An analysis of the educational needs of end user and information systems personnel as perceived by each other

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

One of the basic needs of both information systems practitioners and academics is in determining what skills and knowledge staff need in order to be able to perform adequately in their jobs (Nelson : 1991). This study was concerned with the information technology and information systems learning needs of two distinct classes of personnel; end users and information systems personnel. More specifically, it examines the perceptions that each group has of the other's particular deficiencies. It also compares the importance that each group accords to skill or knowledge in particular items for their counterparts, and how these expectations match their counterparts' own perceptions of item importance. The study was thus concerned with cross-perceptions; the perceptions that each group has of the other. This study examined these perceptions by means of the analytical survey method. The research instrument used was an adapted version of an instrument previously validated and used by Nelson (1991). The research instrument was completed by 168 employees within ten different organizations. The findings suggest that within six different areas of knowledge and skill both end user and IS personnel perceived their counterparts to be most deficient in the area of general IS knowledge; particularly in knowledge of the fit between IS and the organization, the potential uses of IS/IT within the organization, and in the use of IS for competitive advantage. In addition, both groups of personnel perceived their counterparts to be particularly deficient ii') their ability to communicate effectively. The deficiency in general IS knowledge was aggravated by the finding that both groups expect their counterparts to carry more of the responsibility for knowledge in general IS matters than their counterparts appear willing to assume. The implication of this mismatch of expectations is that it must first be resolved by clarifying the respective roles and responsibilities of both end user and IS personnel before the deficiencies themselves can be dealt with.

Bibliography: pages [83]-89.