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Smart, WJ 2009, 'Information system success: evaluation of a carbon accounting and sequestration system', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright WJ Smart 2009


The primary aim of the research conducted for this thesis was to develop a predictive model of information systems success for a publicly-available, web-based application that provides information to users on both the value of carbon credits that result from sequestration of carbon in a forest as well as potential earnings from supply of saleable timber. The application, also developed as part of this research, is called the CO2 Calculator. In addition attitudes of respondents to climate change and carbon sequestration were also gauged to ascertain their knowledge of key environmental issues relevant to the system.

The model used as the foundation for the research is the DeLone and McLean (1992, 2002, 2003) model of information systems success. This model was adapted to measure information systems success for the CO2 Calculator which is a publicly available, web-based application rather than a proprietary, task-specific, organizationally focused application as measured in the prior research.

Data was collected via a survey dispatched by email to users who accessed the CO2 Calculator. The survey instrument used builds on the existing work of Torkzadeh and Doll (1988, 1999), Seddon and Kiew (1994) and Torkzadeh et al. (2005). All of these researchers used variations of the End User Survey (EUS) to collect data on end users’ perceptions of the success of various applications, all of which were internal, organisationally-focussed, task specific, proprietary systems. This meant the survey items used for the current research were adapted to measure users’ attitudes to a publicly-available, web-based application that had no task-specific roles in an organisation.

Analysis of the data proceeded in two distinct phases. The first phase was the examination and presentation of descriptive information about the demographic characteristics of the sample and the users’ attitudes to climate change, carbon sequestration and the overall success of the CO2 Calculator. The descriptive data indicated the respondents are a technologically literate group who have concerns related to environmental management and the use of land for sustainable practices. It also showed that the users were extremely satisfied with the CO2 Calculator.

In the second phase Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was used to examine the constructs underlying the data and Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was used to examine the relationships among the constructs. Both the EFA and SEM resulted in structures and relationships that differed from the hypothesised outcomes and revealed a set of constructs and relationships that were clearly associated with the success of a publicly-available, web based application with different theoretical associations than those found by previous researchers examining organisationally-focussed, proprietary applications.

Regression analyses were also conducted to check the relationships among constructs that were omitted from the final structural model, but were on the hypothesised model. Support for their inclusion in further studies was found as the analysis identified that the scales used to measure these constructs were significant predictors of the outcome variables although not when networked with those constructs that were on the final measurement model.

Notwithstanding the limitations of the research, it has resulted in the identification of a predictive model of information success for web-based, publicly available, nonorganisationally focused systems.