Dr James completed his PhD from the University of Southern Queensland in 2015. The final document contained 100,819 words, 124 figures, 101 tables and 403 references! You can download and read the full thesis at the USQ ePrints site.


Adoption and use of Web 2.0 technologies: a comparison of four adoption models as a case study of a state government eExtension project


The adoption and use of three Web 2.0 technologies (web conferencing, eSurveys, and YouTube videos) were studied using the following four adoption models: the Diffusion of Innovations, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology, the Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool (ADOPT), and Switch: How to change things when change is hard. It is believed that this research study comparing four quite divergent models is the first of its kind attempted, and similarly its focus on the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies.

The study was conducted within an organisational context of a state government agriculture department. Unlike previous studies which focused on individuals in an organisational setting with attitude factors such as perceived use, this study considered the actual usage of the technologies by government staff.

A case study approach with mixed methods consisting of quantitative and qualitative techniques utilised the results from six data sets – five surveys and one set of observational data – all collected as part of the Queensland Government’s eExtension project. Staff actively using the eTechnologies were surveyed for the eExtension project baseline survey (n=119), the Impact of web conferencing survey (n=56), the Impact of eSurveys survey (n=47), the YouTube video training workshop survey (n=39) and finally, the Motivation to adopt an innovation survey (n=94). In that final survey, organisational users of the Web 2.0 technologies selected one of the three technologies – eSurveys, webinars, or YouTube videos – and rated their degree of use of the technology, nominated the factors that encouraged and discouraged adoption of the technology, and then responded to questions from the four adoption models.

The quantitative data was analysed using R (including ANOVA, Principal Components Analysis and Hierarchical Cluster Analysis) and the qualitative data was analysed using content analysis (predominantly undertaken manually but also electronically using Leximancer and Wordle).

While it was not possible to determine whether one of the four models was any more effective than the others at predicting adoption, the Hierarchical Cluster Analysis confirmed that the Diffusion of Innovations and ADOPT models were robust with minimal overlapping questions within them.

Unlike any previous study reviewed, an analysis was undertaken to determine whether there was a difference between human or technology related questions. An analysis across all the questions indicated that questions categorised as relating to technological factors were slightly better at predicting adoption that those categorised as human factors.

This study also identified the factors that encouraged the adoption and use of new technologies, which for eSurveys were the increased efficiency of creating, distributing and analysing surveys; the ease of use for the survey creator and respondent; saving time and money; accessibility of reaching people; and the ease of distribution. These factors for webinars were that they provided more opportunities to interact; reduced travel and were cost effective; provided visual aids in seeing each other and documents, were easy to use or to get support and assistance. The factors that encouraged adoption of YouTube style videos were their use as a visual tool for training and/or conveying information; lower costs associated with making video as opposed to other options; greater acceptance and/or demand by the target audience; and having received training to make the videos. The overall themes that emerged regarding the factors that encouraged adoption of the new technologies were that they needed to be easy to use, save time and money, and they required the provision of support.

The research study also identified the factors that discouraged adoption of the new technologies. For eSurveys these were learning how to use the technology and the lack of acceptance of the technology by end-users. For webinars they were the lack of training for organisers and/or participants; lack of Departmental support; potential participants not accepting the technology and/or not having access to equipment; the preference for face-to-face interaction and the cost. Finally, for YouTube the factors were lack of training, lack of Departmental support, lack of access to equipment, and lack of time. The overall themes that emerged regarding the factors that discouraged adoption of the new technologies were lack of training on how to use the new technology, end-users not being receptive to it, lack of departmental support and/or policy, and lack of access to equipment.

The benefits derived from the use of these modern technologies were also identified, and for web conferencing these were saving travel time, saving travel money, better engaging with clients and/or colleagues, being more innovative and being more responsive to the needs of clients and/or colleagues. The benefits derived from the use of eSurveys were being more efficient by saving time and effort when gathering feedback from clients, being more responsive to the needs of clients, being more innovative, making better informed decisions, and more efficiently gathering feedback after an event. The main benefit derived from YouTube videos was an efficient means of communication without the use of paper.

A new model for the adoption and use of Web 2.0 technologies, the User benefits model, was developed for an organisational setting. It comprises four factors related to user benefits: contagious benefits, supporting benefits, working smarter benefits and noticeable, trialable benefits.

Full thesis

To download the full thesis, visit the USQ ePrints site.