Toward a better understanding of behavioral intention and system usage constructs

To understand user behavior, researchers have examined intention to use, and system usage through some common conceptualizations such as actual usage, reported usage, and assessed usage. Although this entire body of research has produced important findings, it has yet to appreciably advance our theoretical understanding of behavioral intention (BI) and usage constructs. To fill this gap, this paper critically examines and compares these core variables as well as their relationships with key technology acceptance determinants. We find that (1) BI has a much higher correlation with the determinants than does usage, and thus more variance in BI than in usage can be explained; (2) BI is not a good surrogate for usage; (3) among the three usage constructs, assessed usage is the most and actual usage is the least highly correlated with BI; and (4) researchers should examine both actual usage and assessed usage in their every single study to bring to light the true relationships between system usage and its antecedents. This study thus helps IS scholars expand their baseline knowledge of these core variables, interpret the important messages conveyed by the extant literature, and conduct more fruitful and illuminating future research on user behavior.