Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/TAM in the Workplace

TAM in the Workplace (Jeff Bazer)Edit

In the Technology Acceptable Model (TAM), users are forced to use a new system or technology related item all at a certain point vs the diffusion of innovation in letting the user decide when to upgrade. I see TAM used a lot in corporate environments with software upgrades and enhancements. In the original TAM proposed by Fred Davis there is a user motivation section which contains perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and attitude toward using. In my experience, there are users who fit into two categories - ones who are excited for something new and perceived to be easier and ones who don’t like change and are happy with how they do their job today. Then outside of that, there is the actual system use, so once the system has gone live and users are actually using the new system.

A very recent example of TAM is at work we were rebuilding one of our financial tools from a system that was dated by about 10 years. The system was finally ready to go live and there were trainings ahead of time, but the trainings consisted of someone standing in front of the room and showing users the new system - they were not allowed to go in and play with the new system early and try to get a feel for it. All the users left friday with the old system and came back Monday with the new system and there was a ton of confusion. To top all of that off, there ended up being bugs in the new system that made working even harder until an emergency fix went into place two days later.

While I don't always fully agree with TAM, I do think that it can be done well or very poorly. TAM is something that happens all the time in all kinds of fashion and has much room for improvement.