Understanding the Perception of Information System Niche: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Validation
The number of niche technologies is growing, and they are getting noticed. However, the usage dynamics of such systems have not been explored. This study introduces the “niche” information systems (IS) construct to differentiate between mainstream and niche technologies and to illustrate how such differences potentially influence a person’s IS usage behavior. We posit that niche-ness is perceptual, and a measurement to gauge an individual’s niche perception in the domain of systems usage is desired. Resting on Optimal Distinctiveness theory, the study develops a novel conceptualization and operationalization of niche technology perceptions, focusing on social networking systems. Our main contribution includes the examination of the typology of the perceived niche, which results in the development and validation of an eight-item instrument for perceived technology niche through three studies. In addition, by placing the construct in a nomological network in a fourth study, we demonstrate that the perceived technology niche construct is related to IS continuance intention.
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