The Influence of COVID-19 on Employees’ Use of Organizational Information Systems

Maayan Nakash, Dan Bouhnik
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 18  •  2023  •  pp. 353-368
COVID-19 was an unprecedented disruptive event that accelerated the shift to remote work and encouraged widespread adoption of digital tools in organizations. This empirical study was conducted from an organizational-strategic perspective, with the aim of examining how the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak affected employees’ use of organizational information systems (IS) as reflected in frequency.

To date, only a limited effort has been made, and a rather narrow perspective has been adopted, regarding the consequences of the adoption of new work environments following COVID-19. It seems that the literature is lacking in information regarding employee use of organizational IS since the outbreak of the pandemic. Specifically, this issue has not yet been examined in relation to employees’ perception about the organization’s digital efforts and technological maturity for remote work. The present study bridges this gap.

The public sector in Israel, which employs about a third of the Israeli work-force, was chosen as a case study of information-intensive organizations. During the first year of COVID-19, 716 questionnaires were completed by employees and managers belonging to four government ministries operating in Israel. The responses were statistically analyzed using a Chi-Square and Spearman’s Rho tests.

Given that the global pandemic is an ongoing phenomenon and not a passing episode, the findings provide important theoretical and practical contributions. The period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the period of the pandemic are compared with regard to organizational IS use. Specifically, the study sheds new light on the fact that employee perceptions motivated increased IS use during an emergency. The results contribute to the developing body of empirical knowledge in the IS field in the era of digital transformation (DT).

More than half of the respondents who reported that they did not use IS before COVID-19 stated that the pandemic did not change this. We also found a significant positive correlation between the perception of the digital efforts made by organizations to enable connection to the IS for remote work and a change in frequency of IS use. This frequency was also found to have a significant positive correlation with the perception of the organization’s technological maturity to enable effective and continuous remote work.

Recommendations for Practitioners.
In an era of accelerating DT, this paper provides insights that may support chief information officers and chief digital officers in understanding how to promote the use of IS. The results can be useful for raising awareness of the importance of communicating managerial messages for employees regarding the organizational strategy and the resilience achieved through IS not only in routine, but also in particular in emergency situations.

Recommendations for Researchers.
Considering that the continual crisis has created challenges in IS research, it is appropriate to continue researching the adaptation and acclimation of organizations to the “new normal”.

Impact on Society.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a sudden change in employment models, which have become more flexible than ever. The research insights enrich the knowledge about the concrete consequences of this critical change.

Future Research.
We suggest that researchers investigate this core issue in other sectors and/or other countries, in order to be obtain new and complementary empirical insights on a comparative basis.
COVID-19, new normal, information systems, information technology, remote work, digital transformation, workplace environment
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