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Shocks and IS user behavior: a taxonomy and future research directions

Marco Meier (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)
Christian Maier (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)
Jason Bennett Thatcher (Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Tim Weitzel (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 8 September 2022

Issue publication date: 17 May 2023




Jarring events, be they global crises such as COVID-19 or technological events such as the Cambridge Analytica data incident, have bullwhip effects on billions of people's daily lives. Such “shocks” vary in their characteristics. While some shocks cause, for example, widespread adoption of information systems (IS) as diverse as Netflix and Teams, others lead users to stop using IS, such as Facebook. To offer insights into the multifaceted ways shocks influence user behavior, this study aims to assess the status quo of shock-related literature in the IS discipline and develop a taxonomy that paves the path for future IS research on shocks.


This study conducted a literature review (N = 70) to assess the status quo of shock-related research in the IS discipline. Through a qualitative study based on users who experienced shocks (N = 39), it confirmed the findings of previous literature in an illustrative IS research context. Integrating the findings of the literature review and qualitative study, this study informs a taxonomy of shocks impacting IS use.


This study identifies different ways that shocks influence user behavior. The taxonomy reveals that IS research could profit from considering environmental, private and work shocks and shedding light on positive shocks. IS research could also benefit from examining the urgency of shocks, as there are indications that this influences how and when individuals react to a specific shock.


Findings complement previous rational explanations for user behavior by showing technology use can be influenced by shocks. This study offers a foundation for forward-looking research that connects jarring events to patterns of technology use.



Funding: This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (Award Number: 437092197).


Meier, M., Maier, C., Thatcher, J.B. and Weitzel, T. (2023), "Shocks and IS user behavior: a taxonomy and future research directions", Internet Research, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 853-889.



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