Conflict and Politics and Information Systems Failure: A Challenge for Information Systems Professionals and Researchers

Conflict and Politics and Information Systems Failure: A Challenge for Information Systems Professionals and Researchers

Leoni Warne (Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-104-9.ch006
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Abstract

Managing the power, politics and organizational conflict inherent in information systems is increasingly recognized as being of critical importance to successful information systems development. The focus of this chapter is the extent to which conflict among participants in an information systems development may be said to contribute to project failure. The chapter describes a research study that explores the nature of conflict in an information systems development and the extent to which conflict may be perceived to impact on the successful progress of a project. In particular, the study was designed to determine which type of conflict (i.e., conflict between which type of stakeholders) may pose the most risk to an information systems development and to determine to what extent conflict can be said to be a contributing factor to information systems failure. The study was structured into three distinct stages. The first stage was a major case study conducted to explore the nature of conflict in a prematurely terminated information systems development and to probe the extent to which conflict was perceived to pose a risk to information systems projects. The second stage involved surveying IT Managers to test the wider applicability of the case study findings. The third and final stage involved developing a predictive model of conflict showing the relative weighting of each of the variables investigated, using logistic regression. The most significant outcome of the study was that information systems developments can be detrimentally affected by the impact of conflict among users who have commissioned or will use the system. Managing and resolving conflict in an information systems environment is clearly a difficult, challenging and time-consuming exercise, but the findings of this research study suggest that the rewards, in terms of higher success rates, should be worth the commitment.

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