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Design-intentionality gaps: explaining expectation failure of information systems in developing countries

Masiero, Silvia (2012) Design-intentionality gaps: explaining expectation failure of information systems in developing countries. Information Technology in Developing Countries: Newsletter of the IFIP Working Group 9.4, 22 (1). pp. 7-12.

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In this piece, we focus on explaining expectation failure – conceptualized as lacking capacity of an information system to meet a stakeholder group’s expectations – with reference to Information Systems (IS) implementation in developing countries. Having reviewed the main model of IS failure in developing economies, devised by Heeks (2003) and grounded on design-reality gaps, we contend that this model, while working properly for interaction failure – i.e. lacking utilization of an information system by its intended users – does not hold for expectation failure. As such, we devise an alternative model, centred on what we refer to as “design-intentionality gaps”: these are gaps between the characteristics of a system as it is designed, and the objectives to be pursued in the intentionality of designers. We argue that the deeper the gap between these two dimensions, the higher the likelihood of expectation failure, because, if system design is inherently mistargeted, its capacity of meeting stakeholders’ expectations is undermined at its very basis. We apply our model to the case of RCMS, an information system devised in Kerala, southern India, for computerizing the process of ration card delivery.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Author, published by the Centre for Electronic Governance, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2014 15:22
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 14:36

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