Usage Patterns and Sources of Assistance for Personal Computer Users

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Abstract
This study investigates the usage pattern and sources of assistance for personal computer(PC) users in twelve organizations. The study found that PCs attract new computer users and the extent of PC usage was correlated with prior computer knowledge. The most important reason for using PCs was for specific professional work. Although managers spend fewer hours than their staff using their PCs, there was no relationship between the diversity of applications and organizational position. Overall, users were satisfied with their PCs, but not with the information they obtained from the written sources (i.e., manuals, documents, and journals). The best source of information for PC users were their own colleagues and their organization’s information systems staff. Moreover, “lead users” played an important role as consultants to other users. Two divisions of a large manufacturing firm in our sample introduced PCs concurrently but under different policies. The two units provided a natural setting for assessing the impact of the technology. In the division that underwent extensive planning prior to the introduction of this technology, we found that users made significantly more use of internal consulting. In contrast, in the other division, where management had adopted an “individual initiatives and maximum freedom” policy for introducing this technology, the users made significantly less use of internal consulting, approaching outside vendors instead even though they felt the information obtained from the vendors was significantly lower in quality. Implications fort he management of personal computer technology are discussed.
Additional Details
Author Denis M. S. Lee
Year 1986
Volume 10
Issue 4
Keywords Personal computers, microcomputers, diffusion, lead users
Page Numbers 313-325
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