A65. Rice, R.E., Collins-Jarvis, L. & Zydney-Walker, S. (1999). Individual and structural influences on information technology helping relationships. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 27(4), 285-303.

Getting help in understanding how to use and interpret a new information system is a crucial organizational and individual resource. Indeed, both informal and formal sources of information technology help are expensive and necessary, but largely unidentified, unmanaged, and underresearched. This study proposes that two types of factors influence the formation of information technology helping relationships: individual and structural. Based on a survey of employees in an organization implementing a new workstation-based customer database system, the study compares influences on being sought as an informal source of IT help, and on types of help (individual or positional) that one seeks. One individual factor (some forms of computer expertise) and most structural factors (especially measures of employees’ perceived socialization, task interdependence, and communication networks) exerted weak but significant influences on employees’ IT helping relationships.

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