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The Relationships of Cross-Cultural Differences to the Values of Information Systems Professionals within the Context of Systems Development

Description: Several studies have suggested that the effect of cultural differences among Information Systems (IS) professionals from different nations on the development and implementation of IS could be important. However, IS research has generally not considered culture when investigating the process of systems development. This study examined the relationship between the cultural backgrounds of IS designers and their process-related values with a field survey in Singapore, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Hofstede's (1980) value survey module (i.e., Power Distance (PDI), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), InDiVidualism (IDV) and MASculininity/femininity) and Kumar's (1984) process-related values (i.e., technical, economic, and socio-political) were utilized in the data collection. The hypotheses tested were: whether the IS professionals differed on (H.,) their cultural dimensions based on country of origin, (Hg) their process-related values based on country of origin, and (H3) whether a relationship between their cultural dimensions and their process-related values existed. The countries were significantly different on their PDI, UAI and MAS, but not on their IDV. They significantly differed on their technical and sociopolitical values but not on their economic values. IDV and MAS significantly correlated with the process-related values in Singapore, Taiwan and the United States. In the United Kingdom, UAI significantly correlated with socio-political values; and MAS significantly correlated with technical and socio-political values. In Taiwan, UAI significantly correlated with technical and economic values. PDI did not illustrate any significant correlation with the IS process-related values in all four countries. In Singapore and the United States, UAI did not significantly correlate with any of these values. The results provide evidence that IS professionals differ on most of their cultural dimensions and IS process-related values. While IDV and MAS could be useful for examining the relationship between culture and systems development, research involving PDI and UAI might be of questionable benefit.
Date: December 1995
Creator: Holmes, Monica C. (Monica Cynthia)