Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology: A Synthesis and the Road Ahead
Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Vol. 17, No. 5 (2016), pp. 328–376.
49 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2016 Last revised: 6 Oct 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2016
The unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) is a little over a decade old and has been used extensively in information systems (IS) and other fields, as the large number of citations to the original paper that introduced the theory evidences. In this paper, we review and synthesize the IS literature on UTAUT from September 2003 until December 2014, perform a theoretical analysis of UTAUT and its extensions, and chart an agenda for research going forward. Based on Weber’s (2012) framework of theory evaluation, we examined UTAUT and its extensions along two sets of quality dimensions; namely, the parts of a theory and the theory as a whole. While our review identifies many merits to UTAUT, we also found that the progress related to this theory has hampered further theoretical development in research into technology acceptance and use. To chart an agenda for research that will enable significant future work, we analyze the theoretical contributions of UTAUT using Whetten’s (2009) notion of cross-context theorizing. Our analysis reveals several limitations that lead us to propose a multi-level framework that can serve as the theoretical foundation for future research. Specifically, this framework integrates the notion of research context and cross-context theorizing with the theory evaluation framework to: (1) synthesize the existing UTAUT extensions across both the dimensions and the levels of the research context and (2) highlight promising research directions. We conclude with recommendations for future UTAUT-related research using the proposed framework.
Keywords: Theory evaluation, technology acceptance and use, unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT), research context, literature review, multi-level framework
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