Why Wait? Modeling Factors that Influence the Decision of When to Learn a New Use of Technology Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examines the decision of when potential system users choose to learn new uses of technology. To explain the outcome of this decision, we construct a model based on deferral option pricing theory and operationalize its parameters through constructs consisting of anticipated emotions regarding failure costs, waiting costs, and potential rewards. Additionally we operationalize and test alternative explanations defining the outcome of when a new use of technology is learned and these consist of perceived usefulness of the technology, time pressure, and subjective norms. These decision determinants are examined across two experiments; each experiment using a vignette-based methodology that evokes a different level of external motivation. In the case of a powerful external referent, subjective norms appear to crowd out intrinsic responses and they dominate the decision to learn a new use of technology. However, when an external referent does not dominate the decision setting, anticipated emotions in the form of perceived failure costs and perceived waiting costs determine the decision of when to learn a new use of technology. Our findings offer theoretical support for the efficacy of deferral option theory and underscore the importance of modeling impediments in the decision to learn a new use of technology in situations when an external motivator does not dominate the decision.

author list (cited authors)

  • Loraas, T., & Wolfe, C. J

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Loraas, Tina||Wolfe, Christopher J

publication date

  • January 2006