An empirical investigation of factors influencing the successful treatment of organisational issues in information systems development
There are far too many Information Systems (IS) projects which end in failure. It is widely recognised that the primary reasons for this are essentially human and organisational and rarely technical. Although it is found that the vast majority of IT specialists consider human and organisational issues to be of equal if not of greater importance than technical issues, in practice they are still focusing on technical aspects at the expense of human and organisational issues in Information Systems Development (ISD) and implementation. Despite the awareness of the importance of human and organisational issues in ISD, little is known about how these issues can actually be addressed. This study attempts to fill this gap by investigating empirically how, when and by tinhorn a set of 14 specific organisational issues are treated in practice, and explores whether the treatment of this set of issues is dependent upon the employment of specific Systems Development Methods (SDM) or the successful adoption of organisationally oriented best practice factors. In excess of 2,250 questionnaires were posted to IS/IT directors in different British organisations which had over 250 employees, and 344 valid responses were received. This mail survey was followed by a series of focus groups interviewees with IT practitioners. It was envisaged that the integration of the two strategies would provide a very effective mechanism for combining the complementary advantages of the qualitative and quantitative research approaches. The interviews provided a richer picture of the research statistical results and explored their meaning and implications. This research presents empirical evidence that the level of organisational issues consideration, the tinting of treatment, and the person/people responsible for the treatment during ISD significantly influence the overall level of systems' success. The findings also show that there is a significant correlation between the adoption of best practice factors and the overall success of IS and the treatment of organisational issues. There is, however, no significant relationship between the use of systems development methods and the overall success of IS or the treatment of organisational issues. These findings suggest that it is not the choice of a specific systems method that ensures the consideration of a wide range of organisational issues, but the successful adoption of the organisationally oriented best practices approaches.