Factors in the Choice of MIS as a Major: The Role of Subjective Norms from the Perspective of an Arab Country

Factors in the Choice of MIS as a Major: The Role of Subjective Norms from the Perspective of an Arab Country

Kamel Rouibah (College of Business Administration, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/JGIM.2016070102


Decline of student enrollment in MIS major is still an issue. In order to reverse the trend, this study highlights the drivers toward the management information system (MIS) major in an Arab country based on the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and the Network Externalities Theory. This is the first study that integrates the perceived number of enrolled students (PNES) with TRA in addition to other variables (reputation of the instructor, job availability, financial considerations, computer self-efficacy, easiness of the major, and IT anxiety) with intention to enroll in MIS. The model was tested with 499 undergraduate students and analyzed with LISREL. Results indicate that, unlike western culture, the subjective norms and PNES (and not attitude) are important drivers toward the major. This study is relevant for practitioners who can learn strategies to attract more students to the MIS major.
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1. Introduction

Selecting a college major represents a strategic decision that may have an impact on the future career of a student. This decision was identified as the decision with the most life regret for students (Roese and Summerville 2005). If not appropriately approached, it is likely that many students will change their major before the completion of their education. Selecting a major is a complex, behavioral phenomenon that has received extensive consideration over the last few years (Looney and Akbulut 2007; Zhang 2007; Heinze and Hu 2009; Croasdell et al., 2011; Downey et al., 2011; Cohen and Parsotam 2012; Benamati and Rajkumar 2013; Govender et al. 2014; Burns et al., 2014).

Despite the promising outlook of the MIS field in terms of future employment growth and salary increases (Computerworld 2006; Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010), this field suffers from a decline in student enrollment in many business schools; and many studies have attempted to investigate this phenomenon in developed countries (Granger et al., 2007; Looney and Akbulut 2007; Zhang 2007; Panko 2008; Walstrom et al., 2008; Ferratt et al. 2010; Saunders and Lockridge 2011; Downey et al., 2011; Benamati and Rajkumar 2013; Govender et al. 2014; Burns et al., 2014); but few studies have been conducted in developing countries (Rouibah 2012; Govender et al. 2014). This trend continues and remains a real concern for managers and MIS departments (Saunders and Lockridge 2011) because some universities have completely dismantled their MIS programs (Aken and Michalisin 2007). The Association for Information Systems and other researchers have called the problem a crisis (Zhang 2007; Looney and Akbulut 2007; Panko 2008), which has led two researchers to publish a paper entitled “Declining MIS enrollment: The death of the MIS degree” (Saunders and Lockridge 2011). Additionally, non-scholarly papers have been recently published that discuss students choosing irrelevant majors, including MIS (Chasalow 2014). The decline in MIS enrollment has led many researchers to call for additional studies to understand the factors that have either contributed to or mitigated the continued decline in enrollment in the field (Walstrom et al., 2008; Heinze and Hu 2009; Benamati and Rajkumar 2013). Therefore, “it is imperative that the IS community as a whole addresses this problem from several different perspectives” (Topi et al., 2010).

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