The Midlife Crisis of IT: Accurate Versus Inaccurate Perception of IT Effects

Bayer, Michael
Haug, Anders
Lombardi, Jolina
Hvam, Lars
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Information technology (IT) has been established as a major enabler for business performance. However, studies of the effects of IT typically involve the implicit assumption that the effects reported by the companies studied adequately and accurately describe IT’s effects. In this paper, we challenge this perspective by arguing that in many cases the perceived and actual effects of IT are different. Although most IT researchers likely recognize the discrepancy, this topic has not received much attention. Thus, through a case at a world-leading logistics company, we provide evidence that perceived and actual effects of IT can differ. On this basis, we develop a set of models that describe such discrepancies and use theories from the psychological literature to explain why the discrepancies occur. In this context, we use the term “midlife crisis” as a metaphor for what happens to decision makers’ perception of IT systems after a period of use.
Topics in Organizational Systems and Technology, business value of it, case study, cognitive bias, information technology, perception
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