When it concerns IT use, habits refer to behaviors ceasing to be guided by intentions and becoming habitual (Limayem and Hirt, 2003) (Kim and Malhotra, 2005). Goal-directed behaviors differ from intentions in terms of appreciation and consciousness of decision (Ahuja and Thatcher, 2005). Indeed as primary reasons induce action in the concept of intention, goal-directed-behavior theory underlines that goals can be reached without being fully conscious of thought, especially when a goal-directed-behaviors encounter frequent repetitions and thus action is performed in a familiar environment as habits. Aarts and Djiksterhuis assert that habits can be considered as links between goals and actions activated by the environment and contributing in reaching these goals by inducement of automatic behavior. Therefore, the more often the activation of a goal conducts to the same behavior, the stronger the unconscious processes (Aaarts and Dijksterhuis, 2000) (Heckhausen and Beckman, 1990) (Reason, 1990).
Literature on automatic use of IT highlighting that reasoned action theory and planned behavior theory don’t cover the wide range of determinants for action. Further researches have to focus on IT-directed behavior (Ahuja and Thatcher, 2005) as automatic goal-directed responses to specific cues and resulting from a mental representation of goal-action bond that is instrumental in reaching the goal (Verplanken and Orbell, 2003).
However, let’s not forget the cons. Indeed, literature and this approach counts its contradictors, such as Bamberg stating that: “behavior is reasoned in nature” (Bamberg and al., 2003) (p.188) excluding habits as a would-be additional predictor of action in the theory of planned behavior (Sommer, 2011).
So… Are you IT addicted or not?
Aaarts, H., and Dijksterhuis, A. (2000). The automatic activation of goal-directed behavior: the case of travel habit. Journal of Environmental Psychology 20, 75-82.
Ahuja, M. K., and Thatcher, J. B. (2005). Moving beyong intentions and toward the theory of trying: effects of work environment and genderon post-adoption information technology use. MIS Quarterly 29, 427-459.
Bamberg, S., Ajzen, I., and Schmidt, P. (2003). Choice of Travel Mode in the Theory of Planned Behavior: The Roles of Past Behavior, Habit, and Reasoned Action. Basic & Applied Social Psychology 25, 175.
Heckhausen, H., and Beckmann, J. (1990). Intentional Action and Action Slips. Psychological Review 97, 36-48.
Kim, S. S., et Malhotra, N. K. (2005). A Longitudinal Model of Continued IS Use: An Integrative View of Four Mechanisms Underlying Postadoption Phenomena. Management Science 51, 741-755.
Limayem, M., and Hirt, S. G. (2003). Force of Habit and Information Systems Usage: Theory and Initial Validation. Journal of the Association for Information Systems 4.
Sommer, L. (2011). The Theory Of Planned Behaviour And The Impact Of Past Behaviour. International Business & Economics Research Journal 10, 91-110.
Verplanken, B., et Orbell, S. (2003). Reflections on Past Behavior: A Self-Report Index of Habit Strength. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 33, 1313-1330.