Personality Characteristics of MIS Project Teams: An Empirical Study and Action-Research Design

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Abstract

Information systems for large firms are typically designed by a team comprised of both users and systems personnel. The Management Information System (MIS) literature discusses a communication gap between the organization oriented users and the more technical systems staff.

It is often hypothesized that systems personnel and users are different in terms of personality and behavior characteristics and that these differences are one of the primary reasons for the existence of a communication gap. This article summarizes a two-phased study. The first phase investigated personality characteristics of respondents from thirty-two large organizations who worked on design teams. The second phase examines, in detail, a system success and failure in one organization. Analysis was performed to see if there are significant differences on personality dimensions between users and systems personnel and to explore the relationship between these differences and system success. An operationalization of Jung’s personality typology (Myers-Briggs Type indicator) was employed.

The results show that the users involved in the systems design are very similar to their systems counterparts. Even more surprising is that the characteristics of these users are closer to the popular descriptions of systems staff than the analysts are. They also suggest that these similarities in personality types may have an impact on system success. The general implications of these findings in terms of the management of project teams and the MIS designs they create are discussed.

Additional Details

Author Kate M. Kaiser and Robert P. Bostrom
Year 1982
Volume 6
Issue 4
Keywords information systems, cognitive style, socio-technical systems, communication gap, MIS design, user involvement, action-research
Page Numbers 43-60