Information technology implementers' responses to user resistance: Nature and effects


Published: 22Aug2012

Authors: Lapointe, Liette; Rivard, Suzanne


User resistance has long been acknowledged as a critical issue during information technology implementation. Resistance can be functional when it signals the existence of problems with the IT or with its effects; it will be dysfunctional when it leads to organizational disruption. Notwithstanding the nature of resistance, the implementers-business managers, functional managers, or IT professionals-have to address it. Although the literature recognizes the importance of user resistance, it has paid little attention to implementers' responses-and their effect-when resistance occurs. Our study focuses on this phenomenon, and addresses two questions: What are implementers' responses to user resistance? What are the effects of these responses on user resistance? To answer these questions, we conducted a case survey, which combines the richness of case studies with the benefits of analyzing large quantities of data. Our case database includes 89 cases with a total of 137 episodes of resistance. In response to our first research question, we propose a taxonomy that includes four categories of implementers' responses to user resistance: inaction, acknowledgment, rectification, and dissuasion. To answer our second question, we adopted a set-theoretic analysis approach, which we enriched with content analysis of the cases. Based on these analyses, we offer a theoretical explanation of how implementers' responses may affect the antecedents that earlier research found to be associated with user resistance behaviors. Copyright © 2012.

MIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems, September 2012