Is IT What You Make out of IT? On Affordances, Goals, and Positive and Negative Consequences in Activity Tracking

Creators: Rockmann, Robert and Gewald, Heiko
Title: Is IT What You Make out of IT? On Affordances, Goals, and Positive and Negative Consequences in Activity Tracking
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Event Title: Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)
Event Location: Seoul, Korea
Projects: CROSS
Date: December 2017
Divisions: Informationsmanagement
Abstract: Activity tracking apps –such as Strava or Runtastic– are positioned to enhance people’s motivation towards physical activity and healthy behavior. Though positive consequences are widely anticipated, users have contradictory relationships with these apps resulting in often harmful experiences. To address the shortcomings in research and practice about why and when positive and negative effects can occur, this study makes an effort by drawing on the concept of affordances and goal theory to explain how user-artifact interactions produce different consequences. We identify six conceptual affordances salient in activity tracking and develop arguments how these affordances become actualized in dependence of the users’ goals. We also point out that users will become exposed to affordances that will not necessarily match their goal orientation leading to negative experiences. Our research therefore aims to contribute to a nuanced understanding of activity tracking and to enhance the theoretical accounts of the affordance actualization process.
Citation:

Rockmann, Robert and Gewald, Heiko (2017) Is IT What You Make out of IT? On Affordances, Goals, and Positive and Negative Consequences in Activity Tracking. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Seoul, Korea.

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