CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

An Investigation of the Skill Sets Needed by Information Systems Managers to Cope Effectively with the Transition from Legacy Systems to Client/Server and Distributed Computing Environments

Date of Award

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Jacques Levin

Committee Member

William L. Hafner

Abstract

The problem investigated in this study was the specific nature of management issues in the information system (IS) data conversion process: extended project time, high staff turnover, cost overrun, adherence to procedure and user disagreement. Data conversion involves the transfer of computer programs and data files from one computer system to another. Managing data conversion projects has posed problems and difficulties. A thorough comprehension of these issues has systematically eluded information technology (IT) professionals, and this may be related to unsuccessful outcomes of data conversion. Presently, most successful data conversion outcomes are ad hoc solutions rather than a more permanent strategy that will improve success rate of the conversion outcomes. Little of these data have been analyzed concerning the human elements of the organization. Reports from the IS literature have indicated that data conversion tends to have more managerial than technical problems. Secondly, IT experts have warned that automated tools and experience alone may not guarantee immunity from data conversion headaches. In addition, studies have shown that the cyclical nature of the IT industry suggests that data conversion traumas (problems and difficulties) still lurk ahead.

The researcher's goal in this dissertation was to investigate management issues during the information systems change process in order to determine the relationships between attribution factors and styles. A second goal was to analyze relationships (if any), among the study variables. The researcher used attribution theory to investigate various relationships among management issues.

The researcher used a validated instrument called the Occupational Attribution Style Questionnaire (OASQ), developed by Adrian Furnham, Valda Sadka and Chris Brewin. The validity and reliability of this instrument were established previously with Chronbach's alpha of 0.92. Mail-in questionnaires were distributed to 300 stratified IT managers and professionals from companies, government agencies, colleges and universities. The survey results were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics to determine the relationships between attribution factors and styles. Analysis of the descriptive data indicated that the factors were perceived to be very important with mean scores ranging from a minimum of2.14 to a maximum of 4.56. A factor analysis resulted in the identification of 5 items that loaded significantly on three factors: (1) internality, (2) externality, (3) chance. Correlation analysis was conducted to test the hypotheses and to identify associations between these stated factors. Conclusive evidence from these analyses showed the following: (a) there was a positive correlation between attribution factors and management attribution, (b) there was a positive correlation between attribution style and project success, (c) there was a positive correlation between salary and position, (d) there was a negative correlation between gender and education, (e) there was a positive correlation between salary and education. The conclusions of the researcher in this study contributed to the base of knowledge by providing empirically tested information for assisting management in industry, academicians and government in implementing data conversion programs. In addition, results of this research provided a variety of interesting decision-making skills and professional practices among IT professionals. These results can be used to implement techniques and strategies for increasing the success rate of data conversion projects.

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