Purpose: An “IT mindset” significantly influences public sector information technology (IT) adoption in least developed countries (LDCs). The purpose of this paper is to explore the IT mindset concept and its relationship with IT knowledge and intention to explore IT in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach: The research used a mixed-methods approach in two phases. Qualitative work was conducted to formulate the conceptual framework and hypotheses, followed by a survey of 228 public sector officials in Bangladesh to test the hypotheses. Findings: The study showed that an IT mindset can be conceptualised as comprising personal innovativeness with IT and IT beliefs. The IT mindset was significantly related to intention to explore IT use in the workplace and its components were influenced by an individual’s IT skills and IT awareness. Research limitations/implications: Future research could further explore the IT mindset concept and its antecedents and consequences in LDCs, where it is often related to successful IT adoption, and also in public and private organisations elsewhere. Practical implications: The study furthers understanding of barriers to IT adoption in LDCs’ public sectors. Building IT knowledge through IT skills and awareness is required to orient mindsets to IT adoption. Social implications: Improved efficiency, productivity and transparency in the public sector through IT use have flow-on societal and economic benefits. The paper provides insights into greater facilitation of e-government and IT in the public sector. Originality/value: The study is theoretically significant because the IT mindset concept has lacked in-depth study and requires clarification of its nature and role.