User Adoption

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Research shows that 45% of employees’ time on computers is wasted because of trying experiences.  Although these frustrations have common roots, employees’ reactions to tech issues vary widely.1

Vitalyst, the global leader in employee software coaching, has identified the five distinct personality types of tech-frustrated employees so that IT leaders can recognize them, understand them and adjust their approaches accordingly.  Only through effective and early employee software coaching can enterprises turn their frustrations around, increasing employee proficiency and eventually, enterprise-wide productivity.
But until an enterprise asks for help, there will always
these people…

1. The Apologizer
Submits and sends documents with a callout apologizing for low-quality work, refusing to ask for help, not taking advantage of technology investment and painting technology as the scapegoat.

Business Impact:
  • Sending incomplete, incorrect, unformatted work negatively impacts the work-product.
  • Weak, apologetic communication of tech frustration harms business relationships.
Factual Support:

“An important skill for employees today is the ability to work amid fast business growth while remaining satisfied with their jobs and performing to the best of their abilities.”  (Journal of Managerial Issues, “Preparing Students for Success in Team Work Environments,” Sanjib Chowdhury, Megan Endres, et al., Fall 2002)

2.  The Interrupter

Disrupts concentration by asking others to accomplish routine technology tasks, interrupting other employees’ workflow, constantly triaging with members of the IT service desk, and spending more time figuring out small tech issues than on substantive work solutions.

Business Impact:
  • Constant requests for help decrease productivity of the employee.
  • Constant interruption to colleagues’ workflow impacts enterprise productivity.
  • Wasted focus on small, easily-avoided tech issues takes time away from substantive business issues.
Factual Support:

“Wasted time costs the organization [nearly $20,000] per information worker per year and amounts to a loss of 21% in the organization’s total productivity.”  (IDC, “Bridging the Information Worker Productivity Gap: New Challenges and Opportunities for IT,” Melissa Webster, September 2012)

3. The Delegator

Pawns off work on co-workers, asking them to complete the task instead.  Wastes two employees’ time at once by refusing to learn new technology and frustrating those around them.

Business Impact:
  • Delegation keeps colleagues and employees away from performing their own business-driving tasks.
  • Delegation results in duplication of employees’ efforts.
Factual Support:

“Between one-third and one-half of the time spent in front of the computer is lost due to frustrating experiences—when considering both the time it took to fix the problem and any additional time that was lost due to it.”  (Towson University Department of Computer Information Sciences, “User Frustration with Technology in the Workplace,” Irina Ceaparu, et al., 2004)

4. The Quitter

Gives up completion of critical tasks because of tech complaints, creating inefficiencies, dropping the ball, viewing technology as non-essential, and causing others to follow suit.

Business Impact:
  • Refusal to learn and unwillingness to adopt technology slows business growth.
  • Employee withdrawal from task creates abandonment of business goals, absenteeism, and/or turnover.
  • Refusal to pursue new ideas out of fear that technology becomes barrier and prevents individual and enterprise-wide innovation.
Factual Support:

“Examples of withdrawal behavior in an organization would include the abandonment of a goal, absenteeism, or turnover.”  (Journal of Occupational Psychology, “Relationships of organizational frustration with reported behavioral reactions: The moderating effect of perceived control,” Storms and Spector, 1987)

5. The Exploder

Views technology as the enemy, throwing tech temper tantrums through furious key-typing, laptop computer-slamming, violent phone-shaking, and forceful button-pressing.

Business Impact:
  • Aggressive displays of frustration halt productivity.
  • Creates unhealthy work environment and impacts workplace setting.
Factual Support:

“Organizational frustration is positively correlated with several negative behavioral reactions—aggression, sabotage, hostility and complaining, withdrawal and intent to quit.”  (Journal of Occupational Psychology, “Relationships of organizational frustration with reported behavioral reactions: The moderating effect of perceived control,” Storms and Spector, 1987)


There will always be disparate personality types within all industries, but as technology becomes more and more essential to productivity, managers need to be aware of their employees’ frustrations, the ways they manifest themselves, and what they can do to prevent them.

1. User Frustration with Technology in the Workplace, Towson,