Namkee Park

Committee:
Margaret McLaughlin, Chair
Kwan Min Lee, Albert Rizzo

ABSTRACT
User Acceptance of Computer-Based VoIP Phone Service: An Application of the Technology Acceptance Model

The recent few years have witnessed remarkable growth in the use of computer-based VoIP phone service, which allows computer users to talk to other people at no or little cost via calls through an Internet connection. Employing a theoretical framework from the technology acceptance model (TAM), the uses and gratifications approach, diffusion theory, and the theory of media richness, this study aims to examine the process of adoption and use of computer-based VoIP phone service, and further derive the determinants of technology acceptance by looking at user characteristics.

A nationwide online survey was conducted in the U.S., yielding a total sample size of 1,656 of which the valid number of computer-based VoIP phone service users was 309. Results from structural equation modeling analyses showed that users’ perceived ease of use had a significant impact on perceived usefulness, which in turn affected their attitude toward using computer-based VoIP phone service, as the TAM suggested. However, users’ perceived usefulness of the technology did not exhibit a direct influence on actual use of the technology, contrary to expectation.

Among the exogenous variables utilized in the current study, the motivations for communication and instrumental use played the most important role in the explanation of adoption and use of computer-based VoIP phone service. The motivation for entertainment, however, had negative effects on perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and attitude toward using the technology. In the case of system characteristics, perceived cost effectiveness affected all dependent variables either directly or indirectly, confirming that cost reduction would be the greatest attraction of computer-based VoIP phone service. In addition, users of the technology exhibited higher Internet self-efficacy, owned more communication technology products, and showed greater innovative attitude than non-users.

Findings of the study offer both theoretical and practical implications. The study proposes an integration of the TAM and the uses and gratifications approach by incorporating motivations as critical constructs that facilitate perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness. Moreover, the study suggests that the vendors of computer-based VoIP phone service need to develop unique features and functions beyond the cost advantage of the technology.