This article builds on job characteristics and optimal flow theory to describe the experience of individuals using computers in the workplace. A model was developed and tested with linear structural relationship modeling (LISREL) with data from 149 professionals employed in a variety of organizations. Flow, which is characterized by intense concentration and enjoyment, was found to be significantly linked with exploratory use behavior, which in turn was linked to extent of computer use. Flow was itself determined by the individual’s sense of being in control and the level of challenge perceived in using computers. Perceived control was more important for individuals with high task-scope jobs, that is, jobs with high variety, identity, autonomy, and feedback. Challenge played a greater role for low task-scope individuals. Practical and theoretical implications of the model are discussed, and suggestions for further research are offered.
This publication explores flow in human-computer interaction. Flow theory is commonly utilized in experience research design.