Flow theory

From IS Theory
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This site is sponsored by the University of Colorado

Flow theory



Alternate name(s)


Main dependent construct(s)/factor(s)

a mental state of complete absorption

Main independent construct(s)/factor(s)

situation, activity, high level of challenge, focused attention, high level of skill

Concise description of theory

a mental state of complete absorption with the activity at hand, a feeling of total engagement and immersion, a harmonious blend of high level of challenge, focused attention and high level of skill

Diagram/schematic of theory

Originating author(s)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Seminal articles

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Plan and Intrinsic Rewards. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 15(3), 41-63.

Montgomery, H., Sharafi, P., & Hedman, L. R. (2004). Engaging in Activities Involving Information Technology: Dimensions, Modes, and Flow. Human Factors, 46(2), 334-348.

Qiu, L., & Benbasat, I. (2005). An Investigation into the Effects of Text-to-Speech Voice and 3D Avatars on the Perception of Presence and Flow of Live Help in Electronic Commerce. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 12(4), 329–355.

Hoffman, D. L. and T. P. Novak (2009). "Flow Online: Lessons Learned and Future Prospects." Journal of Interactive Marketing 23(1): 23-34.

Originating area

Positive psychology

Level of analysis


IS articles that use the theory

Agarwal, R., & Karahanna, E. (2000). Time Flies When You’re Having Fun: Cognitive Absorption and Beliefs About Information Technology Usage. MIS Quarterly, 24(4), 665-694.

Koufaris, M. (2002). Applying the Technology Acceptance Model and Flow Theory to Online Consumer Behavior. Information Systems Research, 13(2), 205-223.

Hsu, C.-L. and H.-P. Lu (2003). "Why Do People Play On-Line Games? An Extended TAM with Social Influences and Flow Experience." Information and Management 41(7): 853–868.

Kamis, A., Koufaris, M., & Stern, T. (2008). Using an Attribute-Based DSS for User-Customized Products Online: An Experimental Investigation. MIS Quarterly, 32(1), 159-177.

Links from this theory to other theories

External links


Original Contributor(s)

Arnold Kamis

Please feel free to make modifications to this site. In order to do so, you must register.

Return to Theories Used in IS Research