Influence of contextual factors on the adoption process of Robotic process automation (RPA) : Case study at Stora Enso Finance Delivery

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Abstract: This study investigates the intra-organisational adoption of technological innovation and focuses specifically on the perceived influence of innovation, organizational, individual and managerial facilitation factors on the adoption process of Robotic process automation (RPA) technology. Based on an exploration and integration of eight adoption related frameworks from Innovation diffusion, User acceptance and Change management fields, a conceptual model linking the system level change to individual level commitment process was created. The model integrates concepts from Diffusion of Innovation, Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Technology Acceptance Model, Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use, Lewin’s 3 stage-model, Kotter’s 8-step model and Change Institutionalization framework. A qualitative case study at Stora Enso’s Finance delivery function was conducted utilizing semi-structured interviews to contribute to better understanding about the adoption process of RPA. The empirical data was then analysed against the created conceptual model. The findings from the case study suggest that contextual factors related to innovation, organizational, individual and managerial facilitation attributes are perceived to influence the adoption of RPA. In relation to innovation attributes the key themes identified were RPA advantages, risks and threats, ease of understanding and use, development effort and RPA-process fit. Under the category of organizational attributes, the main factors identified were RPA-organization fit, previous RPA experience, RPA capabilities and organizational support. Key individual attribute related factors were personality, time resources, previous success with RPA and personal motivation, and main managerial facilitation attributes were management support, communication, knowledge and experience sharing, training and skill development and employee involvement.

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