Perceived effect of computer self-efficacy on college student computer use.

Author:Heilman, George E.

    The adoption and use of information technology (IT) has been associated with a variety of benefits such as improved productivity, increased effectiveness and improved decision making (Curley and Pyburn, 1982; Kim and Malhotra, 2005). But IT cannot yield advantage or realize its potential if it is not used (Lin et al., 1993). Human forces such as user behavioral problems and psychological reactions have long been recognized as major contributors to failures in the adoption and use of IT systems (Heilman and Hornstein, 1982, Lucas 1975, Robey 1979). As a result, there has been a continuing interest in the investigation of the environmental elements, and their concomitant attitudes and behaviors, which can lead to system "success" (the adoption and use of technology). One such factor that has been the focus of a number of investigations in both organizational and academic environments is the concept of computer self-efficacy.

    Efficacy is defined as the capacity for producing a desired result or effect (, 2011). Selfefficacy narrows this definition to describe a person's belief in his or her ability to succeed in performing tasks that produce an effect (Bandura, 1982). This concept of self-efficacy has been extended and refined in a number of domains (Khorrami-Arani, 2001). When viewed from the context of the IT domain, selfefficacy, typically referred to as computer self-efficacy, describes computer users' perceptions of their ability to use and control computers (Compeau and Higgins, 1996; Hill et al., 1987; Thompson et al., 1991, 1994).

    The investigation of computer self-efficacy (CSE) within academia goes back nearly four decades. For example, Salomon (1974) found that computer self-efficacy is related to the adoption of computer systems that support teaching and learning. More recent studies such as Hasan (2006), Hsu et al. (2009), Scott and Walczak (2009) continue to confirm the relationship between CSE and technology acceptance within academia. Other investigations within academia have found that higher levels of computer selfefficacy are also associated with positive perceptions of the use of computer systems, more system trust, greater motivation, better academic performance and improved learning outcomes (Madhaven and Phillips, 2010; Moos and Azevedo, 2009: Shih, 2006; Tzeng, 2009).

    This study seeks to expand the understanding of the impact of student psychological factors on technology use in academia by testing for a causal relationship between college student perceptions of their Computer Self-Efficacy within their academic environment and the students' reported levels of Computer Usage. More specifically, the study seeks to validate a Computer Self-Efficacy construct and evaluates its effect on student Computer Usage. This type of examination reinforces the importance of perceptions in educational systems success (when usage is a surrogate for success) and expands the understanding of students' psychological reactions to technology.


    Computer Self-Efficacy refers to the degree to which a person perceives that he/she has control over computers. According to Bandura (1982), judgments about how well one can execute courses of action can function as determinants of behavior. Therefore, computer usage levels should be higher for individuals who perceive that they have greater control over their computers, and lower for those who feel they lack control over computers.

    The Computer Self-Efficacy construct used in this study is derived from Hill et al. (1987), and is similar to the Near-Term Consequences: Complexity construct of Thompson et al. (1991, 1994), and the Computer Self-Efficacy construct of Compeau and Higgins (1996). The study tests a structural model of student perceptions of the relationship between Computer Self-Efficacy and Computer Usage as shown in Figure 1.

    As previously stated, the purpose of this study is to validate the Computer Self-Efficacy construct and examine its relationship to Computer Usage among undergraduate college students. The results described here are part of a larger investigation of affective and psychological variables that may be related to student Computer Usage.


    3.1 Sample and Procedure

    A survey instrument was administered to several sections of an Information Systems Management course required for all undergraduate business majors. Course enrollment included students from all departments within the business school. Each student was asked to complete the survey at the beginning of a regularly scheduled class meeting. No...

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