Lena Gribel


The recent advances in information technologies have dramatically changed the manner in which people understand, experience and use IT systems. Wearable computers are emerging new technologies in the evolution of mobile devices, which introduce a paradigm shift in the field of human computer-interaction. By equipping the user with computational capabilities, ‘wearables’ provide context-aware and seamlessly integrated on-the-fly computing across heterogeneous circumstances and irrespective of place and time. Not least the very promising market prospects for wearable devices imply various unprecedented business opportunities and a vast economic potential of these socio-technological gadgets. Nonetheless, analysis of the current market situation shows that the wearable computing sector is still a niche, characterised by low public awareness and a high level of turbulence and uncertainty. In view of the numerous efforts in the area of innovation, which failed due to a lack of consumer acceptance, it becomes clear that facilitation of acceptability is a key issue for entrepreneurship. However, up to now, there is only little scientific research on the acceptance of ubiquitous computing in general and, in particular, on the latent success factors of the wearable computing phenomenon. At the same time, it is also significant that personality variables have seldom been examined within the scope of Information Systems research. Therefore, the overall aim of this study is to deepen understanding of latent psychographic factors that lead to either acceptance or resistance towards wearable computing. Specifically, a new behavioural model is introduced, which extends the well-established Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) by explicitly incorporating a dispositional perspective into the conceptual framework. By means of an extensive literature review that combines different streams of research, this thesis lays a theoretical substantiation of the study. Based on the findings from the conceptual work together with the results from an exploratory study, salient psychological factors are identified and integrated into a coherent system of hypotheses. The derived cause-effect model conceptualises the behavioural intention to use wearables as a consequence of cognitive beliefs and personality-related correlates. The validity of the structural model and its measurement instruments is empirically tested with the aid of a web-based survey that was distributed to a sample of over 500 participants from the target population, of which 474 cases were accepted. The results of the quantitative study identify the perceived support of health and fitness as well as the perceived enhancement of personal abilities as strongest individual-level drivers that affect the intention to use wearable technologies. On the contrary, perceived privacy risk was found to be a major barrier to adoption. Furthermore, the analysis of moderator effects shows that both the level of personal innovativeness and past experience with wearables indirectly influence benefit expectations. In other words, innovative individuals and those who are familiar with these technologies are more likely to develop positive attitudes towards the use of wearable devices. IX The empirical findings not only contribute to the existing body of knowledge in Information Systems research, but also have several important implications for marketing practitioners. Given the dominance of cognitive beliefs in attitude formation, companies in the wearable sector should focus more on informative issues in their communication to educate consumers about the main benefits of wearables. For wearables to be perceived as useful, they should operate even more naturally and unobtrusively than preceding mobile innovations, what clearly reinforces the significance of human-centred design principles and an implicit human-computer interaction. Since the study findings reveal that potential breaches in data privacy represent the greatest IT security concern, vendors should aim at improving consumer attitudes towards their privacy practices. Moreover, considering that risk perceptions are heavily affected by trusting beliefs, building consumer trust appears to be key in reducing latent uncertainties and resistance to adoption. In view of the individual differences that were proved to be of behavioural relevance, it seems furthermore worthwhile to divide the consumer market psychographically into relevant personality profiles: In the case of wearable computing, especially consumers who score high on the trait of neuroticism will act as early adopters. By developing target-group oriented communication strategies, marketers may efficiently approach the key segment of current and prospective wearable computing users.

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