When it comes to advancing IT, money matters but users matter most, study by Northcentral University PhD finds

"Technology needs to be a tool that complements the motivations of those who use it."
—Dr. Thomas Thompson II

The payoff from investing big in information technology isn't about how much money is spent, but how well end-users accept and implement it, a new study by a Northcentral University PhD concludes.

Research by Dr. Thomas Thompson II, conducted under the auspices of the Northcentral School of Business and Technology Management and cited as one the three best dissertations the past year, in essence shows that capital investment in information technology to improve worker productivity must be hinged with general workplace acceptance and regular, effective technical support.

Superior performance improvement and productivity gains are normally achieved when labor or ordinary capital is substituted by information technology (IT) in organizations, Dr. Thompson states in the abstract of Assessing the Determinants of Information Technology Adoption in Jamaica’s Public Sector Using the Technology Acceptance Mode.

"Consequently, on average, organizations have spent more than 50 percent of their total capital budget on IT, but have not gained commensurate return on their investments, partly due to the non-acceptance and underutilization of the technology," he writes.

Dr. Thompson takes his own country — Jamaica — as his case in point:

While the Jamaican government has invested billions of dollars in IT over the past 10 years to transform the way public-sector agencies operate, the government’s wage bill, which stands at about 11.75 percent of the country’s total output, continues to be a burden to taxpayers because of the relatively low productivity level of the country's large workforce that the technology investment is intended to improve.

His source data was gathered from 428 respondents from an electronic survey distributed to 1,607 public-sector workers in Jamaica’s Revenue Service that correlated self-efficacy with IT and the perceived ease of using it.

"Technology needs to be a tool that complements the motivations of those who use it," he said. "It's not just having access, it's what we do with that access and how we can create opportunity for ourselves, our families and society," he said during a ceremony honoring this year's top research at Northcentral University.

Dr. Thompson has immediate opportunity to apply his findings as the administrator in charge of the island-wide communication network and e-services infrastructure that support the Jamaican government's Revenue Services and E-Business Initiative.

He led the implementation of computer systems at Cable & Wireless Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago Telecommunication Services, Cable & Wireless Panama, and Cable & Wireless Barbados.

Dr. Thompson was a Dissertation of the Year award winner at the June 2011 Northcentral University commencement. He earned his PhD in Business and Technology Management specializing in Management Information Systems.