Paradigm Shift: Cultural Implications for Development of IS Professionals

Paradigm Shift: Cultural Implications for Development of IS Professionals

Janice M. Burn (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), Eugenia M.W. Ng Tye (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Louis C.K. Ma (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 1995 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jgim.1995040102
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Globalization increasingly highlights the need to understand cultural differences worldwide. This is particularly relevant to Information Systems (IS) professionals who, by the very nature of their job, participate in the development of systems that transcend cultural barriers. It also means that organizations have to formulate corporate IS human resources policies that take into account the different expectations and motivational patterns of IS staff worldwide. At the same time, the changing role of IS from support to driver in organizational strategies brings with it a need for a different set of skills in the IS profession. This has been described as the “IS paradigm shift” and implies that the IS professional of the future may need to be more focused on the business rather than technical processes. The effective deployment of IS staff has long been an issue of concern coupled with the scarcity of IS professionals in many developing countries. The impact is felt not only by the organizations themselves but also by academic institutions that are charged with preparing IS professionals to enter the real world and make a substantive contribution to global developments. This article reports on a cross-cultural study that addresses some of these issues. The study examines the expectations of graduating IS professionals with the reality of the IS profession as perceived through the eyes of past graduates. Hong Kong (HK) based IS professionals are compared at both stages of the study against their United States (US) counterparts. Not only is there a severe mismatch between the expectations and their realization but significant differences exist between the two cultures. These results have a number of implications for IS personnel policies and for IS education worldwide.

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