The Importance of Having a Multidimensional View of IT End-User Relationships for the Successful Restructuring of IT Departments

The Importance of Having a Multidimensional View of IT End-User Relationships for the Successful Restructuring of IT Departments

A. C. Leonard (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2002 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-931777-10-0.ch017
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Abstract

The effectiveness of IT departments and the value they are adding to their organizations in many cases are hampered by poor relationships between IT professionals and their end users. This situation impacts on IT professionals’ ability to produce service and support of high quality that delivers competitive advantage for the company. This paper is based on a research study conducted to look into the working relationship between IT departments and their end users. The research was done to be means of a qualitative approach in which thought experiments were used to inductively refine the results of the research study. The paper describes IT end-user relationships as intriguing and complex, and advocates that these relationships be seen and managed as multidimensional entities. Two such dimensions, namely the physical and abstract dimensions, which form the basis of IT end-user relationships, enable one to fully describe the holistic nature of such relationships and encapsulate the important elements of a support-oriented organization, namely mutuality, belonging, and connection. The paper concluds with a brief evaluation of the recommendations made by a consulting group for the restructuring of an IT department experiencing various problems in providing quality service and support to its end users. This evaluation clearly indicates that the typical approach of the consultants was to try and solve the problems of a typical IT department merely by following a functionalistic approach. This means an approach in which the physical dimension is emphasized and in which the abstract dimension (which describes the soft issues and which forms a critical part of any IT end-user relationship environment) is basically ignored. Such an approach also ignores the holistic nature of relationships between IT professionals (IT departments) and end users (business).

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