Original Research

Unlocking technology acceptance among South African employees: A psychological perspective

Mariella Noriega Del Valle, Karolina Łaba, Claude-Hélène Mayer
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 50 | a2177 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v50i0.2177 | © 2024 Mariella Noriega Del Valle, Karolina Łaba, Claude-Hélène Mayer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 January 2024 | Published: 07 May 2024

About the author(s)

Mariella Noriega Del Valle, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Karolina Łaba, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Claude-Hélène Mayer, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: The study delves into technological acceptance within South African organisations, identifying psychological factors influencing employees’ willingness to adopt technology. Barriers to technology adoption are explored, emphasising the universal relevance of identified psychological constructs.

Research purpose: To understand the psychological barriers influencing successful technological adoption in South African organisations.

Motivations for the study: High failure rates in tech-implementation projects are linked to employee resistance, revealing a crucial gap in understanding psychological dynamics. Recognising human factors as pivotal to technological success, there is a need to transcend technical aspects, exploring individual experiences during organisational transitions.

Research approach/design and method: Using a qualitative approach with non-random snowball sampling, 17 South African employees were interviewed in a semi-structured manner. Thematic analysis revealed specific categories of psychological barriers.

Main findings: Identified barriers proved to be the antithesis of positive psychological constructs, including lack of psychological safety, lack of organisational trust, lack of psychological availability, negative emotions, low self-efficacy and low frustration tolerance. The presence of these barriers, hindering participants’ willingness to adopt new technologies.

Practical/managerial implications: Organisations are advised to prioritise fostering a culture of psychological safety and trust, transparent communication and positive emotional experiences during technology adoption at the individual level. Training programmes enhancing self-efficacy and promoting mindfulness practices can mitigate barriers.

Contribution/value-add: This research stresses the significance of the role of psychological factors in inhibiting an employee’s technological acceptance, providing practical guidance for industrial psychologists, HR professionals and change managers. The need to consider individual experiences during technological transitions, has universal implications across diverse workplaces.


Keywords

technological acceptance; psychological barriers; technology adoption; organisational trust; psychological safety; negative emotions; self-efficacy; South Africa.

JEL Codes

D91: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

Metrics

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