Student Interest in the IS Specialization as Predictor of the Success Potential of New Information Systems Programmes within the Schools of Business in Kenyan Public Universities

Student Interest in the IS Specialization as Predictor of the Success Potential of New Information Systems Programmes within the Schools of Business in Kenyan Public Universities

Atieno A. Ndede-Amadi (Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSC.2016040104
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Abstract

The focus of this study was to evaluate the success potential of new information systems programmes within the schools of business in Kenyan public universities using student interest in the information systems specialization as predictor. The study argued that student interest in the specialization should inform whether or not new programmes would succeed if launched. Using the survey research method, the study gathered and analyzed data on student interest in the information systems specialization both before and after taking an introductory IS course and was able to establish that enhanced interest, enabled by the course, increased their likelihood of choosing the IS specialization, thereby pointing to the success potential of new information systems programmes within the schools of business in Kenyan public universities.
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Background Information

From an international perspective, demand for qualified information systems (IS) professionals is on the increase (US Department of Labor, 2012), while enrollments in universities and colleges have declined greatly over the past decade or so (Lenox, Jesse, and Woratschek, 2012). While schools of business in universities and colleges are facing unique pressures related to recruiting and retaining students in the IS discipline, there is no evidence that Kenya has put much effort into the development of skills in that field (Ferratt & Trauth, 2014; Ferratt, Prasad & Enns, 2012). In fact an earlier study by this author (2013) on student specialization choice trends reported that the Kenya public university system does not provide opportunities for students to choose the IS specialization or to select IS as a concentration within the bachelor of commerce specialization (or equivalent). As a result, critical systems analysis skills have been identified as either lacking or inadequate. In the Kenyan context, although public universities are increasingly establishing independent specializations within their schools of business such as bachelor of science in human resource management, bachelor of logistics and supply chain management, and bachelor of entrepreneurship and small business management, the traditional model of offering the different business disciplines as concentrations within the bachelor of commerce specialization was the predominant practice until only recently. Appendix A is tabulation of specializations and of the different concentrations within the bachelor of commerce specialization within schools of business in Kenyan public universities. A close scrutiny of the tabulation reveals that of the thirty-one public universities interrogated, none offers a pure IS specialization, only one offers an IS related specialization, and only two offer IS related concentrations within the bachelor of commerce specialization. While these essentials provide impetus for prodding Kenyan public universities to develop strong IS programmes, the objective of the current study was to evaluate the success potential of new IS programmes within the schools of business in Kenyan public universities. By analyzing student interest in the IS specialization, both before and after taking an introductory IS course, it was expected that projection into the success potential of new IS programmes within schools of business and concentrations within the bachelor of commerce specialization would be possible. Interest in the IS specialization was gauged at two levels. The first level of interest was gauged using IS Awareness and IS Understanding before taking the introductory IS course as proxies. The second level of interest was gauged using IS Impressions after completing the introductory IS course as proxy. The study argued that enhanced interest in the IS specialization (and profession), resulting from the introductory IS course, provided the students with the opportunity to form new opinions and attitudes towards the discipline. The students’ new opinions and attitudes were presumed to be encapsulated in their reported impressions of the IS specialization. It was speculated that the second level interest, demonstrated by strong positive impressions of the IS specialization, would be a good predictor of the success potential of new IS programmes. A strong association between IS impressions and desire for installation of the IS specialization was considered additional indication of the success potential of new IS programmes.

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