The Absence of One-Size-Fits-All in the Day Labour Organisations ICT4D Designs

The Absence of One-Size-Fits-All in the Day Labour Organisations ICT4D Designs

Christopher Chepken (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0556-3.ch013
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This chapter covers design experiences gained by working with two Non-Governmental organizations and one day-labour organization for the informal job seekers and employers—day-labour market (DLM). The three design architectures implemented for the DLM organizations are presented. On critically discussing the designs, it is found that even when users are portrayed as similar in the way they work and the things they do, their Information Management Systems (IMS) functional software requirements remain contextual up to the details. The synthesis of the designs shows that there is need to focus on the different functional information needs, including the ones that may seem insignificant even where non-functional requirements may be the same for seemingly similar users. From this argument, it is important that information systems designers, especially for Day labour market organizations, should go deeper into their users and beyond the “about us” information to understand the unique features and requirements of each user group. In conclusion, designers should not assume that seemingly similar organizations/users can be approached from the “one size fits all” IMS perspective.
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Even though reports on Information systems requirements have had mixed reactions, there is a current trend and agreement which point to the fact that context is an important factor. This trend is however in different perspectives. The argument for the work presented in this chapter is the absence of “one size fits all” in the IMS. Other researches in this area have, in a general way, supported this argument. In their work, McPhail, Costantino, Bruckmann, Barclay & Clement, (1998) showed that computers and computer applications must be considered in the context of their workplace. Wilson (2000), pointed out the need to put the Information Systems design process in the wider context of the user. Similarly, way back in 1981, Wilson (1981) had brought out the improtance of context in information needs of a user. Avgerou (2008) has advocated for Research development towards considering context in Information Systems. In this work Avgerou has shown the risks of paying relatively little attention to developing theory on the interplay between IS innovation and its socio-economic context. In their research focusing on the need to balance standardization and local flexibility/localization, Braa & Hedberg, (2002), acknowledged that there exists tension between standardization and localization. Walsham & Sahay (2006), confirmed this and pointed out that, although there is need to standardize for efficiency and comparability, it makes it difficult for the same standards to be applied to diverse local contexts. This is in turn is what this chapter of the book is showing.

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