Computer Support Interactions: Verifying a Process Model of Problem Trajectory in an Information Technology Support Environment.

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Observations in the information technology (IT) support environment and generalizations from the literature regarding problem resolution behavior indicate that computer support staff seldom store reusable solution information effectively for IT problems. A comprehensive model of the processes encompassing problem arrival and assessment, expertise selection, problem resolution, and solution recording has not been available to facilitate research in this domain. This investigation employed the findings from a qualitative pilot study of IT support staff information behaviors to develop and explicate a detailed model of problem trajectory. Based on a model from clinical studies, this model encompassed a trajectory scheme that included ... continued below

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Strauss, Christopher Eric December 2006.

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  • Strauss, Christopher Eric

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Observations in the information technology (IT) support environment and generalizations from the literature regarding problem resolution behavior indicate that computer support staff seldom store reusable solution information effectively for IT problems. A comprehensive model of the processes encompassing problem arrival and assessment, expertise selection, problem resolution, and solution recording has not been available to facilitate research in this domain. This investigation employed the findings from a qualitative pilot study of IT support staff information behaviors to develop and explicate a detailed model of problem trajectory. Based on a model from clinical studies, this model encompassed a trajectory scheme that included the communication media, characteristics of the problem, decision points in the problem resolution process, and knowledge creation in the form of solution storage. The research design included the administration of an extensive scenario-based online survey to a purposive sample of IT support staff at a medium-sized state-supported university, with additional respondents from online communities of IT support managers and call-tracking software developers. The investigator analyzed 109 completed surveys and conducted email interviews of a stratified nonrandom sample of survey respondents to evaluate the suitability of the model. The investigation employed mixed methods including descriptive statistics, effects size analysis, and content analysis to interpret the results and verify the sufficiency of the problem trajectory model. The study found that expertise selection relied on the factors of credibility, responsibility, and responsiveness. Respondents referred severe new problems for resolution and recorded formal solutions more often than other types of problems, whereas they retained moderate recurring problems for resolution and seldom recorded those solutions. Work experience above and below the 5-year mark affected decisions to retain, refer, or defer problems, as well as solution storage and broadcasting behaviors. The veracity of the problem trajectory model was verified and it was found to be an appropriate tool and explanatory device for research in the IT domain.

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  • December 2006

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  • May 12, 2008, 3:25 p.m.

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  • July 1, 2015, 3:15 p.m.

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Strauss, Christopher Eric. Computer Support Interactions: Verifying a Process Model of Problem Trajectory in an Information Technology Support Environment., dissertation, December 2006; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5490/: accessed July 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .