Individual Reactions to New Technologies in the Workplace: The Role of Gender as a Psychological Construct

Venkatesh, V., Morris, M.G., Sykes, T.A., and Ackerman, P.L. “Individual Reactions to New Technologies in the Workplace: The Role of Gender as a Psychological Construct,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology (34:3), 2004, 445-467.

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Recent research investigating gender differences has demonstrated that women and men make technology adoption decisions very differently. Specifically, using the theory of planned behavior, it has been shown that women make “balanced” decisions in that they are influenced by attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control; in contrast, men are influenced only by attitude. That research treated gender as a biological, dichotomous construct that is typical of much research in this area. This paper extends the line of inquiry by treating gender as a psychological construct by employing Bem’s Sex Role Inventory (BSRI). Individual reactions to the new technology and technology usage behavior were studied over a twelve-month period among 552 employees being introduced to a new computer-based system in the workplace. When considering gender as a psychological construct, important distinctions were revealed. Specifically, masculine sex-type individuals exhibited the same pattern as men in the previous research; feminine sex-typed individuals were different from women in that, they were influenced only by subjective norm and perceived behavioral control. The “balanced” decision-making process was observed only in the case of individuals categorized as androgynous. The high percentage of women who tested to be androgynous explains the divergence in results from the previous work, and provides evidence of changing sex roles for women in today’s organizations and society.
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