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It Don't Come Easy: Overcoming Obstacles to Technology Use Within a Resistant Consumer Group



    1. Mary C. Gilly ( is Professor of Marketing in the Paul Merage School of Business at University of California, Irvine
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    1. Mary Wolfinbarger Celsi ( is Professor of Marketing in the College of Business Administration at California State University, Long Beach
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    1. Hope Jensen Schau ( is Associate Professor of Marketing, holding the Gary M. Munsinger Chair in Entrepreneurship & Innovation and is a Susan Bulkeley Butler Fellow in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. This research has been supported by grants from the CISE/IIS/CSS Division of the U.S. National Science Foundation and the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (CISE/EEC) to the Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations (CRITO) at the University of California, Irvine. Industry sponsors include: The Boeing Company, Canon Development Americas, Conexant Systems, IBM, Intel, IDC, Microsoft, Quantum, TSC and the U.S. Department of Defense—Office of Force Transformation. The authors would like to acknowledge the late Jean Pond for her many contributions.
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To identify ways in which resistance can be overcome and technology's potential realized, we study acceptance and use of a specific technology, the Internet, by a specific resistant group, older consumers. Using interviews and a survey of consumers who are over 65 years old, we discover that curiosity and proactive coping drive technology optimism, which then predicts adoption and heavier usage. Motivated seniors with technology discomfort get help to adopt and continued assistance to learn usage repertoires. Surprisingly, technology discomfort is positively rather than negatively related to usage enthusiasm. Implications are drawn for consumer groups resistant to technology.