The Impact of Culture on the Development of Information Systems: A Case Study

The Impact of Culture on the Development of Information Systems: A Case Study

Trevor T. Moores (University of Nevada-Las Vegas, USA) and Frank H. Gregory (Independent Consultant, Thailand)
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-43-3.ch006
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Abstract

The development of an information system typically requires debate between interested parties. In particular, debate between users is meant to define a common set of functional requirements. The applicability of this approach depends, however, on the willingness of participants to enter into such an open discussion. However, while holding differing, perhaps conflicting views, is seen as acceptable in Western cultures, in Eastern cultures more importance is placed on social consensus and aligning one’s views with that of the group. This paper reports on a case study that highlights the problems of using debate as an analysis tool in an Eastern culture, namely, Hong Kong. The case study involves the use of Soft Systems Methodology to guide a feasibility study for a marketing system within Hongkong Telecom. Three main problems were identified: 1) Group discussions were avoided; 2) Interviews were conducted in multiple languages; and, 3) High staff turnover made it difficult to develop and maintain mature stakeholder views. The study suggests that culturally sensitive development methods are needed to ensure culturally appropriate ways of developing an information system.

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