Volume 7

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1-30 The Reflexivity between ICTs and Business Culture: Applying Hofstede’s Theory to Compare Norway and the United States,

Jan-Oddvar Sørnes
Bodø Graduate School of Business
Bodø, Norway

Keri Keilberg Stephens
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX, USA

Alf Steinar Sætre
Norwegian University of Science and Technology,
Trondheim, Norway

Larry Davis Browning
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX, USA

This study compares how workers in Norway and the United States use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Our data72 in-depth interviews of advanced ICT users – were coded, analyzed, and placed into Hofstede’s four dimensional framework (power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, and masculinity). We proposed that ICT use comparisons between the two countries are congruent to Hofstede’s findings. We find partial support for these propositions. As expected, Norway and the US are similar on two dimensions (power distance and uncertainty avoidance), but contrary to expectations, they are also similar on the two dimensions where we expected differences (individualism and masculinity). We suggest possible explanations for these findings, including our focus on an expert-user subculture, external triggering events, and technical codes inscribed in Internet applications and software.

Keywords: Culture, Information and Communication Technologies, Hofstede, Cross-Cultural Studies, National Culture, Organizational Culture, Organizational Communication

31-45 The Value of User Participation in E-Commerce Systems Development

Julian Terry and Craig Standing
Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

  Many researchers and practitioners consider user participation in the development of an information system is essential to the success of the system. System designers have promoted development techniques that demand user participation, such as prototyping, rapid application development and joint application design. Interestingly, the research literature on the topic has not been conclusive about the value of user participation, although the perception of value has still existed. The importance of user participation in information systems could be seen as a myth.

The time pressure to develop Web based e-commerce systems and the propagation of the view that e-commerce is different and subject to different rules has led developers to question the value of customer participation in the development process. Indeed, the notion of the "user" has become confused. No longer is a user necessarily found in-house, but may be a geographically remote customer unknown to an organization.

This paper proposes and validates a model that examines the role of key users and stakeholders in e-commerce applications development. Despite the business need for remote, untrained users to quickly feel comfortable and satisfied in an e-commerce site encounter, it appears that many organisations are making little effort to engage users in e-commerce site developmental activities.

Keywords: electronic commerce, systems development, user participation

47-66 Email and Misinformation:
A South African Case Study

Laurette Pretorius and Andries Barnard
University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

  This paper considers insights and lessons learnt surrounding the spread of misinformation resulting from a hoax email sent in South Africa on September 11, 2001. That email purported to link South Africans to the World Trade Center disaster in New York on 9/11. This paper discuses a case study based on the South African newspaper press coverage this incident received. The factual contents are provided in the form of a time line, followed by the grouping of stakeholders and a list of stakeholder comments of an ethical, social, or legal nature. Subsequently, the paper explores various ethical perspectives, employs different approaches to ethical analysis, and reaches an ethical conclusion regarding this incident. This is followed by a brief investigation of the perceived divergence of the ethical and legal perspectives. The paper concludes by expressing the hope that this case study, and the analysis thereof, will assist computing instructors in sensitizing their students to computer ethics issues related to misinformation, the use of email and the Internet.

Keywords: Misinformation, hoax email, computer ethics, South Africa, computer ethics teaching, case study

67-85 Evaluation of the Human Impact of Password Authentication Practices on Information Security

Deborah Sater Carstens
Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL, USA

Pamela R. McCauley-Bell,
Linda C. Malone,
and Ronald F. DeMara
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA

The research objective was to develop a model for evaluating the human impact that password authentication issues are having on the security of information systems. Through distributing a survey and conducting an experiment, researchers created a model for predicting the vulnerability that a particular set of conditions will have on the likelihood of error in an information system. The survey consisted of over 250 respondents.  The experiment consisted of 30 subjects and the analysis utilized a c2 goodness of fit test. The findings indicate that human error associated with password authentication can be significantly reduced through the use of passwords comprised of data meaningful for the user and that meet the information technology community requirement for strength of password. Future research will be performed to further validate and enhance the developed model and to develop human factor password guidelines.

Keywords: Human Error, Information Security

87-103 Improving the Chances of Getting your IT Curriculum Innovation Successfully Adopted by the Application of an Ecological Approach to Innovation

Arthur Tatnall
Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Bill Davey
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

University curricula in Information Technology (IT) necessarily require frequent change, updating and even complete revision due to advances in technologies, new methodologies, and changes in how people and organisations make use of computers. We argue that curriculum change, which is a complex process that involves many actors, should be seen through the lens of innovation theory and studied as an innovation. To understand curriculum innovation it is useful to examine how interactions between both human and non-human entities contribute to the final curriculum product, and this paper discusses theories of innovation and proposes an ecological approach to the building and re-building of university curriculum in IT. Ecology is concerned with interrelationships: between different living things, and between living things and their environment. Building on our previous work in this area, in the paper we explain the ecological approach by its application to several specific case studies in IT curriculum innovation. We use this ecological approach in an attempt at explaining why some elements of IT curriculum innovation are adopted successfully whilst others are not. Interesting as this might be from a theoretical academic perspective however, an explanatory theory is much more relevant if it can also be used practically. While we make no claim to being able to predict the success or failure of an IT curriculum innovation, we do suggest that this approach can be used to improve its chances of success. We argue that by making use of an ecological approach it is possible to improve the chances that a particular curriculum innovation will be adopted and used successfully.

Keywords: IT curriculum innovation, IS curriculum innovation theories, technology adoption, socio-technical factors, ecosystems, ecological model, environmental interactions diagram.

105-116 Use-Cases and Personas: A Case Study in Light-Weight User Interaction Design for Small Development Projects

Gary Randolph
Purdue University, Kokomo, Indiana, USA

While user interface design is generally considered important to the success of an information system, in both design and practice traditional methodologies it is often left to the last when most of the rest of the information system design has been finalized. What are needed are tools to design a logical model of user interaction requirements. This paper presents how two tools, personas and use-cases, were used together to specify the logical user interaction requirements in the actual design of a small information system. While these tools would not be appropriate for large projects, they worked very well in this case and provided the client with a successfully implemented product.

Keywords: user interaction design, user interface design, use-cases, personas, case study

117-128 Pathways to Enhance
Environmental Assessment Information Systems

David J. LePoire, John J. Arnish, Timothy R. Klett,
Robert L. Johnson, & Shih-Yew Chen
Environmental Assessment Division
Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA

In the environmental field, modeling plays a critical role in connecting current data and knowledge with predictions of future events and environmental states. Environmental problems are quite challenging to solve because of the complex relationships among many contributing factors, both natural and man-made. Moreover, these problems need to be addressed not only by environmental engineers and regulators but also by a larger community consisting of concerned members of the public and nongovernmental organizations. Their demands on environmental modeling often conflict because predictions need to be accurate yet easily understood, communicated, and explored. The requirements for environmental modeling are generally identified as accuracy, defensibility, transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness. An approach to meet these requirements based on layered components, role assignments, and flexible integration strategies is identified, developed, and tested with prototypes. The results from the prototypes suggest possible enhancements for further advancing the use and communication of environmental modeling. Qualitative comparisons with other approaches are framed with identified criteria.

Keywords: environmental modeling, community informatics


129-141 Expanding the
Concept of Usability

Alex Koohang
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Building on a stream of previous literature regarding the usability properties that are fundamental to the e-learning courseware, this study attempted to assess users’ current views about applied e-learning usability and users’ perceived importance of e-learning usability design features with consideration to the variable of experience – namely, users’ prior experience with the Internet and amount of time users spend weekly on the e-learning courseware. The importance of experience in the e-learning instructional design process regarding usability is discussed. The assertion is made that usability is a multi-dimensional concept with experience being the new dimension. Discussion and recommendation are made for a clear means to guide e-learning usability improvements in the e-learning instructional design process giving careful attention to the variable of experience as a new dimension.

Keywords: Usability Properties, Usability Attributes, Experience, E-Learning Usability, Users’ Views