Date of Award

Fall 2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)

Department

Information Systems

First Advisor

Fadi P. Deek

Second Advisor

Vassilka D. Kirova

Third Advisor

Robert Michael Klashner

Fourth Advisor

James A. McHugh

Fifth Advisor

George Robert Widmeyer

Abstract

The "software crisis" has been a much discussed and debated topic in Information Systems research. A core cause of the crisis is often identified as the methodologies and approaches used to develop information systems. Thus, over the years a multitude of methodologies have emerged in support of quality software. While many of these methodologies have been effective, research has shown that system development is a highly circumstantial process, and that no one methodology can be optimal in every context of every project. It is also a fact that system development practitioners have employed ad hoc approaches to modify formal methodologies in order to create a better fit for their circumstances.

This research aims to present a more formal approach, based on general systems theory, to adapt existing information system development methodologies through the identification of common isomorphic properties. Design science guidelines are applied in the creation of this new model and in its validation. This theoretical model is intended to facilitate the normalization of system development methodologies by means of a framework that can gnide the tailoring of methodologies for information systems development.

The functionality and effectiveness of the model proposed here was also evaluated using a "2 x 2 factorial design" experiment. Subjects were assigned to one of four treatments by either using or not using the model to create a system design that either did or did not include a change to requirements late in the development process. Survey instruments were used to measure subject satisfication with the development process, the problem solving process, and the design product. Expert judges ranked the finished designs based on an assessment rubric.

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