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"Exploring the Black Box of Task-Technology Fit: The Case of Mobile Information Systems"

Judith Gebauer and Mark Ginsburg


First Author :

Judith Gebauer
Business Administration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
1206 S. Sixth Street, MC 706
Champaign, IL 61820

Second Author :

Mark Ginsburg
Seventh Rank Associates

Abstract :
Task-technology fit has been developed as a diagnostic tool to determine whether information systems meet user needs, and has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the effectiveness of various types of information systems, such as group support systems and management support systems. Despite empirical evidence for the relevance of task-technology fit to improve information system effectiveness, the theory of task-technology fit provides little guidance of how to determine and operationalize fit for particular combinations of task and technology. Consequently, the theoretical validity of the concept of task-technology fit remains limited as does its practical applicability. In this paper, we present the results of an inductive study to explore the concept and antecedents of fit for mobile information systems to support mobile professionals. We performed a content analysis of online user reviews of four mobile technology products with the objective to identify issues that are relevant to users. The mobile technology products include a cell-phone, two personal digital assistants (PDAs), and an ultra-light laptop. The identified issues can be grouped into four conceptual constructs: overall user evaluation, task-related fit, context-related fit, and technology performance, and are characterized by a lower level of abstraction than the level of abstraction deployed in previous research studies on task-technology fit. In order to improve our understanding about how to achieve fit for particular combinations of task, use context, and technology we performed several statistical analyses. (1) An exploratory factor analysis yielded five factors, each indeed including a different set of conceptual constructs; (2) a case-wise analysis indicated user-perceived strengths and limits of individual devices with respect to the five factors; and (3) the results of a multiple regression analysis provided insights about the extent to which the five factors were related with overall technology evaluation. The results presented in the current paper will serve as input for a larger survey.
Keywords :
content analysis, fit operationalization, mobile information systems, mobile professionals, Task-technology fit, technology comparison, use context
Footnotes & Acknowledgements :
We thank Alfred Hubler for his invaluable feedback and guidance, as well as Chaiwat Baiwai and Ya (Tanya) Tang for their help during data collection and analysis. An abbreviated version has been accepted for presentation at the Fifth Workshop on e-Business (WeB 2006).
Manuscript Received : 2006
Manuscript Published : 2006
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