Managers' Perceptions of the Website Development Field: The Process of Creation and the People Involved

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Title: Managers' Perceptions of the Website Development Field: The Process of Creation and the People Involved
Author: Gottlieb, Jacquelyn C.
Advisors: Diane Chapman, Committee Member
Brad Mehlenbacher, Committee Chair
Jason Swarts, Committee Member
Abstract: This qualitative study is based upon the responses of three Web designers and three managers employed in student services departments at a Southeastern U.S. University. The purpose of the research has been to describe managers' perceptions of the Website development field with respect to their preconceived notion of what is a Website, reasons why to create one, and intended use. These perceptions helped lead me towards the ability to further understand managers' communication patterns and expectations of Web designers. The research was focused on established organizational development theories, in particular, cross-boundary communication challenges between employees from different disciplinary cultures. It was found that, in many ways, Web designers and managers expect similar qualities in one another. Likewise, all participants similarly valued Websites. The challenge was that they perceived each other as having different expectations and felt frustration from experiencing their manager or Web designer 'speaking different languages.' All managers agreed that some level of understanding of Website development, including HTML knowledge, is necessary for a manager to have the ability to communicate well with their Web designer. Web designers also agreed that managers need some understanding of Website development, but knowledge of HTML is not necessary. Web designers having effective communication skills and understanding their business were the biggest expectations by the managers. Although there was agreement about the significant role their Websites' played in their businesses, there appeared to be a lack of formal strategic planning. Each participant realized the vast skills necessary for Website design and the lack of available resources, yet the concept of a Website development team was not explicitly prevalent. There seemed to be a more implicit understanding through the division of tasks via acknowledging different job titles. The Web designer was seen primarily as a visual designer and not expected to have the same skills as other titled Web developers such as an Information and Communication Specialist. Since all participants saw Website creation as continuing to become more complicated, they voiced their belief that Web designers are not qualified enough to design what may be the future of Websites. Managers seem to be expecting their Websites created in such a way that those staff members without HTML knowledge can easily update the content. T he aspect of Website creation that was a big dilemma for all was who owned and maintained the content. The Web designers agreed with the managers that Web designers are not expected to be responsible for content creation. Managers claimed that Web designers don't have the skills or interest in content. Web designers only acknowledged that their role was formatting content for the Web. Ultimately all participants wanted the same thing—to be able to communicate well with one another to create an effective and useful Website. All believed they were decent communicators. All managers felt their Web designers spoke another language and had different priorities in mind. The Web designers felt it was their manager who couldn't seem to communicate well or able to focus on the correct priorities of Website design.
Date: 2005-10-23
Degree: MS
Discipline: Training and Development

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