Kinetic Alfvén waves in the presence of an inhomogeneous electric field applied perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field in an anisotropic, inhomogeneous magnetoplasma are investigated. The particle aspect approach is adopted to investigate the trajectories of charged particles in the electromagnetic field of a kinetic Alfvén wave. Expressions are found for the field-aligned current, the perpendicular current, the dispersion relation and the particle energies. The growth rate of the wave is obtained by an energy- conservation method. It is predicted that plasma density inhomogeneity is the main source of instability, and an enhancement of the growth rate by electric field inhomogeneity and temperature anisotropy is found. The dispersion relation and growth rate involve the finite-Larmor-radius effect, electron inertia and the temperature anisotropy of the magnetoplasma. The applicability of the investigation to the auroral acceleration region is discussed.