pages3
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


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