CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

An Investigation of the Relationships Between Users and Providers of Information Technology Services for Improved IT Effectiveness

Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Richard D. Manning

Abstract

The researcher in this study investigated the perceptual and cultural gap that exists between the users of IT services and the providers of IT services. Modern business and IT are almost indistinguishable and each constituency needs the other to succeed, yet IT initiatives continue to fail with alarming regularity. Research has indicated that business professionals and IT professionals think and behave differently in many important ways, as IT professionals have favored an aptitude for numbers and theories, while business managers have preferred to focus on people, politics, and financial matters. Moreover, IT professionals can often act superior and arrogant when interacting with business professionals.

The goal of the researcher in this study was to investigate the perceptual and cultural relationships versus effectiveness between business professionals and IT professionals. The researcher determined that this problem was best investigated using a qualitative study as this is the most effective method for gaining an understanding of the interrelationships between people. The researcher used inductive reasoning to answer five questions directed at the relationships between four categories: individual beliefs, corporate culture, organizational architecture, and IT effectiveness. This study had no precise hypothesis because the purpose of this type of inquiry is to analyze relationships rather than test them.

The inherent lack of clarity in language between the two groups introduced some validity issues in the results and in measuring the satisfaction of IT services. This is a challenge as requirements such as timeliness, courtesy, and responsiveness are critically important, but also personal, and therefore vary between individuals. The researcher found that business professionals and IT professionals think and communicate differently, and although the two constituencies respect each other’s knowledge, the differences lead to different approaches to delivering IT services. The business professionals in this study favored an organizational architecture that provided quick response from a trusted IT partner. IT professionals also believed this model was valid but valued organizational models that featured reusability and standards to ensure system efficiency and reliability.

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