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Task Domain Knowledge as a Moderator of Information System Usage

Description: Information system (IS) support of human problem solving during the complex task of auditing within a computer environment was investigated. 74 computer audit specialist professionals from nine firms participated in the field experiment. Task accomplishment behavior was recorded via a computerized activity-logging technique. Theoretical constructs of interest included: 1) IS problem-solving support, 2) task domain knowledge, and 3) decision-making behavior. It was theorized that task domain knowledge influences the type of IS most functionally appropriate for usage by that individual. IS task presentation served as the treatment variable. Task domain knowledge was investigated as a moderating factor of task accomplishment Task accomplishment, the dependent variable, was defined as search control strategy and quality of task performance. A subject's task domain knowledge was assessed over seven theoretical domains. Subjects were assigned to higher or lower task domain knowledge groups based on performance on professional competency examination questions. Research hypothesis one investigated the effects of task domain knowledge on task accomplishment behavior. Several task domain knowledge bases were found to influence both search control strategy and task performance. Task presentation ordering effects, hypothesis two, were not found to significantly influence search control strategy or task performance. The third hypothesis investigated interaction effects of a subject's task domain knowledge and task presentation ordering treatments on task accomplishment behavior. An interaction effect was found to influence the subject's search control strategy. The computer-specific knowledge base and task presentation ordering treatments were found to interact as joint moderators of search control strategy. Task performance was not found to be significantly influenced by interaction effects. Users' task accomplishment was modeled based upon problem-solving behavior. A subject's level of task domain knowledge was found to serve as a moderating factor of IS usage. Human information-processing strategies, IS usage, and task domain knowledge were integrated into a comprehensive ...
Date: May 1993
Creator: Marshall, Thomas E. (Thomas Edward), 1954-