Managing the human side of information technology: A public-private comparison of chief information officers.

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Title: Managing the human side of information technology: A public-private comparison of chief information officers.
Author: Schelin, Shannon Howle
Advisors: Michael Vasu, Committee Member
James Swiss, Committee Member
Gary Dickson, Committee Member
G. David Garson, Committee Chair
Abstract: Information technology has permeated the public and private sectors. However, successful adoption and implementation of technology has not been easy as predicted. Successful adoption and implementation of information technology can easily be defined as projects developed on time, on budget, and to the satisfaction of the end users. Along with the myriad benefits and promises of technology, there are several challenges to its successful adoption and implementation, including poor requirements definition, lack of communication, and limited management support. This research study examines a variety of identifiable and controllable factors that can contribute to the successful adoption and implementation of information technology, called 'critical success factors' (CSFs). Critical success factors are those factors that consistently contribute to the overall success of a technology project, regardless of project scope, organizational size, or other exogenous variables. Using a review of public and private sector literature, a list of fourteen critical success factors was developed. Each of the factors was assessed by public and private sector chief information officers to determine if sectoral differences related to influence of or performance on the critical success factors exist. The findings suggest that several sectoral differences do exist. In particular, the public sector often rates their performance on the critical success factors lower than their private sector counterparts. Furthermore, the public sector has greater levels of dissonance between their ideal rating of a given critical success factor and their organizational performance on the factor. Based on the research findings, several policy implications were identified: 1. Policymakers must recognize the critical importance of top management support in both public and private sectors to technology project success, and therefore, encourage and nurture it. 2. Policymakers must recognize the need to close the gap between the public sector's performance on critical success factors and their ideal ratings of these factors by reducing the burden of external requirements and legislative mandates that hinder successful technology project implementation. 3. Specific areas, such as use of highly skilled staff and strategic technology planning, need more attention in the public sector, in order to increase the likelihood of technology project success.
Date: 2004-03-31
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Public Administration

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