Title

The Impact of Self-Efficacy on Willingness to Try Emerging Formats of Digital Content

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Professional Studies

Department

School of Information Studies

Advisor(s)

Ruth Small

Keywords

Content consumption, Early adoption, Self-efficacy, Willingness to try

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Prolific research on self-efficacy, willingness to try, and early adoption has repeatedly demonstrated correlation between these variables (Covington, 1984; Rogers, 1963; Bagozzi, 1992; Davis, 1993). Yet when it comes to practical application in the interactive industry (for example, among digital advertising agencies or product developers), the strategy of audience-targeted marketing (appealing to a specific group) often relies heavily on demographic personas rather than psychological personas, in large part because such persona types are easily identified and accessible: e.g. "I am an early adopter," or "I am a suburban soccer mom." These demographic personas draw heavily from Everett Rogers (2003) who identified consistent characteristics among early and/or willing adopters: age (generally under 30), income level (moderate to high), education level (college and beyond), and level of social interaction (high). Yet there is significant weakness with creating demographic-based personas such as this because this method fails to identify intrinsic motivators. For example, the above characteristics can be used to create a persona such as a "Stay-at-Home Mom": 29, college educated, household income $75-100K, and active in the community. However, this does not necessarily lead to similar behaviors among each "Stay-at-Home Mom," because despite sharing demographic categorization, each person will have varying underlying psychological makeup and motivation; one mother might have high self-efficacy and one might have low self-efficacy, and that is likely to impact willingness to try new technology.

Therefore, the ultimate goal of this study - What is the impact of self-efficacy on willingness to try emerging formats of digital content? - was to provide evidence of more significant correlation between self-efficacy and willingness to try emerging formats of digital content as opposed to demographic segmentation and willingness to try emerging formats of digital content, with emphasis on self-efficacy as the independent variable and the strength of its relationship with the willingness to try variable. Evidence of correlation, which was provided in this study, reduces the "high uncertainty [of the high-tech market] for both suppliers and consumers," resulting in more targeted and effective marketing and product development (Huh & Kim, 2008, p. 46) - allowing for the targeting of psychological motivators rather than demographics. Additionally, such conclusions will allow for efficient, successful encouragement of adoption by either targeting high self-efficacy populations or reducing psychological risk for low self-efficacy populations. Emerging formats of content can then be presented and tried without fear or confidence-reduction.

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