Inderscience Publishers

Computer use-innovativeness: cognition and context

A test is reported of Midgley and Dowling's contingency model of consumer innovativeness which ascribes adoption of new products to innate innovativeness mediated by product field interest and situational facilitation/inhibition. Kirton's measure of adaptive-innovative cognitive style operationalises innate innovativeness, while Zaichkowsky's measure of personal involvement assesses product field interest. Subjects (127 graduate business school students) were in programs that differed in required use of computer applications. While adaption-innovation and personal involvement explain overall computer use when situational effects are omitted, inclusion of task orientation renders the contribution of cognitive style non-significant. Cognitive style and personal involvement are related to separate elements of computer use. The results are thus non-supportive of the Midgley-Dowling theory. Suggestions for further research are made and a behaviouristic interpretation of the results is discussed as an alternative to the instrumentalist approach of the Midgley-Dowling model. Managerial implications of the findings are briefly considered.

Keywords: cognitive style, consumer theory, innovativeness, computing

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