Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Rajiv Sabherwal, Ph.D.


Mary C. Lacity

Ashok Subramanian

Haim Mano


The current study of wireless local area networks (WLAN) adoption in educational institutions is motivated by three reasons. First, most students are exposed to information technology when they are at K-12 schools. Indeed, educational institutions represent the largest segment in the WLAN market in the United States in terms of the number of adopters. Second, WLAN requires a substantial financial investment before it can enable an "anytime, anywhere" learning environment, and may thereby aggravate the digital divide between rich and poor schools. Third, although WLAN is infrastructure technology, it has different characteristics compared to other infrastructure information technologies; traditional infrastructure information technologies are mostly located such that they are transparent to the users, whereas WLAN is close to end users, so that they directly experience benefits related to mobility and convenience, which eventually impacts organization boundary and business processes. Recognizing the importance of WLAN and its difference from traditional infrastructure information technologies, this dissertation examines how WLAN adoption (i.e., whether or not to adopt WLAN) and deployment (i.e., the extent to which WLAN is used) are influenced by technological, environmental, organizational factors, socio-economic, and policy-related factors. It is based on an online survey of principals of 435 K-12 elementary, middle, and high schools in Missouri, including 190 adopters of WLAN and 245 schools that have not adopted WLAN. The results indicate that perceived benefit is not a significant predictor of WLAN adoption. Unlike previous research, satisfaction with current wired system positively affects WLAN adoption. Some of socio-economic variables also affect adoption of WLAN. Schools near urbanized areas are more likely to adopt WLAN than the schools near rural areas. Furthermore, the government and state subsidy E-rate positively affect WLAN adoption. When examining the determinants of WLAN deployment, perceived benefits of using WLAN significantly affect WLAN usage. Moreover, perceived benefits and barriers strongly affect satisfaction with WLAN, which in turn affects WLAN usage. Satisfaction from using WLAN significantly mediates the effect of various antecedent factors on WLAN usage. Implications of the results for IS researchers, practitioners, marketers, and policy makers are discussed and future avenues of the study are examined.

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