Information and communication technology adoption at work : employees' experiences of adoption and learning

Eija Korpelainen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


The aim of this thesis is to investigate employees' experiences of a successful adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) systems at work. Since organizations actively implement new ICT systems and previous literature has identified end users as the most common source of ICT implementation problems and failures, the topic of this study is relevant and timely. The literature reviews carried out for this thesis suggest that in the ICT adoption research there is a lack of studies which apply theoretical approaches that view ICT adoption as a dynamic and social process and which have a qualitative and interpretive research approach. The three empirical sub-studies in this thesis make a contribution to the existing knowledge of ICT adoption by studying qualitatively and comprehensively employees' experiences when they adopt ICT systems, for example, how the employees learn how to use ICT systems and what problems they encounter during the adoption and learning process. This thesis considers an ICT adopter as a solitary and autonomous actor but also as a social actor who is tightly engaged in his or her social environment and context. The data were gathered from qualitative semi-structured interviews among 50 employees in three case organizations. The three case organizations represented different contexts: public and private and education, military, and industrial. The data were analyzed using a thematic analysis approach. The main findings show that employees prefer informal ways of learning how to use ICT, e.g., they ask for help from peers; the social context was the main source of use-related problems in ICT adoption, and self-determination in ICT adoption was experienced as a successful yet unsystematic way of adopting ICT. The main finding was that eight enablers for the successful adoption of an ICT system by employees were distinguished. The theoretical implication is that this thesis shows how three alternative theoretical research approaches, the activity system model, the model of institutionalization as a structuration process, and a learning approach, can be applied in order to analyze and understand the adoption of ICT by individuals. The practical implication is that the thesis provides useful information for support staff, managers, and designers on the adoption of ICT by individuals, such as how the adoption of ICT systems proceeds, how employees learn how to use ICT systems, and what problems they encounter.
Translated title of the contributionInformation and communication technology adoption at work : employees' experiences of adoption and learning
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Vartiainen, Matti, Supervising Professor
  • Kira, Mari, Thesis Advisor
  • Manninen, Jyri, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4385-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • adoption
  • activity system model
  • implementation
  • information technology
  • information and communication technology
  • institutionalization
  • learning
  • structuration theory
  • technology acceptance model


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