Resumption of Digital Technologies: Why Employees Return to Previously Used Technologies


When working from home, e.g., during the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees are on their own. At home, they use various digital technologies to perform their daily work tasks. Many employees continue to use such digital technologies even after returning from remote work. This poses a significant security risk for companies and leads to a heterogeneous IT landscape. For instance, many employees used Dropbox instead of a network drive to store or share company data. Due to previous security breaches with Dropbox and to provide all employees with access to up-to-date data, it is now a crucial goal for companies, especially after the exceptional situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, to encourage employees to return to internal digital technologies.

Digital technologies are one of the most established research strands in business informatics. Consequently, research can explain why individuals start using digital technologies, progressively use them over an extended period, and eventually stop using them, using various theories and models. In addition, this project, funded by the DFG, develops a theoretical understanding of why individuals return to previously used digital technology and how companies can support this. The project provides insights that ending the use of a digital technology does not have to be final and why employees give digital technologies a second chance. The implications open up promising avenues for further research and offer valuable practical insights, including concrete recommendations, management strategies, and design options for digital technologies in companies.


Initial research results clearly show that many individuals end their use of digital technologies in a private context (e.g., the social media platform Facebook) and resume usage after months or years. We could use theoretical perspectives such as the Return Migration Theory to explain the behavior and identify its reasons. "Former users" fondly remember their previous usage because it was valuable and enjoyable. At the same time, they miss the digital technology currently, leading to a change in mindset and a resumption of usage.

Building on this, we subsequently combined several theories to provide a broader understanding. Our results emphasize the importance of satisfaction with a previously used digital technology, which leads to a return. Furthermore, the opinion of the social environment determines the rescue, so individuals are more likely to give digital technologies a second chance if many friends use them.

Selected Publications

  • Maier, C., Laumer, S., Thatcher, J.B., Sun, H., Weinert, C., and Weitzel, T. (2021)
    Social networking site use resumption: A model of return migration
    Journal of the Association for Information Systems,
  • Hotter, N., Stoeckl, F., Maier, C., and Eckhardt, A. (2023)
    Coming Back For More: Exploring Three Theoretical Perspectives Influencing IS Resumption
    Proceedings of the Thirty-first European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Kristiansand, Norway,