Venkatesh, V., Morris, M.G., Davis, G.B, and Davis, F.D. “User Acceptance of Information Technology: Toward a Unified View,” MIS Quarterly (27:3), 2003, 425-478. [2nd most cited of all papers ever published in MIS Quarterly]
Information technology (IT) acceptance research has yielded many competing models, each with different sets of acceptance determinants. In this paper, we (1) review user acceptance literature and discuss eight prominent models, (2) empirically compare the eight models and their extensions, (3) formulate a unified theory that integrates elements across the eight models, and (4) empirically validate the unified model. The eight models reviewed are the theory of reasoned action, the technology acceptance model, a motivational model, the theory of planned behavior, a model combining the technology acceptance model and the theory of planned behavior, a model of PC utilization, innovation diffusion theory, and social cognitive theory. Using data from four organizations over a six-month period with three points of measurement, the eight models explained between 17 percent and 53 percent of the variance in user intentions to use information technology. Next, a unified theory, called the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), was formulated, with four core determinants of intention and usage, and up to four moderators of key relationships. UTAUT was then tested using the original data and found to outperform the eight individual models (69 percent adjusted R2). UTAUT was then confirmed with data from two new organizations with similar results (70 percent adjusted R2). UTAUT thus provides a useful tool for managers needing to assess the likelihood of success for new technology introductions and helps them understand the drivers of acceptance in order to proactively design interventions (including training, marketing, etc.) targeted at populations of users that may be less inclined to adopt and use new systems. The paper also makes several recommendations for future research including developing a deeper understanding of the dynamic influences studied here, refining measurement of the core constructs used in UTAUT, and understanding the organizational outcomes associated with new technology use.