What is the Technology Acceptance Model?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2019
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Reasoned Action is a theory developed by Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein in 1975 and based on Information Integration theory. It deals with the relationship of beliefs to behaviors. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) predicts that personal attitudes and societal norms are the two factors that guide behavioral intent. Personal attitudes are composed of an evaluation and the strength of belief, while societal norms include the components of normative beliefs and the motivation to comply with those beliefs. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is a specific application of Reasoned Action to the situation of a person considering the adoption of a particular kind of innovation, that is, software.

The Technology Acceptance Model was originally proposed in 1986 by Fred Davis and further developed in 1989. Since then, it has undergone development by a number of people. In addition, research on the Technology Acceptance Model has both focused on very specific areas of software and expanded to other areas. Specific software areas that have been studied include word processing, tax preparation software, email and voicemail, building management systems, and marketing decision support systems.


Areas beyond discrete software applications that have been studied include combinations of software and service, particularly in an online environment. Included, for example, are considerations of use of, adoption of, or commitment to commercial website, ecommerce services, an electronic prescription system, Internet banking, groupware and e-collaboration, an electronic supermarket, moderated group chat, distance learning, course websites, and digital libraries. The study has been expanded to include hardware as well as software, and focus of various studies has included the use of computers in a workplace, the adoption of cellular telephones, and the incorporation of telemedicine technology. The particular responses to software adoption in specific locations, such as a particular country, have also been studied.

The key terms that continue to be discussed in relation to the Technology Acceptance Model, including at least some of its adaptations and extensions, include Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU), Perceived Usefulness (PU), Behavioral Intention to Use, (BI) and actual Behavior (B). Discussions of TAM by researchers focus on the relationships of these four variables, pointing out that PEOU partly determines PU but PEOU cannot make up for a lack of PU resulting from other factors. Some researchers have focused on identifying other variables, and the ones that are most often mentioned include computer anxiety, compatibility, computing support, enjoyment, experience, self-efficacy, system quality, and training.


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