Väitöstilaisuus: 10.12.2011 klo 12.00
Paikka: Linnanmaa, luentosali: IT116
Väittelijä: Heli Tervo
Aihe: Information technology incidents in the present information society : Viewpoints of service providers, users, and the mass media
Kustos: professori Mikko Siponen
Our society relies increasingly on information technology (IT). In such a society, it is important that we, as citizens, trust and are satisfied with services utilizing IT. Unfortunately, IT problems in the use of services are part of our daily lives and, as such, are frequently reported by the mass media. While the information systems (IS) field has studied system and service acceptance, use, threats, and failures, we have found no studies that examine how these IT failures affect the system usage after a failure.
This dissertation addresses this gap in research by studying users’ intentions after service degradation related to IT problems and providing a larger view of IT-based incidents in an information society from the viewpoints of the mass media and service providers. In order to do this, a newspaper survey was first conducted to ascertain a concept of the public perception of IT-based problems. Second, qualitative interviews were conducted to reach an understanding of service providers’ viewpoints of IT problems. Third, users’ attitudes and reactions to service degradation were studied through interviews.
The main results reveal that most of the IT problems visible to society are the same ones that system and service providers perceive to be the most problematic. Our results suggest that, after service degradation, users are eager to use the service again if they receive relevant information. Compensation alone will not satisfy users when the incident creates unpredictability and uncertainty for them. If the system provider does not inform users directly after the incident, they readily rely on the mass media. Information and knowledge thus play a significant role in incidents. However, there are two service types where we found a different type of user reaction. First, telecommunications and computers seemed to be special cases, with more tolerance of problems in general. Second, the tolerance was low with regard to vital services, i.e., services related to children, health, and safety, for example. Nevertheless, in interviews it was seen that in both types of services the effect of real time and accurate information was influential, often more than any other activities in the failure recovery. The results of this study provide new views of IT-based incidents in an information society, as well as insights for service providers to better recover from service degradation.