An application of the cusp catastrophe model to user information satisfaction


This study shows that there is a nonlinear relationship between overall user information satisfaction (UIS) and an index created by combining satisfaction responses to various information systems components/attributes. Several instruments have been developed in the IS literature to measure UIS. These measure UIS by asking respondents to rate their satisfaction/ dissatisfaction with a variety of IS attributes; for example, EDP services, EDP staff, information products, and involvement in IS development. Tests of predictive validity, in the past, have shown only a 55% correlation between global UIS and UIS scores. Here, we show that the global UIS measure and IS factor scores follow a nonlinear relationship and are, in fact, cusp-distributed. The extent of use of IS is shown to be a splitting factor in this distribution and produces abrupt, catastrophic changes. Responses from faculty members at an academic institution were used to test for the distribution using IS component scores as the normal independent variable and the extent of use of IS as the splitting variable. The cusp model was a more efficient predictor than the linear model or a control equation using bimodal transformation.


Information Technology and Cybersecurity

Document Type





Catastrophe theory, Measurement, User information satisfaction

Publication Date


Journal Title

Information and Management