The purpose of this paper is to examine how people respond when their identity is challenged as they use computerized information systems in organizational settings. Using the critical realism perspective, the author built on the identity control theory and suggested a set of generative mechanisms that shed light on how individuals respond to the challenges that information technology (IT) poses to their identities when performing their jobs and how it affects their sense of self.
The author conducted a field study in a Canadian health-care institution with the objective to examine how doctors and nurses coped with challenges posed by an Electronic Health Records system to their identities and how these systems shaped their identities. The author’s data are essentially qualitative. The author used retroduction as a mode off inference which combines both induction and deduction. The author hypothesized a set of identity mechanisms that are enacted as a response to a threat posed by IT in the work place. The author uses the evidence from the field study to verify the existence of these mechanisms and uncover new constructs and relationships that could enrich the understanding of the phenomenon.
The results allowed to verify and provide an updated view of the proposed generative mechanisms that are triggered when identity is put to challenge by IT in the workplace. The identified mechanisms are, identity adjusting, IT threat neutralizing and emotion regulating. Their outcomes, which are, reinforced identity, redefined identity, ambivalent identity and anti-identity are much dependent on the availability and the breadth of personal and organizational resources people have at their disposal.
The research offers a vantage point on how identities unfold in the course of interaction with technology. It contributes by providing empirically grounded mechanisms that shed light on how people response to threats posed by computerized information systems to identity and the various self-conceptions that ensue.
Nach, H. (2015), "Identity under challenge: Examining user’s responses to computerized information systems", Management Research Review, Vol. 38 No. 7, pp. 703-725. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-02-2014-0031Download as .RIS
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