Drawing on Appraisal Theory, this study explores the psychological impact of technology adoption during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK Higher Education (HE) employees. Using sentiment analysis, we analyse approximately 9000 tweets focusing on technology use in UK HE between March 2020 and February 2021, leading to the identification of significant changes in perceptions and feelings. Followingly, we undertake 52 in-depth online qualitative surveys (employing a laddering approach) from UK HE employees to better understand the emotional and psychological consequences of technology adoption. The results highlight four distinct phases based on the functional and emotional impact of technology: secure, scrutinize, streamline, and sustain. We observe that several distinct positive (e.g., empowerment and self-efficacy), and negative (e.g., isolation and stress) psychological consequences emerge in each phase, which are concomitant with the transition from an emergency/rapid to planned/proactive technology adoption and integration. This study offers a framework demonstrating the impact of technology adoption on employee emotions and how these emotions change during the transition from rapid to planned technology adoption. Thus, given the importance of emotions within organizations, the implications of our work offer valuable insights for organizations transitioning from emergency to planned technology adoption in the future.


This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Apostolidis, C., Devine, A. & Jabbar, A. 2022, 'From chalk to clicks – the impact of (rapid) technology adoption on employee emotions in the higher education sector', Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 182, article no: 121860. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2022.121860

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Last updated: 19 July 2022
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